January 22, 2012

Best Apple Snack Cake

 I made this for breakfast and my husband just loved it!  This is not your typical applesauce cake.  There are a few extra steps involved to give it great apple flavor, but trust me, it's worth it!  It has a smooth texture and stayed moist for days.

1-1/2 cups (4 ounces) dried apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups apple cider
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 cups unsweetened apple sauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
and cooled slightly
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the dried apples and cider.  Bring to a simmer and cook until liquid evaporates and mixture seems dry, about 20 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.  (Alternatively, to speed up the cooling process, place apple mixture in a small metal bowl.  Set this bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice and stir occasionally.)  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and baking soda; set aside.  In another medium bowl,  whisk sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.  Measure 2 tablespoons of this sugar-spice mixture into a small bowl and set aside for the topping.  In a food processor or blender, process cooled dried-apple mixture and applesauce until smooth, about 20 to 30 seconds; set aside.  Whisk the eggs and salt in a large bowl to combine.  Add the sugar-spice mixture and whisk continuously until combined and light colored, about 20 seconds.  Gradually add the butter, whisking until thoroughly combined.  Now add the applesauce mixture and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients; fold batter gently with a rubber spatula until flour is just combined and evenly moistened.  Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with a rubber spatula.  Now sprinkle the reserved sugar-spice mixture evenly over the batter.  Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack about 2 hours.  

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