One tenet of my healthy eating philosophy is to choose produce that is in season as often as possible. Even though grocery store produce shelves are overflowing with berries, zucchini, and other summer fare, the Natural Resource Defense Council states that there is “no fresh, local produce available in Massachusetts at this time”. Although this unfortunate fact certainly doesn’t mean I’m not eating plenty of produce (I buy bananas and greens year-round), it does mean that I’m attempting to purchase more fruit and vegetables that are currently fresh in the northeast region.
Fortunately, our neighboring state of New York offers fresh apples in early April. Despite my ever-intensifying craving for ripe strawberries and plump blueberries, for the time being I’m sticking with crisp apples. I’ve been plowing my way through huge bags of organic Pink Lady and Gala apples as a sweet ending to packed lunches or an energizing pre-workout snack. Despite fully enjoying apples in their purest form, I couldn’t suppress a recent urge to feature a couple of them in a baking experiment.
The hefty amount of applesauce in this recipe yields a pudding-like cake, so don’t expect a light spongy texture. The slightly sweet batter envelops large pieces of tender apple, which is complemented nicely by a subtle maple flavor. You could certainly finely chop the apples before adding them to the thick cinnamon-flecked batter, but I personally prefer to bite into big succulent pieces of the sweet fruit.
I can’t wait for berry (and cherry!) season to come to Boston, but until then I’ll be happily munching away on my current fruit of choice.
Maple Apple Snack Cake
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp pure maple extract
- 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Coat a baking dish (I used one measuring 11 in x 7 in) with canola oil cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the applesauce, maple syrup, and maple extract. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing just until fully incorporated.
- Fold the chopped apple into the batter, and spoon into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Serve warm.