Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars ♦ Soft and Moist

Soft and moist cinnamon cake with a kruidnoten (Dutch cookies) base. This cake is filled with apple and topped with almond flakes. These Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars are perfect for the holidays. Swap the kruidnoten for Biscoff or gingersnaps if you can’t get your hands on kruidnoten. Also delicious for Christmas.

Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars 

Sinterklaas month!

Have you heard about the Dutch holiday called “Sinterklaas“? It’s a Christmas-like holiday for kids. In The Netherlands, Sinterklaas is celebrated on december 5th. And in honor of this holiday, November is the month of Sinterklaas recipes on WT. This year I’m starring “kruidnoten” in all of my recipes. Kruidnoten are very crunchy cookies and contain a bunch of spices.

Last week I shared the first recipe with these cookies: a kruidnootjes pie. For today’s recipe, I combined the kruidnoten with a moist cake to make these beautiful Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars: A crunchy cookies base paired with a soft apple cake. To make the cake look extra festive, I topped the cake with almond flakes and crushed kruidnoten. My favorite kruidnoten are from Albert Heijn (Dutch supermarket, not sponsored) by the way. If you can’t find kruidnoten in your country, sub it with an equal amount of Biscoff or gingersnaps.

How do you make the kruidnoten base?

For the kruidnoten base, you need to crush the kruidnoten to a fine powder. Then, combine the powder with melted butter. I use this method for all my cookie bases. This kruidnoten base is the same base I use for the kruidnoten pie. To crush the kruidnoten, I use a blender. You can also use a foodprocessor. I’m not a fan of smashing with a rolling pin, because it’s difficult to get a fine powder for a perfect, smooth base.

Once you’ve got your mixture, press it into a baking pan. And that’s really it. Only kruidnoten and butter. Because kruidnoten are already quite sweet, I don’t add any sugar to this base. Same goes for salt. I even use unsalted butter. However, as usual, you can adjust the recipe to taste.

Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars

Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars

What makes these kruidnoten apple cake bars so moist? 

There are two ingredients that make the cake super moist: oil and sour cream. By using oil instead of butter in a cake recipe, the cake will turn out lighter and more moist. It’s a trick I use to get light and moist muffins. The downside of oil is that it doesn’t add any flavor to the cake. However, as this cake already has plenty of flavor from the cinnamon, apples and kruidnoten, you won’t miss the butter in this cake.

To make the cake even more moist and fluffy, I use sour cream for this cake recipe. Sour cream has a low pH and activates the baking soda in the batter to create extra air. Extra air= Extra fluffy. In addition to a fluffier cake, sour cream tenderizes gluten, which results in very soft texture. Needless to say: I don’t recommend substituting the oil and sour cream. It’s what makes this cake awesome.

Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars

Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars
Serves 16
Soft and moist cinnamon cake with a kruidnoten (Dutch cookies) base. This cake is filled with apple and topped with almond flakes. These Kruidnoten Apple Cake Bars are perfect for the holidays. Swap the kruidnoten for Biscoff or gingersnaps if you can't get your hands on kruidnoten. Also delicious for Christmas.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients for the base
  1. 500 g kruidnoten*, processed to a fine powder
  2. 140 g unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the cake
  1. 300 g all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. ½ tsp baking soda
  4. 1 tsp cinnamon
  5. ¼ tsp salt
  6. 250 g caster sugar
  7. 3 eggs, room temperature
  8. 200 mL vegetable oil
  9. 250 g sour cream, room temperature
  10. 1 large apple (or two medium apples), cubed
  11. almond flakes and more kruidnoten for decorating
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C.
  2. In a bowl, mix the kruidnoten powder and melted butter.
  3. Tightly press the mixture in a square baking pan of 25cm. Set aside.
  4. Roughly mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, oil and sour cream until smooth.
  6. Fold in the flour mixture and chunks of apple.
  7. Pour the cake batter on top of the cookie base.
  8. Sprinkle almond flakes and chunks of kruidnoten on top. Press the almond flakes and kruidnoten lightly to "stick" them to the cake.
  9. Bake the cake 45-50 minutes at 170C or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  10. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the baking pan.
  11. Cut the cake into squares and serve.
Notes
  1. * Or Biscoff cookies
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