Be sure to check out my Happy Eats Healthy site to see upcoming classes, seminars, for more information on Health Coaching, nutrition information and more!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Recipe Swap: Blueberry Applesauce Wacky Cake with Crumb Topping


When this months Recipe Swap recipe came through for a wacky cake, I thought how fun, and what easy cleanup. A wacky cake is one of a group of cakes that were popular in the depression era; popular thanks to their ease and accessibility to cheap ingredients. Containing no eggs or butter, they are stirred together in the same pan as cooked in.

The recipe swap rules state you must change at least 3 ingredients and/or the cooking method; essentially make it your own. Initially I set out to keep true to the depression ease and simplistic-ness of the original recipe and ingredients, but somehow Grand Marnier fell into my cake and it just went from there.

Instead of using cocoa as the base, this was my first opportunity to use one of my new Strange Ingredients a friend sent in, vanilla powder. To keep the calories down, I opted for applesauce in place of the oil, for that reason, the texture of this cake is reminiscent of a quick bread. When you get a good forkful of the cake, a blueberry and the crumb topping, it makes for one good fat and happy bite.

Tips and Techniques: Switch up the flavor of this cake with ease by changing the fruit filling. Try Strawberries, peaches or apples! If you don't have vanilla powder, either add an extra tablespoon of the Grand Marnier or add a teaspoon of liquid vanilla extract.

Burwell General Store Recipe Swap: Blueberry Applesauce Wacky Cake with Crumb Topping

Blueberry Filling for Wacky Cake
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 Tbls sugar
squeeze of lemon
1 tsp corn starch

Make the blueberry filling first.  Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan, cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use. This step can be done a day or two ahead of time.

Butter Crumb Topping
2 Tbls butter, room temperature
2 Tbls flour
2 Tbls powder sugar

Place all the ingredients on a plate, use a fork to mash the dry ingredients into the butter. Once it is all combined, set aside until ready to use.

Vanilla Powder Wacky Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbls vanilla powder
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup water
1 tsp champagne vinegar
1 Tbls Grand Marnier
5 Tbls applesauce

Have the blueberry filling and the crumb topping ready. Once you add the vinegar to this cake, you need to work quickly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have the one cup of water ready. In a greased 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 baking dish, sift in all the dry ingredients and stir with a fork. Make 3 holes in the flour and place the Grand Marnier in one hole and the applesauce in the second. Quickly add the vinegar to the third and then pour in the water while stirring everything together with a fork.

Spoon the blueberry filling over the top of the cake, and then crumble the butter crumb topping on top of the filling.  Place in the oven until a toothpick comes out just about clean, the crumb topping will not brown so don't look to that as an identifier. My cake took around 40 minutes or so but keep an eye on it - it's better to under cook this than over cook.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly. If serving this warm, a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipping cream would be a fantastic addition.

Please take a moment to visit my fellow Recipe Swappers
Lindsay was the first blogger I asked to do the swap.  I found her blog after a day of surfing around looking for new recipes, and became hooked by the honesty and simplicity written into her recipes. She loves Oregon, its ingredients and Portland's lifestyle, and it shows.

Chef Dennis joined us on the Lemon Cake swap.  A veteran chef in his own right, we are lucky to have his Italian Lemon Pear Cake contribution to the swap.  The rest of his fantastic food blog can be seen at morethanamountfull.

Mari lives in Oregon wine country and is a budding wine connoisseur.  I fell in love with her use of Pinot Gris in the glaze for her (gluten-free!) Lemon Cake swap, which was her inaugural recipe with us. Visit her at The Unexpected Harvest.

Boulder Locavore’s  starting point for the recipe swap is always a local-seasonal-organic combination, though her love of international cuisine and cocktails often work their way into the mix!

Joy, holding down a dairy-intolerant household, doesn't let that restrict her love of flavors and food, in fact, I think it inspires her to do what she does. When you visit her blog, be sure to check out her "ubiquitous about page" and the balcony gardening category.

Monique has been food blogging since 2007, and was very gracious as I talked to her about my personal project of the recipe swap while on a professional work call with her. It must have gone okay, because she joined in, and her first recipe was a BLT-inspired chicken pot pie.  I'm so glad to have her on board.  

Shari is our first International participant!  Writing from down under, we cherish her voice in the swap because she brings the results of additional recipe challenges; the seasons are flipped from where most of us are blogging.  Her first swap was Grandma's Chicken Pie and Drop Biscuits, which she made in the dead of summer.

Jennifer's tag line says it all: Life is too short to eat bad food.  At her blog, Adventuresome Kitchen, you will find a passionate food-type, feeding her family amazing meals and living to blog about it. Jennifer joined in at Grandma's Chicken Pie and Drop Biscuits. 

The Cake Duchess.  The name says it all, and Lora's recipes are rock solid, creative, decadent, inspiring. What other adjectives can I throw at her?  Her innaugural recipe was Grandma's Chicken Pie and Drop Biscuits, a rare savory recipe for her to develop. 

Pola is a new blogger from Italy, transplanted to the cold Midwestern plains. After years of calling mom to check on cooking times and temperatures of family Italian recipes, she started writing them down. In the process, she is hoping to help new friends discover how to cook simple and authentic Italian food. 

Mary is a lifelong resident of the San Francisco Peninsula and was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2007. Her search fora  gluten-free chocolate chip cooke that didn't taste, look or feel gluten-free inspired her blog and she's been happily baking ever since.

Jamie blogs at Random Acts of Food and has a love for food that only an Italian could! She enjoys cooking and baking in all cuisines for her family and friends.  Originally from Long Island, Jamie now resides in Boston with her amazing boyfriend.

Crissy and Lauren are two recent college graduates who are embracing their passion for all things culinary in the smallest yellow kitchen that ever was.  Their balanced diet of equal parts savory and sweet helps them add a little zest to what they do best!

Claire blogs with Texas pride from Dallas. She loves chicken fingers, Law and Order SVU and is left handed. We are excited to have her!

Nay blogs about food at Spicy Living from Portland, Oregon, and joined in on the Lemon Cake swap.  She incorporated lavender and lemon into cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Cindy, co-worker, food lover, all-around awesome person.  I may have guilted her into the swap, and then I found out her knowledge about US restaurants is almost encyclopedic so I know she's game. Check out her quirky and fun blog.

Sabrina Modelle blogs at The Tomato Tart from the San Francisco bay area, and for her first swap (the Lemon Cake) she made a Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel.  How's that for inspiration?


  1. What a neat post! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Aren't these fun? I'm so glad you're squeezing this in between your various travels! I'm looking forward to trying this one, I love crumb cakes, and this version looks, well, wacky!

  3. I'm so intrigued by your cake! I have never heard of vanilla powder; what a find. This sounds delicious and I love the spin on taming the ingredients in such a different way. Congrats! Loving keeping up on your travels too. Love Africa personally. Glad to have you as part of the swap!

  4. YUM! I love all things fruit based- It looks amazing!

    I have never heard of vanilla powder... What other things have you used it for? Does it have a really distinct taste?

    I am so happy to meet you and look forward to more swaps!

  5. I should not look at your blog whilst hungry. This looks SO good. Seriously, I need to make this soon. Love your take on the swap!

  6. what a gorgeous cake! I would love to dive into a big piece of your wacky cake! Great entry in our little swap!

  7. I am loving your wacky cake! This is perfect for Sunday brunch! And, I'm going to have to look for vanilla powder- what a cool ingredient!



Related Posts with Thumbnails