The Petrie Family Applesauce Cake


My grandmother, Mary Lou, always brings a delicious applesauce cake to family birthdays.  The cake is hearty and wholesome and it is dressed with a decadent penuche frosting -- and often a small bouquet of wildflowers.

I recently asked her to share the recipe with me and she sent along some family history as well.

"It is an old family recipe from your grandfather Landon's mother, Lillian Yarrington. She likely learned to make it from her mother. Lillian was a southern girl from the state of Virginia. Merton Petrie met her there as he accompanied a load of cattle by rail from Wisconsin to Virginia. He brought her back as a bride to Lake Geneva.

There was no recipe of the applesauce cake to follow. Mom would put in a little of this and that by guess and practice, so the cake was never exactly the same each time . I used to watch her do this. One day we asked her daughter, Mary, to try to determine what her measurements were as she was making another cake so we could duplicate it. That resulted in the cake we make today."

Applesauce cake


2 C sugar
.5 C shortening
1 square baking chocolate
2 C applesauce
3 tsp baking soda (dissolved in 1 tbl hot water)
2.5 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp nutmeg
1 C raisins


Preheat oven to 350F, grease and flour a 9 x 13 baking dish

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and spices.

Heat the applesauce and add the baking chocolate, allowing it to melt.  Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water and add to the heated applesauce. 

In a separate bowl, combine the shortening and sugar -- beat until light and fluffy.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the applesauce mixture to the shortening and sugar.  Combine but do not over mix.  Add the raisins.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool while you make the frosting.

Penuche Frosting


.5 C butter
1 C brown sugar
.25 C milk
2.25 C confectioners' sugar


Melt butter. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook until the it pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pan.

Boil for two minutes. Stir in milk; heat to boiling, remove from heat, stir in confectioners' sugar. Beat smooth with electric beaters.

Spread onto the cake immediately.  It will set as soon as it is spread.

Thank you for preserving this delicious piece of family history grandmother!