Grandma Niesing, a large Dutch woman, owned a rambling farm just down the road from my grandparent’s modest farm. Though not actually related, the families had known each other for so long, she was another grandmother by default. I spent vacation time playing with her granddaughter who would visit, occasionally helped with chores, and we would meander over for cider and caramel apples for Halloween – there’s not much trick-or-treating when the farm houses are so far apart – you just show up and have treats with them. The scary part is wandering the dark, unlit lanes back home. And Grandma Niesing cooked – for her family, friends and for the workers on her farm, so I sought her help when a school assignment had me hunting up a Dutch recipe.
“Well, it simply must be an applesauce cake.” She jotted down the recipe for me.
This recipe is a variation from the original. I’ve tossed out the white sugar, and I make my own apple and pear sauce with honey. I’ve added in sage for its musty, earthy flavor and I’ve upped the spices a bit. It’s become a family favorite, Clara loves it for her birthday, even at tournaments – yeah! No neon frosting!