Start to finish: 1 hour (plus up to 2 hours to cool)
1 cup apple cider
3/4 cup dried apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
2/3 cup (4 2/3 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Make foil sling for 8-inch square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is 8 inches wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan.
Combine cider and dried apples in small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until liquid evaporates and mixture appears dry, about 15 minutes. Let mixture cool completely, then process with applesauce in food processor until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds.
Whisk sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in bowl; set aside 2 tablespoons mixture for topping. Whisk flour and baking soda together in second bowl.
Whisk egg and salt together in large bowl. Whisk in sugar mixture until well combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Whisk in melted butter in 3 additions, whisking after each addition until incorporated. Whisk in applesauce mixture and vanilla. Using rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture until just combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Gently tap pan on counter to settle batter. Sprinkle reserved sugar mixture evenly over top. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cake cool completely in pan on wire rack, 1 to 2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift cake from pan. Serve. (Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)
Nutrition information per serving: 278 calories; 97 calories from fat; 11 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 51 mg cholesterol; 304 mg sodium; 42 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 24 g sugar; 3 g protein.
For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit https://www.americastestkitchen.com. Find more recipes like Applesauce Snack Cake in “Perfect Cake .”
America’s Test Kitchen provided this article to The Associated Press.