Gramma Gouin’s WWI Applesauce Cake: This recipe for an exceptional tea cake comes from my Aunt Virlyne Gouin, a terrific cook and baker, who learned this recipe from her mother-in-law, Annie Gouin. It was a favorite war-time dessert as “eggs were hard to get,” says my aunt. And this cake is made entirely without eggs. Also my aunt tells me that other fruit purees, e.g. persimmon, pear, kiwi, can be substituted for the applesauce. And a splash of brandy, or sometimes vanilla, doesn’t hurt either!

To 2 cups sifted flour, add:

1 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 T. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 T chocolate or cocoa powder

Add: 1 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. raisins (or dried cranberries)
1 1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. melted butter

Pour into loaf pans or 9 x 12 baking pan – or muffin pan for cupcakes

Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour.

This tea cake freezes beautifully, and like many fruit and nut loaves, just gets better with age. It is wonderful with coffee, tea and grappa.