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You know a dessert’s good when someone licks their plate (and it wasn’t me…I knew there was more in the kitchen.) That dessert is Apple Cake with Rum Sauce – one of my favorites when I was a child. Perhaps a Midwestern thing, I know very few people who’ve ever tasted this wonderment. My guess is the apples were substituted for dates by those who populated the Midwestern regions, because this is very like a Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Apple Cake with Rum Sauce

Apple Cake with Rum Sauce

The top is a little browned and crunchy, the inside moist, dense, a bit chewy and a bit cake-like, all at the same time. The beautiful sauce envelops this somewhat homely concoction…some of soaks in the top as the rest pools around it on the plate…I do want to note that some people prefer the cake cooked less.

How pleased I was to find this childhood favorite in my Grandma’s recipe box…I’ve no recollection of my family making this, but it was often served by the lunch ladies in my school. I’d have traded anything on my plate for another piece of this.

Apple Cake isn’t meant to be served on its own…the post for the Rum Sauce is coming.

Apple Cake with Rum Sauce, serves 15, cost $2.77 with sauce: $5.14

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  •  5 cups apple, peeled and finely diced

Cream sugar and shortening or butter, add eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients and whisk together; add to sugar mixture. Mix in apples. This will look thick and strange – it’s ok, just forge ahead.

Spread in a 9 x 13 pan, bake at 350 degrees for one hour. The top should look dried and a little darkened in places. Test by pressing lightly on the top of the cake, when the indentation comes back up, the cake is done.

Notes:  This batter is really thick and you will have to spread it into the pan – you haven’t made a mistake!  This is the perfect recipe to use an apple/corer/slicer.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Strategies Applied

  • Use your apple/corer/peeler!  This recipe will always be least expensive in the fall, and often gadgets that have to do with apples are on sale then, too.
  • Apples:  89 cents a pound, I used five, averaging about 7 ounces each.  Cost: $1.94.
  • Shortening:  Not often used in the frugal kitchen, but this dessert, I feel, really benefits in texture.  You could use butter.
  • Sugar:  Stock up during the fall/winter Holidays, 2 cups is 42 cents.
  • Eggs:  Last bought 88 cents for 12, two are 15 cents
  • Flour:  Again, stock up during the Holidays:  2 cups 21 cents.
  • Spices and soda:  About 5 cents.


Per Serving: 257 Calories; 8g Fat (26.9% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 28mg Cholesterol; 320mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates.

Recipe:  Rum Sauce, makes about 1 1/2 cups, cost:  $2.37

  • 1/2 cup butter
    1/2 cup cream
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon rum

Mix ingredients in saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 2 – 3 minutes until slightly thickened.  It will thicken more as it cools, and it should be loose.  You can flavor it with other flavors besides the rum.

Money and Time Saving Strategies:

  • All of these ingredients are cheaper in the fall right before the Thanksgiving Holiday.  Stock up on your Pantry Items then.
  • Butter:  Buy on sale and freeze:  cost: $1.00
  • Cream:  $1.89 for 1 cup:  cost: 95 cents (I’ll make butterscotch from  the rest or you could whip it and serve it with the cake.)  I haven’t tried, but I think you could be able to substitute evaporated milk in this.
  • Sugar:  21 cents for each, total 42 cents.


Per Serving: 118 Calories; 8g Fat (60.6% calories from fat); trace Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 24mg Cholesterol; 67mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Put Your own Spin on It:

Serve this with ice cream or whipping cream, with the sauce or without.   This would be good with about 3/4 cup of toasted walnuts in the recipe.  Flavor the sauce with vanilla or even orange – or almost any type of liquor that might go with the flavor of the apples.  Make it with pears!  Why have I never thought of that before…I think I’d cut back the cinnamon to a teaspoon and use almond in the caramel, and almond if I used a nut in the cake.  Using a bit of sea salt sprinkled over the caramel gives it a special feel and a bit of a modern touch.

My Pay Off:

A dessert that certainly looks homey but packs a whole lot of flavor punch.  Seriously, people go nuts over this dessert.  The best part is they look a little skeptical at first – then you get to watch their face light up when they taste it.  Then they start making the little happy food noises…It’s cake – it has calories, but not as much as some, and it does have a wee bit of fruit:  1/2 serving per slice.

Apple Cake with Rum Sauce made Fall 2011

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