Barney Google and the Applesauce Cake: Vintage Recipes from my Kitchen Today

This is a tale of two baked goods whipped up on different days but from the same awesome vintage cookbook, courtesy of Trinity Treasures (from Trinity Episcopal in Everett, WA a la 1965). I love love love cooking out of vintage recipe books, it is a something of a challenge, in part that recipes are written assuming a lot more kitchen knowledge than you find today and the ingredient ratios are different and often they are more simple but still flavorful. There are also some that are just not that tasty. Both the Barney Google Cake and the Applesauce Cake (I made it more like a quick bread) were selected to help use up some of my canned jams and sauces in the pantry. This makes them quite versatile.

Barney Google Cake or Bars


Bottom Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2  eggs (I used 1)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional


  • at least 3/4 cup jam, not precise per se. I used fig jam!


  • 1/4 cup softened or melted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (white is fine too)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Lightly grease or line with parchment paper a 9×9 square pan or if doubling a 13×9
  3. Mix together the bottom crust ingredients. Sugar is optional.
  4. Press into the bottom of the pan. It is a bit like shortbread.
  5. Spread the jam on the crust. or dollop allover.
  6. Mix together the topping ingredients, except coconut until smooth. Then add and mix in the coconut.
  7. Spread topping over the jam filling.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Need to let cool a little bit before diving in.

Note: easily doubled to fill a 9×13 pan. Use any jam you want. Also simple to use gluten-free flours, such as GF oat bran flour. I also added 1 tablespoon to the shortbread like bottom crust and use unsweetened coconut flakes.

Applesauce Cake/Bread



  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce or ‘purees’
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup flour
  • Optional: nuts, raisins, cranberries, 1/2 cup oatmeal, fresh or frozen berries


  • Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare either a cake pan or loaf pan/pans with parchment paper. I doubled the recipe and made a full size loaf and three mini loaves.
  • Mix together all the wet ingredients. Adding the flour and then finally hand mixing in the add-ins like nuts etc.
  • Pour or spoon batter into pans. I had a little of this left over unsweetened plum and  pear puree that I was canning, which was used instead of applesauce, and I also drizzled some on top of the dough before baking.
  • This version has some random frozen raspberries, dried cranberries and plum/pear ‘sauce’. Feel free to change up your spices too.
  • Bake for 30-45 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Notes: Thank you Marilyn T. for submitting this simple and flexible recipe. It easily doubles and can use a variety of ‘sauces’ and add-ins. I halved the sugar from her recipe given the fruit’s natural sweetness and my desire to make this more of a ‘breakfast’ bread vs. dessert.


So Google was a word before Google was the web? Yes! Some sleuthing revealed Barney Google was a likable but fallible rumpled top hat horse jockey type cartoon character with goggle eyes (google is a play on goggle), who eventually was usurped by his sidekick Snuffy Smith, a bodacious hillbilly (by Billy DeBeck). Barney was married briefly to the formidable Mrs. Lizzie Google.  His cartoon theme song also inspired the memorable rice-a-toni jingle apparently. I guess he liked cake or found himself in ‘jams’ (one of the ingredients? ) Does anyone have other information, I wish I could ask my Grandma.

Other vintages recipes on this blog



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