Applesauce Spice Cake

DessertBakingAppleQuick Bread

Welcome fall with this easy applesauce cake! It's rich, moist, and fragrant with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Top with cream cheese frosting or leave plain.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

When apple season starts, we spend weeks making homemade applesauce and apple butter with apples from our trees. We freeze the applesauce to use all year long so are always looking for ways to use it!

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

It’s less of a “cake” and more like a quick bread, similar to our banana, zucchini, and pumpkin breads. The batter comes together quickly, and you pour it into a square baking pan to bake. You could also easily use the same batter to make applesauce muffins instead.

Applesauce Spice Cake

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How to Serve Applesauce Cake

Applesauce cake can be served straight from the pan, or lift it using the parchment paper to serve on a tray. It’s also great topped with cream cheese frosting, or left plain.

Serve applesauce cake as an afternoon snack or evening dessert. Either way, a cup of coffee or tea alongside makes a cozy fall treat.

How to Store and Freeze Applesauce Cake

  • Frosted or unfrosted applesauce cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. (However, if your kitchen is warmer than 70°F, store frosted cakes in the fridge.)
  • To freeze: Do not frost the cake. Let it cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw overnight on the counter before serving or frosting.

Check out our other apple cake recipes!

Updated September 26, 2020 : We spiffed up this post with some new photos and new information to help you make the best cake ever. Some minor changes to the recipe for clarity. Enjoy!

Applesauce Spice Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Cooling time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Sense by Mitchell Davis.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (280g) 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
  • 1/2 cup (112g, stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 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 batch Cream Cheese Frosting, optional
  • Extra walnuts to decorate, optional

Method

1 Preheat oven, prepare pan: Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan, and then line with parchment to create a sling.

2 Combine dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

3 Make the batter: In a separate bowl using an electric mixer or in a stand mixer, beat butter until light. Add the 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.

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.

Batter for a apple spice cake recipe.

5 Bake: Pour out the batter into your prepared cake pan. Place in the middle rack of the 375°F oven and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake should spring back when touched.

Applesauce cake recipe in a baking pan.

6 Cool: Remove the cake from the oven. Let cool for 15 minutes. Lift the cake from the pan using the parchment and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with some walnuts, if you like, or serve it plain.

The cake can be stored back inside the pan, or in an airtight container.

Baked applesauce cake recipe. Applesauce cake recipe baked and frosted.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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36 Comments / Reviews

No ImageApplesauce Spice Cake

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Cyndi

    Made it with applebutter instead of applesauce and did craisins instead of raisins and omitted the nuts due to allergies. Was great.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Pat Larkin

    This reminded me so much of the boiled raisin spice cake my mother made in the 1940s-1950s. Wonderful comfort food. I did plump my raisins in boiling water for 10 minutes before adding. My mom used to make a maple flavored frosting for the top. YUMMY! Thanks for the memories.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Lorraine

    Perfect made it with a general purpose gluten free flour (robin hoohood) & added 1/4 tsp of xanthen and deleted the cloves only because I was out of it. Will make it again everyone loved the texture & taste.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Jon

    I want to make this for a 9×13, but 8×8 recipes I’ve read in the past often say don’t just double for a 9×13. What do you suggest?

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Annita

    i made it by the recipe and it was a hit at my church fellowship!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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Applesauce cake, frosted and with a piece removed.Applesauce Spice Cake