Shorts 2.0

Cake of Cakes

During the final week of training, we trainees had a simple party for the families that hosted us. We decided to have a thanksgiving theme and there were many fine delicacies such as sweet potatoes, stuffing, and turkey sandwiches, but what is a party without a cake? A fellow volunteer and I made the cake.

I started Tuesday evening with preparing a bucket of applesauce, and then spent about 13 hours the following day baking seven cakes. This endeavor should have taken about 8 or 9 hours, but since the gas ran out at the training center and no more gas was going to be purchased, I ran into a bit of a problem. I had seven cakes and no fire. There was a separate stove that had gas but no oven and we tried to switch the gas, but that ended with gas leaking. In turn we walked the cakes down the road to a small bakery to have them baked. I went home that night at 9pm and crashed. Thursday morning and into the afternoon I assisted a friend of mine, Megan, with decorating the cakes. This system worked out quite well because she does not care to bake, but loves decorating and as many know I love baking. The cakes were Applesauce Spice and there was a magnificent turkey on the third tier.

Below is the recipe that I used and it got rave reviews from Americans and Peruvians alike.

Applesauce Spice Cake


4 ½ cups flour

3 cups applesauce

2 cups raisins

2 cups chopped nuts (didn't spring for these, but would have been delectable)

2 cups sugar

1 oz unsweetened chocolate grated

2 tsp baking soda

1 cup corn oil

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp allspice (couldn't find this)

¼ tsp ground cloves (couldn't find ground)

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla


Heat oven to 350°F, then grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

In a large bowl sift together flour baking soda, spices and salt. Stir in grated chocolate. Mix in applesauce and corn oil. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into prepared pan. Bake the cake until brown and nothing sticks to inserted fork or toothpick. Cool in pan on cake rack.


I added a little water to this recipe because the batter was a little dry and there were some ingredients that I could not find, but other than that the cake was phenomenal. Also, I made my own applesauce below are the directions to make it.



6 or more apples of two or more varieties (Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Golden Delicious, etc)

1 tsp cinnamon (or more)


Other spices such as ground cloves, nutmeg, allspice as desired


I chop up the apples into ½ inch size pieces with the peels, but these can be removed. Then I throw all the apples into a pot and cook them over medium to medium-high heat stirring occasionally until sauce like. If it seems dry add a little water. Add spices. Sometimes I don’t add anything because I like plain applesauce too.

Peruvian Style
The other day I was starting a worm composting bin (essentially a compost bin without dirt and with worms) out behind my house when my new Madre asked if I wanted cow poop for it. I of course did so she grabbed a plastic grain sack and we walked past the pig, goat and chicken/duck coup to where a friend/family member had some cows. En route my Madre of emptied the final corn cobs out for the pig. When we got over to the cows I started looking for a shovel or pitch fork not that there was one and ultimately it was entirely unnecessary. Alejandrina (Aleja or My Madre) was shoveling poop into the bag with her hands. This was not what I expected, but I then help out.
I do not in any way, shape or form find it weird or beneath me to shovel cow manure into a bag by hand. If I was in the States and by myself I would have shoveled the poop by hand, washed my hands and not told another person about it. It would have been a little secret and no one would have been the wiser.

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