Apples are a seasonal fall staple in my house, whether I’m turning them into apple pies, baked apples or applesauce. I often serve homemade applesauce as a side to savory fall roasts, but applesauce can be a great ingredient in baking, as well.
This applesauce spice cake is an old-fashioned bundt cake that’s wonderfully simple to make and bursting with plenty of warm fall flavors.
You might not think of applesauce as a baking ingredient, but it’s actually a very good one. Applesauce can be incorporated into the cake in much the same way that mashed bananas would be used in a banana bread recipe.
The applesauce adds both flavor and moisture to the cake, so the finished product is dense, tender and packed with flavor.
Applesauce also doesn’t require the prep time that whole apples do, as it can be used straight out of the container it comes in. I generally used store-bought, unsweetened applesauce for my baking.
When I make homemade applesauce, I tend to eat it all up right away and rarely have any leftover to use in baked goods! That said, if you have homemade applesauce on hand, feel free to use it.
When it comes to store-bought applesauce, I avoid sweetened and flavored applesauce because the additional sugars and spices can throw off the balance of a recipe, especially in a recipe that uses a generous amount of applesauce.
This is the kind of cake that I’ll make many times during the fall because it’s so easy to put together. It feels like the kind of cake that my grandmother would have baked in the fall — even though she tended to bake pies more than bundts.
You can mix up the batter in just one bowl. First, whisk together all the dry ingredients, including the spices. Next, make a well in the flour mixture and add in all the wet ingredients. Starting in the center of the bowl, whisk until the batter becomes uniform and all the ingredients have come together. From start to finish, it should take less than 5 minutes to put this together.
The cake uses a generous amount of applesauce and complements the apple with brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. The spices really bring out the flavor of the apple in the finished cake, so apple pie fans will probably fall in love at first bite.
This cake doesn’t necessarily need frosting — I often finish it with just a dusting of powdered sugar.
That said, this cinnamon-spiked glaze really dresses up the cake and highlights the spices. The glaze, like the cake recipe, can be whisked up in just one bowl. It is has a strong cinnamon flavor and complements the cake very well.
If you like a thinner frosting that will cover the sides of the cake, you can thin the glaze by adding a little extra milk.
Old-fashioned applesauce cake recipe
For the cake:
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the cinnamon glaze:
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and spices. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in applesauce, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
Whisk, starting at the center of the bowl, until the batter comes together and is uniform. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Prepare glaze by whisking all glaze ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over top of the cooled cake.