Applesauce Snack CakeMarch 6, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 27 Comments
No one is jonseing for spring more than I am. I was plucked from the Sydney winter and plopped right into the New York winter, so I am completely sick of the cold at this point. Spring may be just around the corner, but we had a mountain of snow dumped on us earlier in the week, so I’m still eating like I’m prepping for hibernation. Until I see the first rhubarb at the greenmarket, apples and warm spices are what I’m wanting.
I saw the America’s Test Kitchen crew make Applesauce Snack Cake on TV awhile back, and have been thinking about it ever since. No time like the present whip one up, I’d say. Their recipe contains a fair bit of butter, so it’s certainly not one of those low-cal applesauce cakes, but it’s moist and nicely spiced…perfect for snacking or, in my case, for desserting. A little sugar and spice mixture sprinkled over the top before baking makes every thing truly nice (“nice” taking the form of a crispy, crackly, sweet crust). I made half a recipe, which is the right amount for two people, and it fit nicely into a loaf pan.
Applesauce Snack Cake– makes one 8-inch square cake
adapted from Cooks Illustrated (September 2006)
3/4 cup dried apples (2 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (7 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup sugar (4 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsweetened applesauce , room temperature
1 large egg , room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.
-Bring dried apples and cider to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat; cook until liquid evaporates and mixture appears dry, about 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
-Whisk flour and baking soda in medium bowl to combine; set aside. In second medium bowl, whisk sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Measure 2 tablespoons sugar-spice mixture into small bowl and set aside for topping.
-In food processor, process cooled dried-apple mixture and applesauce until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl as needed; set aside. Whisk egg and salt in large bowl to combine. Add sugar-spice mixture and whisk continuously until well combined and light colored, about 20 seconds. Add butter in three additions, whisking after each. Add applesauce mixture and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients; using rubber spatula, fold gently until just combined and evenly moistened.
-Turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula. Sprinkle reserved 2 tablespoons sugar-spice mixture evenly over batter. Bake until wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
-Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Run knife along cake edges without parchment to release. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut cake and serve.