ornament swap + applesauce spice cake

Success. There will be an annual recurrence of this event, hopefully each year's ornament ideas spurring onto the next. Basic premise: bring a dish to share & 15 ornaments to exchange. Handmade & vintage ornaments are preferred but not required; they do not have to all match each other.
After consuming festive foods & cozy beverages, we sit in a circle & take turns describing how we made our ornament then pass their container of ornaments to the left. Each person around the circle takes 1 ornament until the basket is empty. Continue around the circle. If we have more than 15 people, we just won't get one of every ornament. If some people ditch last minute & we have extras, we'll trade to get a duplicate of a favorite ornament. Results: cute handmade things & a pleasant mix of sweet & savory snax (yes it must be spelled like it sounds). I contributed tea, coffee & cake.

  • 1.5 cup packed brown sugar
  • .5 cup chilled butter
  • 1.5 cup chunky applesauce
  • .25 cup apple butter
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (i think we did 2.5 C flour & .5 C ground up pecans)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • .5 tsp each ground nutmeg & ginger
  • .25 tsp salt
  • 1 C raisins
  • cooking spray
  • Cream cheese icing
  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Beat sugar and butter at medium speed (egg beater or mixer) until well-blended ( app. 5 min).
  • Add applesauce, apple butter, egg whites and egg. Beat well. Add flour & next 4 ingredients (through salt). Beat well. Stir in raisins. Pour batter into a 13x9 in baking pan that is coaated with cooking spray (we rubbed butter & sprinkled flour instead).
  • Bake at 350 F for 45 min or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely on wire rack. Spread cream cheese icing over cake, sprinkle with extra pecans if desired.
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • .25 C (1.2 stick) butter, soft
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 oz powdered sugar (or fewer, just enough to get the texture without overwhelming sweetness)

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