Applesauce Walnut Coffee Cake

I distracted you with chocolate, but now we're back to apples again. This moist, flavorful applesauce walnut coffee cake comes from The Berghoff Café Cookbook, which I received a (free) review copy of a few weeks ago.

I excitedly flipped through the pages, checking out all of the recipes and pictures like I do with any new cookbook, and then went back and read everything more in-depth. I like that the subtitle is "Berghoff Family Recipes for Simple, Satisying Food." While I do love challenging myself and making some ambitious recipes from time to time, I also like to have some recipes for simpler dishes for those times when I just don't have the energy to execute something very complex.

The recipes are divided into seven sections: Bar Snacks, Soups, Sandwiches, Salads, Sides, Berghoff Plates, Cafe Pizzas, and Desserts. So many things caught my eye as I scanned the pages: Fresh Baked Pretzels, Alsatian Onion Soup, Berghoff Spaetzle, Schnitzels, Cafe Onion and Bacon Pizza...

...and this coffee cake, which comes from the dessert section and is described as easy and flavorful -- both of which are true.

Much of the moisture in the batter comes from applesauce, which I chose to make from scratch to use up some apples -- a recipe for this is also featured in the cookbook. This goes along with the principles of the cafe and the recipes: resuse, recycle, reinvent. Author Carlyn Berghoff explains in the introduction, "We reuse our basics, get great mileage from them, and waste nothing." A simple applesauce easily becomes part of a great cake. Many of the recipes are used for other recipes, which is good if you're prone to wasting things, like I sometimes unfortunately am.

Making the applesauce according to the recipe, I simmered 3 pounds of apples with lemon juice, water, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

applesauce ingredients
After almost half an hour, the apples became soft and tender, and I simply mashed them. (You could also use a food processor if you want a smoother result.)

While the apples simmered, I threw together the streusel topping, which is just walnuts, flour, brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon.

crumb topping

With the applesauce and streusel made and ready to go, mixing up the batter was incredibly easy.

Like most cakes, you mix together your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices (nutmeg and ginger) in one bowl, and set those aside until you're ready to combine them with the "wet" ingredients: oil, sugar, brown sugar, egg, applesauce, and vanilla.

The batter goes into a greased 9- by 13-inch glass pan.

cake batter
Then you sprinkle the streusel on top.

Bake the whole thing until it's nice and golden brown.

And eat! The cake was good warm, but it was much better the next day, once it had cooled completely. The ginger flavor was a bit strong for my tastes, so I think I would add less of that and probably add some cinnamon straight to the batter next time. And yes, there will be a next time because this cake was incredibly good and kept getting better as the days went on. I ate it for breakfast... and sneaked small slivers of it before bedtime too.

I'm definitely looking forward to trying other recipes in this book, based on the results of this one. The only thing I didn't like is that the recipe just calls for salt and doesn't list how much. Baking is not like cooking, where you season to taste necessarily, so I would have preferred if an exact amount had been provided.

To try the recipes in this book yourself, pick up a copy! Or find this one on Google Books.

And if you're looking for other great apple recipes, try some of these:

Apple cider doughnuts
Apple crisps
Apple scrap tart
Cinnamon waffles with caramelized apples