Friday, October 7, 2011

Applesauce Snack Cake

YAY! Fall is here : D This is my absolute most favorite time of the year. I just love all the flavors and dishes that are associated with fall- pumpkin, apple, spices... ohhhhhhhh, SO amazing!

Here is my first fall kick off recipe! Apples are just such a great fruit to bake with. Probably my favorite.
This cake tries to emphasize the apple flavor by reconstituting dried apple slices in apple cider then reducing the mixture down. It takes the apple slices and processes them with unsweetened applesauce to come up with the base of the recipe. Genius if you ask me. It is Cooks Illustrated after all, it's to be expected.

This cake is so soft and so moist! With just a delicate touch of spice to it. And the top is crunchy from a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.

Did I forget to mention that by using applesauce it probably cuts down on the amount of fat in a normal snack cake recipe? Disregarding the whole stick of melted butter that's used that is....

Really a good snack cake recipe. Not overly sweet with frosting or icing so it does truly make for an anytime of the day snacking treat.

Applesauce Snack Cake 
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Print Recipe
¾ cup (2 ounces), dried apples, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup apple cider
1½ cups (7½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
⅔ cup (4¾ ounces) sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position; hear 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 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.
Meanwhile, 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 even 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 pan by lifting parchment overhand and transfer to cutting board. Cut cake and serve.

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