Being tired is a feeling that all of us must have encountered at some point, or maybe, all the time. It a state that can encroach upon our physical, mental or emotional condition, bringing down our level of productivity and optimisim. The past few days have been quite exhausting for me and for the rest of the unit. Being on call on two consecutive public holidays was not really something I was looking forward to. It takes nothing to guess how eager I was to get back home and make the most of my weekend off.

For me, happiness lies in simple things. A light spice-infused cake fresh from the oven, with a light dusting of icing sugar, for instance, is one of those things that’d instantly uplift my mood and brighten my day. To bring back those simple pleasures after going through a rough time at work, I picked Gourmet‘s Dessert of the Month – Spiced Applesauce Cake. Packed with the comforting combination of brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, this cake struck me with its ability to retain most of its original moisture days after baking. It was with a content smile that I sat down with my cup of tea and had the luxury of enjoying every single bite of this most delicious cake. And I believe it’s a nice one to bake and share with friends on my next call.




2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

100g unsalted butter, softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8 or 9″ square pan.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

  • Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce.

  • At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts.
  • Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.


  • Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  • Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over top of cooled cake. Serves 6.
To use up the lil bit of what-was-left in my applesauce jar, I ended up making a small batch of tartelettes. The pie crust featured below is taken from Piece of Cake who describes it as ‘an irresistibly golden, crisp, flaky, all-butter, melt-in-your-mouth crust’  that comes together in minutes. It also gave me a fine excuse to use my new tartelette molds and I was happy to see that the resulting crust did actually turn out to have the qualities quoted above.




1 cup all purpose flour

1 tbs wheat flour

2 tbs sugar

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp table salt

1/2 cup cold butter

3 tbs ice cold water
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pulse a few times to blend.
  • Sprinkle the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse until the butter is the size of large peas.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of the water. Pulse until the dough just begins to form a ball and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

  • Gather it into a ball and gently pat into a disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling.
  • Place in desired pan, chill for 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator before baking to prevent shrinking.
  • To blind bake this crust, preheat the oven to 350 oF. Line the pie shell with parchment or foil and fill with pie weights.

  • Bake for 25-30 minutes covered, then remove weights and liner. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 to 15 minutes more.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack before filling. For the filling, combine applesauce and cinnamon and spread over crust.
  • Sprinkle with extra cinnamon if you wish. Serve with fresh cream. Makes 6 tartelettes or one large applesauce tarte.

I guess I need a hug!