Preheat oven to 350 ° (or 325 ° convection bake). Prepare pans – line cupcake pans or grease and flour layer pans. You can use 2 8×2″ pans, an 8×3″ pan which will torte into 3 layers, or an 8″ square pan. 9″ round pans work also.
Combine dry ingredients and mix well.
Add the shortening or butter/margarine and work in until it’s the texture of fine crumbs. I do this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. I put the mixer on stir while I drop in small chunks of butter. Once it’s all it, I up the speed to 4 and let it run for ab out a minute. Stop to make sure there are no chunks stuck to the paddle. You could do it by hand with a pastry blender.
Add the milk or soy milk and vanilla. Beat for 2 min stopping to scrape down the sides. My grandmother did by hand with a wooden spoon and counted 200 strokes.
Add the applesauce and beat 2 more minutes.
Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake at 350 °/325 ° convection until it tests done. The time will vary depending on your pan. For 8 or 9″ layer pans, it will be about 30-35 min. For an 8×3″ pan, this will be about 50-60 min. For cupcakes, bake them for 18-20 min.
This recipe yields just over 6 cups of batter.
This cake can be made with shortening, margarine or butter. If avoiding soy, use butter or a soy- free margarine or shortening. Made with shortening will be just a tad drier.
Soy or cow’s milk can be used. I have found that refrigerated original Silk yields the best flavor and nice white color. Other soy milks have a stronger taste that comes through more and gives a darker color. You can use vanilla soy milk and decrease or eliminate the vanilla extract. I have not tried this with any other milk alternatives, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with rice milk or DariFree.
To convert back to eggs, decrease the baking powder to 3 tsp and replace the applesauce with 2 whole eggs.
For Eggnog Starlight Cake:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
replace the milk with Silk Nog