Harriet’s Applesauce Coffee Cake

The Open Bar

With the holiday cooking season fast approaching, we thought it the perfect time to cull back through Tin House’s various forays into the culinary world and share some of our favorite recipes.

From Harriet Fasenfest’s  A Householder’s Guide to the Universe comes this delicious alternative to your standard pumpkin pie.

Harriet’s Applesauce Coffee Cake


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch-square pan.

Make streusel topping and set aside:

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons soft butter

Mix together first until thick crumbs form, then add:

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/2– 1 cup chopped walnuts (as you like — you could add other nuts, or oats, or omit entirely)

In another bowl combine:

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 cup white whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

In a separate bowl mix together:

1 cup applesauce

1/3 cup buttermilk

¼ cup real maple syrup

2 egg yolk (beaten lightly)

Rind of one lemon

Whip 2 egg whites until stiff.

Mix dry ingredients with wet. Add half the egg whites. Incorporate. Add second half. Do not over-mix.

Pour into greased 9-inch-square pan (1½ inches tall). Top with streusel topping.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes. Inside of cake should be dry when a toothpick in inserted.

Harriet Fasenfest is an avid gardener, food preserver, homemaker, and lover of the soil. Born and raised in the Bronx, Fasenfest currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, two sons, and the occasional “stranger.” At fifty-six, Harriet officially fled Main Street (and her restaurants) for the greener pastures of the backyard, where she teaches classes on householding.