This Applesauce Cake is moist, flavored with warm fall spices, and topped with our quick and easy cheese frosting.
If you’re looking for the best old-fashioned applesauce cake, look no further! Our applesauce cake recipe is sure to be a hit with its tender, moist crumb and sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting on top.
Applesauce Cake ingredients
- All-purpose flour – We use regular old flour for this recipe, but you can also use a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour mix.
- Levening agents – Baking soda and baking powder help the cake rise.
- Spices – Ground Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, and Cloves help warm this recipe with fall flavors. We also use a bit of salt to balance everything.
- Sugar – We combine granulated and light brown sugar to add sweetness and a slight molasses flavor in the background.
- Eggs – Make sure your eggs are at room temperature by taking them out 20-30 minutes before mixing the ingredients.
- Unsweetened applesauce – Make sure the applesauce is unsweetened. Otherwise, the cake may be too sweet.
- Vegetable oil – You can use any neutral flavored oil that’s good for baking.
- Vanilla extract – For the best flavor, we recommend using real vanilla extract.
How to make applesauce cake
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Next, you’ll need to grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or oven-safe casserole dish. Set the prepared pan aside and start the cake batter.
In a large bowl, combine the dry mix of flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
In a separate bowl, combine the sugars and eggs and beat until fluffy using a hand or stand mixer. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
Next, add the applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to the sugar mixture. Mix this until thoroughly combined.
Combine the wet and dry mixture until just combined.
Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
We bake our recipe for apple cake about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool before topping.
We like to finish with cream cheese frosting and a dusting of cinnamon.
Recipe Tips and Alterations:
- Allow the cake to cool before frosting fully.
- This cake also works well with pear sauce.
- Use unsweetened applesauce. Sweetened will sweeten the cake too much.
- If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, you can use your favorite buttercream frosting or a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
- If you’re using dairy free / vegan cream cheese, we recommend using 1-2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to add the familiar tang you’d get with regular cream cheese.
- Regular cream cheese is thicker than some brands of vegan cream cheese. You can use 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken the frosting. If you’re making a vegan cream cheese frosting using vegan cream cheese, we recommend using 1/4 cup for brands like Violife and Philadelphia.
Storage and reheating tips:
- Refrigerate: Our applesauce cake should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- How to freeze leftover cake: Wrap slices of cake individually in plastic wrap and place them into a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to enjoy a piece of cake thaw it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
How to serve:
We like serving our applesauce cake topped with cream cheese frosting. You can also do a dusting of flour instead. We often pair it with a cup of apple cider or tea.
Frequently Asked Questions
Applesauce adds flavor, sweetness, and moisture. Some cakes and other baked recipes will also use applesauce instead of eggs.
It gets a bit crystalized when freezing due to the low-fat content, so we don’t recommend making it into popsicles unless you use a higher fat content.
Yes! We prefer maple syrup over honey for this recipe.
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- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cups light brown sugar packed
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature (take out about 30 minutes prior to making)
- 1/2 cup butter room temperature (take out about 30 minutes prior to making)
- 2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for dusting onto cake, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish or oven safe casserole dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
- In a bowl combine the sugars, eggs and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer or stand mixer, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract to the sugar mixture. Blend until combined.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mixed until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine cream cheese and butter and mix until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix to combine. You would also mix cornstarch and lemon juice in this step if you're using dairy free and vegan alternatives.
- Frost the cake and then dust it with a little bit of cinnamon.
- Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.
The nutritional information is automatically calculated and can vary based ingredients and products used. If the nutrition numbers are important for you we recommend calculating them yourself.