This lightly spiced, tender gluten free apple gingerbread snack cake is perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea after a good meal, or with your morning coffee (preferably after the children have already left for school, if you're me).
It's even moist enough that you can seal it up and store it in the refrigerator, something I don't normally recommend for cakes (my freezer is full of baked goods, but my refrigerator is mostly for fruits, vegetables and meats).
The cake calls for two types of applesauce, one smooth and one as chunky as you can manage. For the smooth applesauce, I used jarred applesauce. Yeah, that's right. From a jar! I actually really like smooth applesauce from a jar, both for baking in cakes like this and by the spoonful (although my incredibly food-spoiled children tend to turn up their noses at it). I'm not even too picky about it, so nearly any brand of no-sugar-added jarred applesauce will do. For the super chunky stuff, I make my own. All I do is peel, core and slice thinly whatever apples I have on hand (any kind works, but of course the firmer ones will make the chunkiest sauce), add cinnamon to taste (usually 1/4 teaspoon per apple) and about 1 tablespoon water per apple, then cook in a covered, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat until the apples are fork tender.
A light dusting of confectioners' sugar might seem like gilding the lily, but even a heaping tablespoon should be enough to cover the whole cake—and it helps let everyone know that this quiet cake might not make a dramatic presentation, but it's got it goin' on all the same.
Gluten Free Apple Gingerbread Snack Cake
2 1/2 cups (350 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon apple pie spice*
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg (60 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 tablespoon (21 g) unsulphured molasses
5 tablespoons (105 g) pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons (84 g) honey
1/2 cup (122 g) smooth applesauce
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature
4 ounces chunky applesauce
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
*To make your own apple pie spice, combine 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom + 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg + 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan, and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, apple pie spice, salt, granulated sugar and light brown sugar and whisk to combine, working out any lumps in the brown sugar. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, egg, molasses, maple syrup, honey, smooth applesauce and milk, mixing until just combined after each addition. The batter will be thickly pourable. Add the chunky applesauce, and mix until the apples are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is an even, light golden brown, the top feels mostly firm when pressed gently, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. If you insert the toothpick directly into an apple chunk, it will come out wet even if the cake is baked through. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before slicing and serving, if desired.
Adapted from my recipe for Gluten Free Gingerbread Cake.
We went apple picking this past weekend and came home with a literal bushel of apples. I remembered this post and got to work on this recipe last night. I followed it to the letter (including the “chunky” applesauce) and it came out wonderfully. I will slowly re-claim my fridge (and garage and basement ) from the apple avalanche with your help. Many thanks!
do you think you could make these as muffins ? thinking they might be good for travel treat that way ?
Thank you Nicole :) I think I’m going to try it! ;)
Do you think this recipe would turn out just as well if the egg was substituted with chia seed?
Nicole Hunn says
Since it’s only one egg, and a “chia egg” is my personal favorite egg substitute, it’s worth a shot. But you’ll have to experiment, since I haven’t tried it myself, Audreigh!
Why not just put some homemade chunky applesauce in the blender and whir it instead of buying applesauce?
Nicole Hunn says
Betty, feel free to do that if you like! This is how I prefer it.
Pamela F says
What a great addition to my apple recipes! Thank you so much! My youngest son and I are headed to our cousin’s apple orchard on Saturday to pick up more apples (our 5th trip this summer) for eating and baking with. Think I will make this on Sunday. Thank you again for the wonderful recipes. It makes eating GF so normal!!
Yum! I have a ton of apples this lovely cake is on the to do list!