This moist, spicy cake, delicious warm and great cold, was all the rage in San Francisco a few years back. The recipe below was adapted from San Francisco A La Carte, the city’s Junior League cookbook (Doubleday, 1979).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large saucepan, slowly bring the applesauce to a boil. Stir in the molasses and baking soda. (The mixture will foam up.) Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and spices, and stir with a whisk to blend. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer for several minutes, until light. Gradually add in the sugar and continue beating until thick. Gradually beat in the oil. With the mixer on low speed, alternately fold in the flour mixture and the applesauce mixture. Pour the batter into a well-greased 10-inch tube pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Then unmold and continue to cool on a rack. Decorate with White Glaze.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the powdered sugar and milk and beat for several minutes, until smooth. (If the mixture seems too thin, let it cool slightly, to thicken.) Pour over the cooled cake, letting it run down the sides.