Reese Witherspoon’s Applesauce Cake

My besties and I had so much fun traveling to Waco for Reese Witherspoon’s debut of her new book Whiskey in a Teacup. The equally adorable and enchanting, Jenna Bush Hager, chatted with Reese on stage in the Silo’s lawn at Magnolia Market.  It was just like we were eavesdropping on two girlfriends talking about boys, movies and recipes.  Everyone walked away from the evening with a signed copy of her book.  We even got to wave to Chip from the window of his office.  We also spied baby Crew in his grandmother’s arms, with the older children watching from the rooftop deck.  It was definitely a family affair!

I came home that weekend and went to work baking her recipe for Applesauce Cake, and it did not disappoint.  I am sure Reese won’t mind that I am sharing her recipe with you.

For the cake:

1 cup (2 sticks of butter), softened

2 cups of sugar

3 cups of applesauce (I used organic cinnamon applesauce)

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg (I didn’t have any so I used apple pie spice)

1 3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup golden raisins (I was tempted to leave these out, but don’t.  They are perfect in the cake).

1 cup chopped pecans (feeling daring, substitute with candied pecans)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the icing:

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 TBL. butter

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 325.

To make the cake:

Grease and flour a 9 inch bundt or tube pan (I used Mother’s tube pan).  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the applesauce on low speed.  The butter mixture will separate a little from the applesauce, so don’t worry that they don’t mix together completely.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.  Remove 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and dredge the raisins and pecans in it.  Fold the remaining flour mixture slowly into the applesauce mixture until just combined.  Add the raisin and pecan mixture along with the vanilla extract and stir together by hand.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 90 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center part of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool slightly and remove the cake from the pan, allowing it to cool completely.

To make the brown sugar icing:

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cream and butter.  Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occassonially until smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.  Very quickly pour the icing over the cake, allowing it to spread and drip down the sides to set.  The icing sets up very quickly, so it looks best when it is allowed to flow naturally.

Reese suggests making this a day or two before you want to eat it because the cake gets moister with each day.  It slices beautifully and honestly if you wanted to leave off the icing and just have it plain it would be just as delicious.

You can watch me icing the cake here .  Happy baking!