Applesauce Snack Cake

March 6, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 27 Comments

applesauce snack cake

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.

applesauce snack cake

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.


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  1. Oh wow. It looks so moist and delicious!!

  2. Oooh classic!!

  3. That recipe looks delicious! The spiced sugar on top has me drooling, I will definitely be trying this one soon!

  4. Wow, this looks fantastic! I love how the recipe incorporates applesauce and dried apples. I am bookmarking this for sure.

  5. Gosh that looks amazing! I love things like sugar and spices on top of breads. They really make them fantastic!


  6. I love watching America’s Test Kitchen. They’re so smart!

  7. Looks delicious. I’ll have to try it.

  8. This cake sounds delicious, warming, and moist. I love what the addition of applesauce does for the flavor and texture of any bread or cake. And when you call this a snack cake, you make me feel like I can eat as much as I want–because it’s just a snack 🙂

  9. yum! this looks like the best snack ever. the perfect amount of soft, chewiness and crispy sugary edges. mmm mmm

  10. Look at all the apple infused goodness in this cake!!!!! I love it!

  11. A very moist slice there…..

  12. yes, bookmarking this one. i love that crispy looking topping.

  13. This looks like a lovely moist cake. I love apples in cake.

  14. now that’s what i call a stellar topping–it looks so crusty and sweet atop your gorgeous, moist cake. bravo!

  15. This looks like a delicious cake, I love anything the contains apples. I have an apple tree in my yard, so I make tons of applesauce!

  16. mmmm… looks absolutely delicious!
    Is spring ever gonna come! 🙂

  17. This looks delicious! I love anything with apples. Spring has been here the past few days for us here in South Carolina- I hope it gets to New York for you soon!

  18. that looks so yummy – I can almost taste it through my screen!

  19. Ah so you ended up in New York – hi neighbor! (I’m heading to Watertown next week with my kids, we will wave to you from there!)
    Yes, not light in sugar, but at least there is some dried apples in there to balance it a bit.

  20. looks amazing.. you always pick the greatest recipes, darling!

  21. I’ve not tried a cake with applesauce as yet but this sure does look delicious and moist.

  22. Yum! My MIL just happens to have lots of apples put up in her freezer from the bountiful apple season last year. This looks delicious.

  23. oh this cake looks awesome 🙂

  24. I came to look at your Lemon Custard Cup, but I got distracted by this cake. I’ve made this a few times, and I absolutely love it. So moist and apply and spicy. My husband says it’s like fall in a cake.

  25. I had to bookmark this one too. And I love the idea of making half a cake in a loaf pan, so thanks for that as well.

  26. i’ve made this cake twice now and it is stellar! rave reviews from both family and friends. i fool myself into thinking it’s healthy because there is so much apple in it. my friends said it tastes like something their grandmother would have made them as a child. i agree. it’s homey, not too sweet and lovely with a dollop of fresh whipped creme. i can’t keep it around long enough to get tired of eating it.

  27. I made this yesterday for company and I am making the second one for breakfast.
    Served with Ben n Jerry`s vanilla ice cream what a dreamy
    Treat.this morning I halved the sugar..1/3sugar/1/3splenda.
    Love American test kitchen and your loaf pan idea gives me 2
    Cakes. Thanks

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