★★★★★

Applesauce Cake

This spiced Applesauce Cake is moist, sweet and easy to make. The cream cheese frosting on top makes it even better!

Have you tried our Chai Apple Bread recipe yet? Packed with fall spices and real apples, it makes your kitchen smell like fall paradise. Of course everyone loves our apple cider donuts too!

Slice of applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting on a white dessert plate.

Why this Cake is Best

This is the kind of cake that’s appropriate for any season, soo. The spices and apple elements are perfect in the fall and the holidays, but it’s just as welcome in my kitchen in July as it is in December!

  • Deliciously simple. This is not a flashy dessert with all the bells and whistles. There’s something so cozy about a simple slice of cake with the perfect amount of frosting.
  • Easy preparation. All you do is mix the ingredients, pour in a pan and bake. No fuss or stress of leveling cakes!
  • Lightly spiced. You’ll love the comforting blend of warming spices and brown sugar in this cake.
  • Cream cheese frosting. We couldn’t resist adding a bit of extra richness with a classic cream cheese frosting!

After making this delicious caramel apple bundt cake, I thought I’d turn it into something easier…and delicious.

Using that cake as a base, today’s applesauce cake is light and moist, and flavored with apples and spices!

Ingredient Notes

Ingredients needed for applesauce cake and cream cheese frosting.

Unsweetened applesauce – Applesauce keeps the cake moist while adding a light apple flavor. You can use my homemade applesauce (it’s only got 2 Tablespoons of sugar for the whole batch)…although it’s important to note you’ll need to make a double batch for today’s cake (and you can even make it unsweetened).

Vegetable oil – We use oil for the cake instead of butter to give the cake even more moisture.

Cinnamon – This is the prominent spice in this cake. It’s accompanied by nutmeg, ginger and cloves for a perfect aromatic flavor.

Cream Cheese – It gives the frosting a tanginess that complements the sweetness of the cake and brings out the slight tartness of the applesauce.

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make applesauce cake.

For the cake batter:

Mix together the wet ingredients for the cake. Then stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter may be lumpy; that’s okay.

Pour the applesauce cake batter into a baking dish. Bake until the edges are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool before frosting.

For the frosting:

Beat cream cheese with butter until fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake.

Tips and Tricks

  • Chill before serving. Cover the cake with foil or plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The flavor is best when it’s cold!
  • Use baking spray. Spray the baking dish with baking spray or use my homemade cake release before adding the batter.
  • Do not over mix. Beating the cake batter for too long after adding the flour will make the finished cake dense and tough.
  • Skip the frosting. Not a fan? Dust the top with powdered sugar instead. Or serve with homemade whipped cream.
Slice of applesauce cake with a fork taking a bite.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use sweetened applesauce in this recipe?

Yes, you can use sweetened applesauce! Our homemade applesauce would be delicious in this cake. If you do use sweetened, I suggest reducing the granulated sugar in the cake to 1/4 cup. Or leave all the sugar in and enjoy an extra sweet cake!

How long does this cake stay good?

Stored in the fridge, applesauce cake keeps well for 3 -5 days.

Is this cake recipe vegan?

The applesauce cake itself is vegan but the frosting is not due to the dairy. For a vegan applesauce cake, simply serve this without the frosting or replace with your favorite dairy free version.

Applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting in a white 13x9 baking pan.

More Easy Cake Recipes

Yield: 20 servings

Applesauce Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes

This spiced Applesauce Cake is moist, sweet and easy to make. The cream cheese frosting on top makes it even better!

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Frosting

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with baking spray (or use homemade cake release).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together applesauce, oil, and vanilla extract. Add flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix with wooden spoon JUST until combined (batter may be lumpy).
  3. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake for 33-35 minutes, until edges begin to lightly brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  5. For the frosting, beat cream cheese with butter for 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. Add in vanilla and powdered sugar, and beat an additional 3-4 minutes, until smooth and creamy.
  7. Spread frosting over cooled cake. Cover with foil (or plastic wrap) and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • Storage: keep this cake in refrigerator for best flavor (serve chilled).
  • If using sweetened applesauce, you can reduce granulated sugar to ¼ cup (or keep it as is and it will be slightly sweeter than normal). Try our homemade applesauce in today's recipe!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

20

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 324Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 126mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 2g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Spiced with warming cinnamon and brown sugar, easy Applesauce Cake is a cozy dessert for any season!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on December 6, 2021

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