whole wheat applesauce spice cake on a plate

Somewhere along the way, we lost our way…and our manners. Saying thank you is now optional. Just think about it. It’s now the norm for people to post a  picture on social media and tag it with the caption “You’re Welcome.” Sure, it’s a pithy way of relating to our friends, family, and followers, but I’m going to take a stretch here and say it’s a byproduct of the pervasive sense of entitlement slowly taking over our society. I mean, why say thank you, when you’re OWED something. 

In the words of Stephanie Tanner, “How rude!” This not saying thank you business, is not the business. In A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding, Jonathan Swift states  “good sense is the principal foundation of good manners.” He goes on to argue that very few people are born with this good sense, which is why societies establish proper rules for decorum and decency. Seems fair enough to me. We’ve all lacked common sense at some point in our lives, but we found our ways back thank in part to loving correction and guidance. No one is going to learn to say thank you, if we keep making it the rare exception, instead of the established rule. 

With that being said, thank you, for reading my blog! And my apologies for quoting a snooty Anglo-Irish essayist and cheesy 90s sitcom character in the same paragraph. Now on to cake.

whole wheat spice cake

I’ve given a traditional spice cake a face lift with some whole wheat flour, brown butter, and applesauce. These last two ingredients reduce the amount of sugar and fat necessary. What results is a moist, flavorful cake fit for the maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting that tops it.

Whole Wheat Applesauce Spice Cake
Serves 9
A healthier take on a comforting spice cake.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the cake
  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  9. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  10. 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  11. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  12. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  13. 3 egg whites
  14. 3 tablespoons milk
For the maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting
  1. 1 8 ounce package of cream cheese or neufatchel cheese, softened
  2. 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  3. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
For the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a square 8x8 inch baking pan.
  2. In a small skillet, melt the two tablespoons of butter over low-medium heat. Continue to cook the butter until the milk solids separate and it turn a nice golden brown color. Be careful not to burn!
  3. Remove the brown butter from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the unsweetened applesauce, brown butter, brown sugar, and vinegar. Add the egg whites and milk and stir until just combined.
  6. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to thoroughly incorporate the wet mixture with the flour mixture. Be careful not to over mix.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes our clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Then top with a thick layer of maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
For the maple cinnamon cream cheese frosting
  1. Beat the softened cream cheese, maple syrup, powdered sugar and cinnamon until thoroughly combined.
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