Spice up your holidays with this cake tradition

Story and photos by Lynn Marr-Moore
Spice up your holidays with this cake tradition

Christmas traditions are carried down throughout the years. For Nevada resident Jody Burke, one has continued in her family, dating back to when she was a small child growing up in North Attleboro, Mass.

“When I was 8 years old, my mother, who was a chef, would take me to the Garrison Home during the holiday season,” tells Burke. “I remember the first time we visited the Garrison Home. They were having an open house so we decided to go.”

The historical home, according to Burke, is a time period home. It was a structure that was built in 1670 by John Woodcock and is now used as a museum. At one time, the building was home to a tavern.

It was from this famous residence that Burke obtained a very old recipe that has come to be a tradition in her home today.

“My mother purchased the recipe, which was part of a packet of recipe cards on one of our first visits there,” said Burke. “The house is such a good memory to me. They served cider, and we were able to bake holiday recipes on our visits.”

The house, at one time in its early beginnings, was a hiding area for colonists.

“There are secret passage ways in the house that allowed early colonists to hide from the Indians,” tells Burke.

The home, known as Woodcock-Hatch-Maxcy House, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

“My mother and I would go there every year,” said Burke. “It’s very vivid in my head.

Burke said her mother was happiest when cooking, and of the special recipe, she adds, “I usually make this recipe beginning the first of October through December.”

Burke said her mother would have her mash the apples for the recipe. Over the years, they switched from hand- mashed apples to using applesauce, and she said her mother would add walnuts and cranberries to the recipe at times.

“My mother is no longer living, but I found the recipe in one of her recipe boxes,” said Burke. “She wrote the recipes down, off her original purchased recipe cards she purchased from our first trip to the house. When she passed, I was able to bring the recipes and her recipe boxes home with me.”

Burke admitted that many people might shy away from the recipe because it contains mincemeat.

“Mincemeat contains a variety of ingredients,” explained Burke. “It has raisins, dried apples, molasses, water, corn syrup, vinegar, salt, beef bitters and fruit pectin.”

Burke turns to her mother’s cookbooks often and often finds grocery lists and other notes that her mother left in the books.

“The books are very old, but actually timeless,” she said. “There are two that I use often. One is Betty Crocker, a second printing book from 1961, and the other is The American Woman’s Cook Book, which was copyrighted in 1948.”

One thing Burke learned from her mother is how to measure without measuring spoons.

“Everything is measured by size in the palm of my hand,” she said. “It works every time.”

And, the applesauce cake is a hit with her family. She shares the recipe here, in hopes that it becomes a holiday tradition with your family as well.


Applespice Cake

1 cup sugar

½ cup butter

1 cup applesauce

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup mincemeat

Cream sugar and butter. Add applesauce and beat until smooth. Add all dry ingredients. Add mincemeat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve warm with Cool Whip topping or real whipping cream.