Happy Thanksgiving!! Tomorrow marks the actual day and we have so much to be thankful for. Most of all, we are thankful for you – our readers who have found yourselves here with us at Mealtime Joy. We are so thankful for this community, for family, and for time around the table with those we love.
We are also thankful for those who have come before us, leaving us a legacy of feeding our families with love. Today, we have a recipe based on one handwritten not once but twice into her recipe notebook by our Grandma Campbell, who was a wonderful baker and an amazingly kind and gracious person.
A Baking Legacy
Grandma’s “Apple Brownies” recipe became this Apple Snacking Cake. Once you taste it, you will see why it was written down more than once. It is loaded with fresh apples, seasoned with warm fall spices like cinnamon and ginger. We added the toasty crunch of pecans and a cinnamon-sugar topping that covers the whole cake with a thin crisp shell of sugary goodness.
We put our own spin on this dessert, but stuck as close as we could to the original. It always more closely resembled cake than brownies, so we renamed it accordingly. Make this in the morning to serve as a coffee cake at breakfast or brunch. Or have it on hand to snack on all day long. It’s not too late to bring this cake to the table this holiday weekend. It is simple to put together and everyone will love it!
Bake it Up
Our Apple Snacking Cake comes together pretty quickly and really is so simple. The most time-consuming part is peeling, coring, and chopping the apples. Find someone to help and make it a social event – houseguests often want a way to feel helpful and doing something together builds connection.
This batter is pretty thick and absolutely loaded with apples. It may look to you like there are way too many apples and it could not possibly bake well or hold together. Keep going and do not change a thing. It is perfect, just as it should be, and will indeed hold together. All of those apples will cook down, add liquid to the batter, and allow this cake to bake up perfectly.
Allow the cake to cool and set for a bit after it bakes, so that it settles in a holds together. I know, it’s hard to resist. But it will be worth it! If you struggle (like me!), steal a bit from the edge. No one will ever know! 🙂
Weigh, Weigh, Weigh (Ingredients)
I (Kristen) am a huge proponent of weighing your ingredients when you bake. There are several ways that people can measure ingredients like flour and each method will yield a different result. While the differences may seem small, the variation of up to an ounce makes a really big difference in baking. You will only ever get the very best results if you are measuring exactly the same amount as the creator of the recipe. The only way to do that with any accuracy is to weigh your ingredients. With the scale, you can get the exact same result as us and the exact same result every time you bake.
If that wasn’t motivation enough to start weighing your ingredients, it is also easier with less clean-up! Now that is motivation! Simply put your mixing bowl on the scale and weigh things out one at a time directly into the bowl. No cleaning all of those measuring cups or extra bowls or taking the time to spoon, level, sift, or any of the other things. It’s so quick. It’s so easy. It’s the most accurate way to bake. And it’s not a big investment. Our favorite scale, here, is less than $35. Well worth it for all of the benefits! A kitchen scale also makes a great gift for the baker in your life!
A Treat For Brunch or Anytime
If you are putting together a brunch, serve our Apple Snacking Cake alongside this Egg Casserole with Bacon and Spinach and a fruit salad. Simple and delicious! Or, take this cake as a hostess gift. Build a treats board by cutting the cake into small squares and arranging it onto a pretty platter with some cookies, such as our Soft Pumpkin Cookies, Soft Cinnamon Cookies, Dark Chocolate Pecan Cookies, or some brownies.
We wish you and your families a truly happy Thanksgiving, from our families to yours.
Apple Snacking Cake
- 2 ounces (1/2 cup) raw chopped pecans
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 7-1/2 ounces (1 cup packed) brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 4-1/2 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 8 ounces (2 cups) peeled, cored, and diced apple from 2 large apples, 1/4-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 3/4 ounce (2 tablespoons) finely chopped crystallized ginger optional
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment and spray with baking spray.
- In a small skillet over low heat, toast the pecans until they are fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Remove them from the heat to cool.
- Melt the butter and pour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar and then the egg until thoroughly combined.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and stir until mostly combined. Add the apples, ginger, toasted pecans, and crystallized ginger (if using), then stir until the flour is coated and you no longer see streaks of white. Be careful to not overmix.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar. Set aside.
- Place the batter into the prepared pan and press down to spread evenly. The batter will be thick! When you have an even layer in your pan, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the entire surface. Bake in your preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the center springs back when touched lightly with your finger, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.