Bridget told me that I must make this cake. So I listened, because she knows her stuff. Now I'm going to tell you: you must make this cake. It is crazy good. I had actually seen it in Cook's Illustrated, but kind of skimmed over it. It doesn't seem like much... just a simple apple cake. But it is really really delicious.
You are hit with apples from 3 sides: applesauce, apple cider, and dried apples. Then you feel the warmth of fall spices from cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The result is an incredibly moist, light, apple-y cake.
Applesauce Snack Cake
adapted from Cook's Illustrated, as seen on The Crumbly Cookie
makes one 8-inch square cake
- 3/4 cup (2 ounces) dried apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bring dried apples and cider to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until liquid evaporates and the mixture seems dry; 15-20 minutes (it might take a little longer depending on your stovetop and the pan you use)
Whisk flour, and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. In a second medium bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Measure out 2 Tablespoons and set aside in a small bowl for the topping.
In a food processor, puree the dried apples with the applesauce until smooth, 30 seconds or so. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Whisk together the egg and salt in a large bowl. Whisking continuously, add the sugar mixture; whisk until it is well-combined and light yellow, about 20-30 seconds.
Add the butter in 3 additions, whisking after each. Whisk in the applesauce mixture and vanilla to just combine. Add the flour to the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the batter. Only stir until it is just combined and evenly moistened.
Pour the batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula, and sprinkle with remaining sugar-spice mixture. Bake until a wooden skewer comes out clean and cake has set, 35-40 minutes.
Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Run a knife along the edge to release from parchment. Life parchment to remove cake; cut into squares and serve.