Barbara McClellan

It’s a little different this year with the Thanksgiving color scheme outside. Instead of a brilliance of autumn colors of red, yellow, orange and browns, I look out the window to roses, geraniums, mandevillas, zinnias and other spring and summer flowers in all their spring and summer glory.

Because gardening ranks high among my hobbies, it really does not matter to me what the colors are, as long as I am able to see something growing. So, we will have autumn fragrances all through the house to bring in something about fall this Thanksgiving. We ate our vegetables last week (all the recipes last week were vegetables), now we can have desserts. However, since life is uncertain, it’s OK to eat dessert first.

I am going to make one of my favorite fall cakes for Thanksgiving. Though I have not seen Linda Pursley in a long time, I think of her every time I look at this recipe.

Linda’s Applesauce Cake

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup shortening

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons nutmeg

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

2 cups applesauce

2 1/2 cups sifted flour, divided

2 cups raisins

1 teaspoon soda

1/4 cup warm water

Cream sugar, salt, and shortening until light. Add spices, and mix well. Add eggs, 1 cup applesauce and 1 cup flour. Mix well and add remaining applesauce and 1 cup flour. Using the cup which held the applesauce, mix the soda and water. Add to batter. Mix raisins with remaining 1/2 cup flour and mix into batter. Pour into greased and floured tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan to cake plate and frost while warm.


3 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons milk

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and spread on warm cake. It is like a glaze. May garnish with chopped nuts, if desired.

Usually, I give you the origin of my recipes. I have no clue from where I got this one. It is quick, easy and versatile.

Pumpkin Cake Bars

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup cooking oil

1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin

2 cups biscuit mix

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins, if desired

Mix with electric mixer 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Pour into a greased and floured 11-by-16-inch pan.

Top with:

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup crushed cornflakes

2 tablespoons melted butter

Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Instead of crunchy topping, do not add brown sugar, cornflakes or melted butter. Bake cake about 25 minutes and when cool, top with cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 stick butter, softened

2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar

Mix well until very smooth.

Though it’s not a dessert, my mother’s recipe for a very fragrant, delicious hot drink is great for this time of year.

Mother’s Hot Spiced Tea

2 quarts water

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon whole cloves

2 family-size tea bags or 8 regular size

1 can (6 ounces frozen orange concentrate)

2 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1-1/2 cup sugar (See Note)

Simmer water with cinnamon sticks and cloves for 20 minutes. Pour over tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes. Mix with remaining ingredients. Store in refrigerator. When serving, mix equal parts water to tea mixture. Heat to serve.

Note: I use artificial sweetener instead of sugar, to taste.

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— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist. Write her at or in care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.