Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel

Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel by @browneyedbaker ::

I am a total sucker for any baked good that can be justified not only for dessert, but also as a snack and especially for breakfast. Give me a cake that I can call breakfast, and I’ll make it again and again and again. If something is a “snack cake”, “coffee cake”, “crumb cake” or anything of the like, you better believe that I’m going to eat it for breakfast. Applesauce snack cake definitely fits the bill, plus it is total fall comfort food. I have had enormous success baking with applesauce in the past (Apple-Pecan Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Filling & Praline Frosting and Apple Cinnamon BreadΒ are two of my favorite recipes), and this cake was no exception. Apples, spices, streusel… what could be better?!

Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel by @browneyedbaker ::

This cake has quite a few more preparation steps than I anticipated, but they are all very well worth it. Most quick breads and snack cakes involve a simple one (or two, max) bowl approach with whisking and folding to incorporate ingredients. Instead of using fresh apples, this cake utilizes dried apples that are reduced with apple cider for enhanced flavor, then pureed with applesauce. This technique ensures an extremely moist cake packed with apple flavor that does not suffer from air pockets that fresh apples can sometimes cause.

Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel by @browneyedbaker ::

If you’re a cake-for-breakfast type of person, this applesauce snack cake will be right up your alley. There are oats in the streusel filling, so it’s totally a legitimate breakfast food. You could also serve it with ice cream for dessert and go the traditional route πŸ˜‰

Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel by @browneyedbaker ::

One year ago: Cake Batter & Sprinkles Chocolate Bark
Two years ago: Pumpkin Fudge
Four years ago: Peach Crumb Bars
Six years ago: Cornbread

Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel

Yield: 9 servings

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

An incredibly moist applesauce spice cake topped with a pecan-oat streusel.


¾ cup (2 ounces) dried apples, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup apple cider
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
β…” cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
β…› teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
β…“ cup chopped pecans
β…“ cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line with parchment paper, allowing the excess to hang over the edges of the pan; set aside.

2. In a small saucepan, bring the dried apples and apple cider to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to cook until the liquid evaporates and the mixture appears dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.

4. In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

5. Measure 2 tablespoons of the sugar-spice mixture into another small bowl and stir in the brown sugar, pecans and oats. Add the softened butter and rub the mixture between fingers until the butter has been fully incorporated; set aside.

6. In a food processor, process the cooled dried apple mixture and applesauce until smooth, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed; set aside.

7. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and salt. Add the sugar-spice mixture and whisk continuously until well-combined and light colored, about 20 seconds. Add the melted butter in three additions, whisking to combine after each. Add the applesauce mixture and vanilla extract, and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold until just combined and evenly moistened.

8. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top into an even layer. Pinch the reserved streusel mixture into hazelnut-sized clumps and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the cake from the pan by lifting the parchment overhang and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares and serve. The cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.


  • This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch pan. The dried apple and apple cider mixture will need about 20 minutes to cook, and the baking time should be increased to 45 minutes.
  • This is a very moist cake, so it is better to err on the side of overdone when checking for doneness.
  • While apple cider is preferred, apple juice can be substituted.

(Recipe from Cook's Illustrated)


29 Responses to “Applesauce Snack Cake with Oat-Nut Streusel”

  1. Becky on September 25, 2013 at 12:31 am

    O.K. This. Looks. Delish.


  2. Olivia at ohmy Olivia on September 25, 2013 at 12:32 am

    These look SO good. I absolutely love apples for the autumn xo


  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on September 25, 2013 at 12:53 am

    Yes to cake for breakfast, love the streusel!


  4. Marcie on September 25, 2013 at 1:47 am

    What a delicious looking cake! You can’t go wrong with those flavors.


  5. Ellen on September 25, 2013 at 3:09 am

    I love baking with applesauce! Totally makes this legit anytime-cake.


  6. Linsey W on September 25, 2013 at 3:35 am

    How would you adapt this if making it with pre-made applesauce?


    • Michelle on September 26th, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Hi Linsey, I’m not sure what you mean by pre-made applesauce?


    • Dawn on October 18th, 2013 at 8:24 am

      I was wondering the same thing. I just canned 7 quarts and 7 pints of applesauce from my apple tree in my back yard. I’m looking for recipes using applesauce. I’ve used it as a substitute for other ingredients in recipes but this snack cake looks really good. Does anyone know what the measurement of the apple cider/dried apple mixture ends up being? (ex. 1 1/2 cups..)


  7. Laura@baking in pyjamas on September 25, 2013 at 3:49 am

    I like the idea of soaking dried apples in cider. Your cake looks delicious, I’d love a slice for my breakfast.


  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on September 25, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Love how simple this is! And that topping looks fab!


  9. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on September 25, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I love how healthy the recipe is!! It looks so god and would be perfect with my morning coffee!!


  10. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen on September 25, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Perfect fall breakfast cake, Michelle! Love the streusel and beautiful photography. Thanks for sharing. Pinning!


  11. Cate @ Chez CateyLou on September 25, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I am absolutely a cake-for-breakfast type of girl! This looks great, and since there is so much apple goodness in there, it is totally healthy! I love CI recipes!


  12. Becca @ Crumbs on September 25, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Mmm looks moist and delicious!


  13. Holiday Baker Man on September 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Yum! Perfect for Sunday coffee.


  14. michelle on September 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Sounds delish! Do you think fresh apples finely choppedbe substituted?


    • Michelle on September 29th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Hi Michelle, The headnote of the this recipe specifically talks about using the pureed dried apple/applesauce mixture in lieu of chopped apples because so as to avoid a heavy, chunky texture.


  15. Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate on September 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    There are too many apple recipe to choose from this time of year. I am almost overwhelmed! I have to bake something apple-related for a party and I am having the most difficult time making up my mind as to what!


  16. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I would eat this for every meal of the day πŸ™‚ I love baking with applesauce!


  17. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on September 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I would totally eat this for breakfast!


  18. Tanya on September 25, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Dried apples! Didn’t expect that! Looks wonderful!

    Looking for a strawberry scone recipe–lots of delicious scones on your site, do you think you might make strawberry any time soon?

    Also, went to Maui this past summer and had the best gelato! It was pineapple. Have not found it anywhere around here–do you ever make gelato instead of ice cream? This would be a great place to start.


    • Michelle on September 29th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Hi Tanya, I’ve tried a couple of strawberry scone recipes, but none that have really worked out well enough to share. Still on the hunt! I haven’t done any gelato making, but may give it a try. I’ll make a note of the pineapple!


  19. Maddie on September 25, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Hi, my kids are allergic to nuts and I was wondering if I could use all the other ingredients but the nuts? Thanks in advance!


    • Michelle on September 29th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Hi Maddie, I think that would work okay, but I might increase the oats to keep the texture in check.


  20. Robin on September 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Dried apples are apparently very rare around these parts in September. Three stores later…I think I will make your applesauce bread and tuck this away for later. Thanks for such great temptations!


  21. Linsey W on September 26, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    By pre made I mean store bought.


  22. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on September 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Amazing apple recipe, I bet these smell wonderful! YUM!


  23. Laura Dembowski on September 29, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I’m all about dessert for breakfast too! And apple cakes. I’ve never seen one with this method but it sounds great and I can’t wait to try it!


  24. Molly @Bakelette on October 2, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Snack cakes rule! Especially since it gives me another reason to cake other than for dessert!!


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