Need to use up some of the apples hanging out in your kitchen? Then you NEED this Mascarpone Swirled Apple Loaf with creamy mascarpone icing.
Moist baked bread with a tender crumb, creamy cheese swirl in the center, and a sweet glaze on top, it's great for a sweet breakfast, snack, or dessert!
Please say hello to one of the things I’ve been making that my kids are obsessed with - this beautiful apple loaf. It took quite a few tries to get it perfect and this is the one.
It’s hitting all the ‘must haves’ for a fall treat:
- warming spices that you can taste but don’t overpower
- super duper tender texture
- lots of moisture and apple flavor
- a fun slightly savory pop with the mascarpone cheese
Best of all, it's easy to make like a banana bread recipe and after the last year and a half, everyone is a pro at banana bread.
Ingredients & Substitutions
We're relying on the classics - flour, sugar, butter, and spices to start. Here's the list of what you'll need for baking:
- all purpose flour
- baking soda
- cinnamon, nutmeg, ground clove
- unsalted butter
- fresh apples (you'll be peeling and grating them!)
- mascarpone cheese
- confectioners sugar
- heavy cream
If you need to switch up a few things on the list to make this recipe work with what's in your pantry, there are a few options.
Can you use apple sauce? Yes. Mix it up real good though so it's not too watery. Even better, use some homemade applesauce if you got it.
The grated apple is the #1 way to go if you can. It's easy peasy and adds such a great texture without throwing the dry to wet ratio off.
If mascarpone is unavailable you can substitute cream cheese. The cream cheese will be slightly tangier, but the flavor and texture are really close.
When it comes to making the mascarpone glaze if you don't have heavy cream you can try a tablespoon of milk instead. Or skip the glaze altogether and do a dusting of confectioners sugar or a drizzle of caramel.
What's the best apple to use
McIntosh is my #1 recommendation. It's the most popular apple for making applesauce for the texture, strong apple flavor, and grates easily so it does well as a grated addition to this bread.
However, you can use any apples you have available. Granny smiths will add a little tartness, honeycrisp a very subtle sweetness, etc.
How to make mascarpone swirled apple loaf
Great news! You don't need a standing mixer to make this bread! A handheld mixer and a large bowl will work just fine, but if you have a standing mixer go ahead and get her out.
Tip: You'll need to remember to take the butter and the mascarpone cheese out of the fridge beforehand.
Having softened mascarpone will make it so much easier to spread on the soft batter and to whip up to glaze your apple loaf.
Per usual with most baking recipes, like this apple cake, combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Why do we do this? For one, it makes life easier to just dump it all in when it's time. But more importantly, it prevents over mixing and allows the leavening ingredients (baking soda) to incorporate evenly.
Next, beat the butter until its pale and yellow before mixing it with the sugar. After incorporating the sugar everything should be nice and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.
When it's time to add the dry ingredients, you want to mix everything together as little as possible - same as with banana bread. This will help keep a fluffy, moist texture.
As the dry ingredients are just combining, add in the milk, mixing until it starts to come together. You may need to scrap the sides and bottom of the bowl for any butter left behind, you can incorporate this by hand if you want.
After that, it's time to layer and bake! You're almost done!
While the mascarpone swirled apple loaf bakes prep the glaze by beating the remaining mascarpone and confectioners sugar. Thin it out with heavy cream for a nice fluffy glaze!
How to layer a cheese swirl in sweet breads
It's very simple! Pour about ½ to ¾ of the batter, layer the mascarpone, and cover with the remaining batter.
Tap the pan lightly before baking to remove any air bubbles.
This batter is pretty light, so I found the cheese sinks a little during baking especially in this decorative pan (affiliate link) so ¾ of the batter worked best in all my tests.
Does it need to be refrigerated?
Yes! Because of the mascarpone cheese both in the bread and glaze, you'll need to refrigerate your apple loaf.
Can you freeze apple bread?
Just wrap it tightly in a zip bag or wrap before freezing!
In the mood for more apples...
If you went overboard at the orchard or you just really love apple things (or both!) try some of these ideas, both savory and sweet.
Mascarpone Swirled Apple Loaf
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup grated apple about 2 apples
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup milk
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese softened
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese softened
- ¾ cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat again on medium speed for about 1 minute.
- Mix in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute, then add the grated apple mixing until just combined. Reduce the speed to low, add the bowl of dry ingredients, mix for about 10 to 15 seconds then add the milk. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl if necessary.
- Spray a loaf pan with baking spray or grease and flour it. Pour ¾ of the batter into the pan. Spread half of the mascarpone cheese over the batter. If the mascarpone is still a little chilled, drop it in spoonfuls. Cover with the remaining batter.
- If using a decorative pan (like mine), tap the pan to remove any air bubbles and set the pan on top of a thin sheet pan before placing in the oven. Bake on the middle rack for 55 to 60 minutes.
- While the apple loaf is baking, prepare the icing. In the bowl of a standing mixer or with a hand mixer beat the mascarpone cheese on medium high speed until fluffy, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar and slowly increase the speed to medium high, mixing until combined. Slowly add the heavy cream until the consistency you desire is achieved.
- Let the loaf cool for 5 minutes in the pan before flipping over onto a cooling rack and then cool for about 15-20 minutes before spreading the icing over the top
- If using a decorative pan (like this Nordicware one!) gently tap it on the counter after filling the pan with batter to get rid of any air bubbles. A regular loaf pan will also work - any pan about 9x5x3.
- For an extra creamy and more savory version use all 8 ounces of mascarpone for the filling and skip the glaze.