How to Make an Applesauce Cake That Will Get You Right In the Feels

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A recipe that never fails to bring joy: Applesauce Cake. Picture this: a moist and rich cake, generously studded with plump, juicy raisins, and crowned with a heavenly cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Yes, please!

It’s a simple cake made with simple ingredients, and is one of my fall favorites. It has become one of my all-time favorite desserts during this cozy time of year.

In fact, I sometimes even serve it for brunch, and if I’m being honest, I’ve been known to enjoy a slice with my morning coffee. Ah, the perks of adulthood!

The natural sweetness from the applesauce and fruit makes every bite a delight, and they work together to make a moist applesauce cake. Your whole family will love it.   

slice of applesauce cake on a white plate
Have a slice of this yummy Applesauce Cake – and just look at all that frosting!

And the best part? It’s one of those easy recipes you’ll want to make over and over again. Why stress over anything complicated when this easy dessert recipe is all you need?

A Dash of Cinnamon Magic

Now, you might be thinking, “Shouldn’t it be called cinnamon applesauce cake?” Well, you’re absolutely right! The addition of cinnamon takes this cake to new heights of deliciousness. It’s one of those warm spices that truly completes this cake recipe.

And speaking of cinnamon, I have a little secret to share with you. To take our cream cheese frosting to the next level, I added a little teaspoon of this aromatic spice, and it’s really just so good.

Now if you are looking for a healthy applesauce cake recipe, you could leave off the cream cheese frosting. However, it really kinda makes the cake!

full view of frosted bundt cake

Get your aprons on, preheat those ovens, and let’s whip up this great recipe together.


All the basic ingredients to make this old-fashioned applesauce cake should be available at your neighborhood grocery store:

  • Unsweetened Applesauce: Store-bought applesauce is fine, or make your own!
  • All-Purpose Flour: For structure and volume.
  • Unsalted Butter: Gives richness and a buttery flavor.
  • Brown Sugar: Brings a nice sweetness to the applesauce.
  • Eggs: Bind the ingredients together.
  • Molasses: Adds a robust, complex sweetness that goes perfectly with the spices.
  • Baking Powder: Helps the cake rise and become light and fluffy.
  • Salt: Brings out the sweetness and helps the taste.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for a nice bit of warmth. 
  • Ground Flax: For a nice, moist crumb and a healthy boost.
  • Raisins: Bursts of sweetness!

Cinnamon cream cheese glaze

The cinnamon cream cheese glaze is what completes this cake. All you need are these ingredients:

  • Cream cheese
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla-flavored coffee cream.

Just mix it all up and drizzle it all over your cake. Yum. Yum.

How to make the best Applesauce Cake

This is one of my favorite sweet cakes to make – perfect for the holiday season. Just follow these easy instructions, and you’ll have a delicious apple dessert in no time.

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. You can use an electric mixer or do it by hand.
  3. Once the butter and sugar are well combined, add the eggs. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next – this way, you’ll get a nice, smooth cake batter.
  4. Next, stir in the molasses and set the bowl to the side. 
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  6. Add the ground flax and raisins to the dry mixture.
  7. Now combine the dry and wet ingredients. Gradually mix the dry mixture into the wet mixture, alternating with the applesauce. Begin by adding a portion of the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, mix until just combined, then add a portion of the applesauce. Repeat this process until all the dry mixture, and applesauce have been incorporated into the batter. This method helps to prevent overmixing, so you’ll get a tender and moist cake.
  8. Get your baking pan ready by greasing it or lining it with parchment paper. The baking time depends on the size of your cake pan:
    1. For a 9-inch square pan, bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 55 minutes. 
    2. For two 8-inch round pans, bake for around 40 minutes. 
    3. For a bundt pan, bake for 55 to 60 minutes. 
  9. Once baked to golden perfection and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes.
  10. Transfer the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully created a scrumptious Applesauce Cake. Look below for a printable recipe card. 

applesauce spice cake with slices cut from it on white plate

Expert Applesauce Cake Tips

Follow these expert tips, and you’ll be making this spiced applesauce cake in no time:

  • Unsweetened goodness: Use unsweetened applesauce in a jar – try to get an organic brand. It’s so much easier to use, and gives the perfect texture for cakes.
  • Flour measuring: Measure your flour mixture using a spoon to fill your measuring cup, then use a knife to level it off.
  • Sift for Success: Always sift your dry ingredients. Although it’s an extra step, it makes the texture of your cakes so much better!
  • Electric mixer: Use an electric stand mixer to get the butter and sugars well blended. Use the paddle attachment and medium speed. A hand mixer is fine if that’s all you have.
  • Cool cake: Let your cake cool completely before frosting – this’ll stop it melting and sliding off.
  • Seasonal Apples: Buy your apples during the apple season – they’ll be cheaper, tastier, and juicer!


Here are some answers to the most common questions I get about making this easy apple filling:

How long do you bake a cake?

Not sure about how long to bake your cake? Try the lower range of the times given. You can always add a few minutes if your cake isn’t fully baked.

How do you know when a cake is done baking?

Use a toothpick or wooden skewer and insert it into the center of your cake. If it comes out clean, then the cake is fully baked and ready to cool on a wire rack.

Can I use applesauce instead of oil in a cake?

Yes, absolutely. We use a combination, so there’s less oil, and therefore fewer calories. You can use just applesauce if you wish, but the texture won’t be as good. 

Does this cake need to be refrigerated?

If you are leaving your cake naked with no frosting, then you can leave it out at room temperature for about three days. If you add our yummy Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, then it needs to go in the fridge. 

What toppings can you add to the top of the cake?

This is the best part about this easy cake recipe! You can easily top it with anything that you’d like! I think it tastes great with frosting, or you can opt to use powdered sugar or even a caramel sauce drizzle instead.

You can also use caramel frosting or even just serve it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Where did I get my inspiration for this recipe?

I found this recipe in my Grandma’s Recipe Ledger – so it’s certainly a vintage recipe and one that’s been in the family recipe archives for generations.

I tried it out, and realized I had created a cake so moist and delicious it was just perfect. 

Yep, that got your attention, didn’t it? It definitely got mine!

So let’s go bake it together, ok? I promise this simple cake recipe is one you’re going to make over and over again.

When you have a cake recipe this good, you have to keep it close!

applesauce bundt cake two slices on white plates one in front of the other with fork on front image

You might also like…

So you like apple desserts?

You’ll be glad to know I have plenty. 

And if you’ve found yourself with an oversupply of apples, why don’t you make them into Freezer Apple Pie Filling – then you’ll always have apple filling ready at hand always. 

Back to desserts – What about some applesauce muffins? Just adapt this Easy Blueberry Muffins Recipe

Frosted with some yummy Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

You might also like our awesome Carrot Cake Recipe or no-bake Apple Pie Lasagna.

There are lots more applesauce cake recipes out there too! Ina Garten, the Pioneer Woman, and Southern Living all have great recipes. Something to think about next time!

Final thoughts

Just the wonderful smells from baking this cake will gather everyone in your home! The rich molasses, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg all blend to give you a moist, dense cake.

This is a perfect cake that is meant to be savored with friends and family, and a delicious cup of coffee.

THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the Pie Lady Bakes community! We’re all about sharing easy-to-make vintage recipes that remind us of the ones our moms and grandmas used to make.

If you haven’t already, you can sign up for my weekly email newsletter using this link. It’s absolutely free, and you’ll never miss out on any of my new recipes.

See you soon!



If you’ve made this delicious Applesauce Cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Be sure to give us a 5 star rating!


slice of applesauce cake on a white plate

Applesauce Cake- A Vintage Recipe

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Judy Kahansky
If you've been looking for a delicious spice cake that looks as good as it tastes you've arrived! A rich moist cake you can bake in a bundt pan, square or as a layer cake, and smother it in creamy cinnamon cream cheese frosting. xo
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Cake Recipes
Cuisine North American
Servings 8
Calories 390 kcal


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 ¾ cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup raisins


  • !Cake
  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Cream butter and sugar
  • Beat in eggs one at a time
  • Stir in molasses – set aside
  • Sift flour with baking powder, salt, and spices
  • Add wheat germ and raisins to the dry mixture
  • Mix the dry mixture into the wet, alternatively with the applesauce
  • Pour into a prepared pan
  • Bake 350F in a 9” square – 55 min
  • 2- 8” round pans – 40 min
  • 1 bundt pan – 55 to 60 minutes
  • !Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 pkg whole fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
  • Combine all ingredients and beat until creamy and stiff
  • Frost your cooled cake and enjoy!



Serving: 1g | Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 359mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 37g

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment, star rating or post your photo on Instagram and tag @pieladybakes

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slice of applesauce cake on a white plate with fork showing some of cake has been eaten topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

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Judy Kahansky is an experienced writer and baker, creating delicious desserts (including pie!) for over 40 years. She loves to take classic and vintage recipes and update them to fit the busy lives of her readers. When not baking, Judy and her husband Mark are passionate golfers, travelers and dog lovers, spending as much time as they can with their sweet pup Millie.