Culinary Curious

Photo: Krause, Johansen

Applesauce Snack Cake

Presented by America's Test Kitchen

Makes 1 8-inch square cake

This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. If doubling the recipe, give the cider and dried apple mixture about 20 minutes to reduce and bake the cake for about 45 minutes. The cake is very moist, so it is best to err on the side of overdone when testing its doneness. The test kitchen prefers the rich flavor of cider, but apple juice can be substituted. Cooled leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (2 ounces) dried apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon 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 (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Turn batter in to 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.