Applesauce Spice Cake

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

July marks the beginning of the apple season here. The brightly striped Gravensteins are the first to ripen. And when they do, we spend weeks making homemade applesauce and apple butter.

As our freezer is now packed with applesauce, and there’s more to come, I thought I would experiment with a recipe in the newly published, practical cookbook Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis.

The applesauce spice cake came out as good as promised – super moist and spicy. Although the recipe is billed as a “cake”, it is similar to banana, zucchini and pumpkin breads; it would make a great muffin as well.

Applesauce Spice Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt diluted a bit with milk, or 1/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins


1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour an 8-in square baking pan, set aside.

2 Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

3 In an electric mixer, beat butter until light, add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition. Add the vanilla and the applesauce and beat until smooth.

4 Mix in half of the dry ingredients. Just before they are blended, add the thinned yogurt (or buttermilk). Then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients and the nuts and raisins, until completely incorporated. Do not over-mix.

5 Pour out the batter into your prepared cake pan. Place in the middle rack of the 375°F oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until done. The cake should spring back to the touch, and a toothpick or thin skewer should come out clean after being inserted in various spots in the middle of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven. Let cool for 15 minutes. Then invert to cool completely on a rack.

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Recipe adapted from Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis.

Showing 4 of 27 Comments

  • Marita L.

    Another delicious recipe! Had to bake it for 50 minutes since the middle was very wet after 30 minutes. Also, I didn’t have all the individual spices on hand, so I used pumpkin pie spice blend which worked just as well. Elise, you make cooking easy and delicious with your recipes. Thanks!

  • Joan

    I would use orange juice in stead of the yogurt

  • Michele

    This recipe was a disappointment. It had to bake almost an additional 25 minutes. It was dry. I wanted an applesauce cake recipe for an 8 x 8 pan as the recipe I have is for a 9 x 13. I should have stayed with my 9 x 13 recipe which is very moist. This
    8 x 8 recipe when compared to my other one requires larger quantities of ingredients which I believe cause this cake to be heavy and dry and not moist at all. With all of these varied baking times I think it is the recipe not everyone’s ovens. I bake frequently and with success – this recipe need tweaking.

  • Sheila

    Made this today and it really good. But it took nearly an hour to bake. I don’t know how anyone could get it done in 25-30 minutes. And my oven temperature is spot-on. But I will surely make this again.

  • Kat Nski

    Fabulous cake! I’ve made this twice now, using homemade applesauce (local apples and your recipe, but only half the sugar) and the cakes were utterly perfect – moist and deliciously spicy. We’re in the middle of a late winter snowstorm here in MA and I plan on making another one tonight, along with your magnificent potato leek soup and your cheddar, pear, and bacon sandwiches. It doesn’t get better than this. Thanks for all the great recipes!

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