Monday, April 8, 2013

Apple Spice Snacking Cake

I'm a sucker for a spicy, easy to grab chunk of coffee cake. Whether it's super-crumby, butter-packed and so sweet lesser mortals would go into instant diabetic shock, or the lesser evils like the yogurt-based and vegan goodies out there, chances are if it's got a good whack of cinnamon in it and the cake itself is tender and delicious, I'll swipe a piece. Only recently did I start incorporating fruit into my snacking / coffee cakes in more ways than "mashed bananas" or "applesauce", but I was struggling to keep the cake from becoming chewy from the lack of fat, grainy from the flour, and bland without a super-buttery topping.

Apple Cinnamon Coffee CakeI was lucky enough to get an advance copy of The Newlywed Cookbook by Robin Miller a few months ago, which sparked a cooking and baking spree as I was writing my review. One of the recipes my mom and I both earmarked was the Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake (p. 189) and it was no question that it would be first on my list to make! Unfortunately, the first version (as written) was spongy, almost spiceless (no cinnamon in an Apple Cinnamon cake?) the and far too sweet for a "breakfast" or "snack" cake. The other issue was that the original recipe adds the topping after the cake is baked - which fell right off and seemed like a waste of time and effort.

Learning from version 1, I made a batch of chunky applesauce and set about playing with the recipe's ingredients and method. Most significantly, I added almonds and pecans to the topping and patted it onto the uncooked batter before putting it in the oven, making for a slightly crunchy crust that stuck. I also cut the total amount of sugar, used vanilla almond milk to moisten, chucked in a dash of whole grain spelt flour and (of course) put spice in the actual cake itself.

Verdict? Definite success - flavourful, moist and just rich enough on it's own! If you don't want to make your own chunky applesauce, just see my notes for using premade pie filling - yes, pie filling - instead. It's a wonderful morning snack, and with a scoop of frozen yoghurt you can even have a bona fide dessert on more weeknights!

Shared with

Apple Spice Snacking Cake
Makes 12 pieces (one 8" square cake)

Topping
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp coarse raw sugar
2 tbsp slivered almonds
2 tbsp chopped pecans

Batter
1 cup chunky applesauce (or pie filling if desired, reduce sugar to 1/2 cup if using)
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tbsp melted butter or coconut oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8" pan with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl combine cinnamon, sugar, almonds and pecans. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat together the applesauce, almond milk, butter, egg and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Add the flours, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and salt.
  5. Stir until just combined (like when making muffins).
  6. Spread in the pan and sprinkle with the topping, pressing it lightly onto the batter.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes. 
  8. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 164.2
Total Fat: 5.2 g
Cholesterol: 23.3 mg
Sodium: 36.6 mg
Total Carbs: 27.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 3.0 g