One-Bowl Apple Bread

August  1, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • makes one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf
Author Notes

Apple bread is an unsung hero. Home cooks are always going on about making banana, pumpkin, and even zucchini loaves, but few are jumping up and down about the apple bread they just popped out of the oven. Lucky for you, I’m about to change all that. No bread is moister (and remains so for several days, despite calling for melted butter rather than oil), more fragrant as it bakes (filling your kitchen with all the warm and cozy vibes), or more downright delicious than this one.

The moisture—and deep apple flavor—in this particular loaf comes from unsweetened applesauce, while the chunks of soft apple studded throughout provide toothsome, fruity pockets, surprising you each time you bite into one. My go-to varieties here are Granny Smith or Gala. Peeling and chopping the apples takes as much time as the entire assembly of the cake (and by that I mean less than 5 minutes). The batter is one-bowl: add your leavening, spices, and salt into the wet ingredients, rather than whisk them into the dry, a technique I implement with abandon in my new cookbook, Snackable Bakes: 100 Easy-Peasy Recipes for Exceptionally Scrumptious Sweets and Treats.

The resulting loaf needs no embellishing. This not-too-sweet and lightly spiced cutie is best eaten straight-up, perhaps spread with softened salted butter. Or, if you’re over at my house, and we’re feeling a little “extra,” I might toast you a slice, butter it, and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar. Now, doesn’t that sound good? —Jessie Sheehan

Test Kitchen Notes

One-bowl recipes are truly a godsend, and this one was such a treat. The smell was intoxicating as it was baking, and it was so easy to throw together. Perfectly sweet and spiced (with a slight crunch from the turbinado), the bread had pockets of jammy, concentrated apple pieces that were like little gems. Moist and comforting, this takes apple bread to new heights! —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apples, (aim for 1/2-inch chunks)
  • Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 x4 1/2-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or softened butter. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper that extends about 1-inch over the long sides of the pan (like a cradle for your cake).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla for 30 seconds, until creamy. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and then the applesauce. Sprinkle the baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt into the bowl, one at a time, vigorously whisking after each. Using a flexible spatula, gently fold in the flour until only a few dry streaks are visible. Fold in the apples. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan (it will be very full), smooth the top, and lightly sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  3. Bake for 70 to 75 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The cake is done when a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out with a moist crumb or two.
  4. Let cool for about 20 minutes, until you can use the parchment to lift the cake out of the pan without burning yourself. (You can run a butter knife around the short ends if it resists.) Let cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. Keep the cake on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • goldenblind221
  • Jessie Sheehan
    Jessie Sheehan
Bio: Jessie Sheehan is the author of The Vintage Baker and Icebox Cakes. Her new easy-peasy baking book, Snackable Bakes, hits shelves in spring 2022. She contributes to the Washington Post, Bon Appétit, Food Network, and the Kitchn, among others.

2 Reviews

goldenblind221 October 13, 2022
Warmly spiced and moist with an addictively crunchy dome. Perfect fall flavors when you’re all pumpkined out.
Jessie S. October 15, 2022
Yay yay yay!! So happy u liked. XO