We’re in that weird time of year where it’s not quite spring, but also not quite winter. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, Easter is still months away, and summer clothing has inundated store aisles everywhere.
It’s like this time of the year has a constant identity crisis. Even the weather doesn’t know what to do anymore! We’re teetering between 70 degrees on a sunny day to 30 degrees and snowing the next day. How the heck are you supposed to meal plan when the weather see-saws like that?
I’ve been trying to make recipes that are ambiguous, weather-wise. Roasted veggies, casseroles, and pasta dishes have been what’s for dinner here lately. One thing I haven’t been doing much of is baking, though. Turning on the oven warms up my entire apartment, and although it’s not sweltering outside, it’s still not ideal weather to bake in.
I finally gave in to my annoyingly deprived sweet tooth and turned my oven on today. I had everything I needed to make these sweet cake bars already, so why not? It was only 30 minutes of unnecessary heat inside of my apartment, but it was well worth it for these bars. Wowza. These are good.
This recipe turns out like an apple-spice-Texas sheet cake in the end. Cloves, cinnamon, and allspice all mingle together with applesauce and your basic cake mix (flour, soda, baking powder & salt) to produce this warm harmony of flavor in your mouth.
I specifically loved the brown sugar icing that you frost the bars with. I’ve never made a brown-sugar or buttercream icing before, so I was swimming into new territory here. You know what? It turned out amazing. I’m not one for the sickeningly sweet things, but since the cake isn’t too sugary, this super-sweet icing works well with it.
Apple Cake Bars
Apple spice cake bars with raisins and pecans frosted with a brown sugar icing.
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. clove
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup water
- 16 1/2 oz. applesauce
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 TBS. milk
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a rimmed baking sheet or jelly-roll pan. Sift all dry ingredients (including regular sugar) in a large mixing bowl.
- Add shortening, water, applesauce and egg. Beat 4 minutes with electric mixer on medium speed. Gently fold in nuts and raisins.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan.
- Make the frosting: Melt butter and add brown sugar; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. Stir in milk. Gradually add in powdered sugar and beat until of spreading consistency, adding more powdered sugar if necessary. Frost cooled cake with icing and then cut into bars. Makes roughly 16 bars.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a rimmed baking sheet or jelly-roll pan. Sift all dry ingredients (including regular sugar) into a large mixing bowl.
Add shortening, water, applesauce and egg. Beat 4 minutes with electric mixer on medium speed.
Gently fold in nuts and raisins and continue to mix well.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan.
Make the frosting: Melt butter, add brown sugar; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. Stir in milk. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until of spreading consistency (adding more powdered sugar if necessary).
Frost cooled cake with brown butter icing and cut into bars. Makes roughly 16 bars.