Published September 1, 2006.
Applesauce cakes run the gamut from dense, chunky fruitcakes to gummy 'health' cakes that don't taste like much. How about an applesauce cake that tastes like apples?
Applesauce cake has an identity crisis. We found recipes for moist and tender spice cakes and recipes designed to be low-fat, healthy options, but what we didn't find was a lot of apple flavor.
We wanted a moist and tender cake that actually tasted like its namesake
The easy challenge was to achieve the looser, more casual crumb that is best suited to a rustic snack cake. Since this texture is similar to that of quick breads and muffins, we used the same techniques, i.e. mixing the wet ingredients separately and then gently adding the dry ingredients by hand. The harder challenge was to develop more apple flavor--simply adding more applesauce made for a gummy cake and fresh apples added too much moisture. But two other sources worked well. Apple cider, reduced to a syrup, contributed a pleasing sweetness and a slight tang without excess moisture. And plumping dried apples in the cider while it was reducing added even more apple taste without making the cake chunky. With such great apple flavor, we didn't want the cake to be too sweet or rich, so we eliminated the idea of topping the cake with glazes or frostings. But we found we liked the modicum of textural contrast provided by either a simple streusel or an even simpler sprinkling of granulated sugar.list of recipes