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Applesauce Cake

4.96 from 785 votes

This soft and super moist applesauce cake is packed with wholesome ingredients and a delicious classic apple flavor your whole family will love.

Applesauce Cake Recipe

If you’ve been on a search for the best homemade applesauce cake recipe around, this one won’t let you down!

Light and fluffy, with just 9 ingredients (yes, really), it’s everything you could ever hope for in a healthy Fall dessert.

The cake is easy to make and kid friendly, with no eggs or dairy required, and it can even be oil free. This is a really great way to use up extra applesauce.

Also try this popular Crustless Pumpkin Pie

Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake

The first time I ever tried an applesauce cake was one November night back in high school, at a friend’s sleepover birthday party.

Trying to be healthier, she had substituted the oil in a boxed spice cake mix with applesauce.

Not normally a fan of low fat cakes or baked goods, I remember being so impressed with how moist and tender the cake was even without added fat.

Over the years, I’ve come up with my own old fashioned applesauce cake that doesn’t rely on a box (because from scratch always tastes better).

It envelops the entire kitchen in a sweet cinnamon aroma as you’re baking and makes you want to cozy up next to a warm fireplace, fork in hand.

Apple Cake Mix

How to make an applesauce cake

To make the cake, start by gathering the ingredients and greasing an 8-inch baking pan or lining it with parchment paper.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk all liquid ingredients, then stir in remaining ingredients to form a batter.

Smooth the batter into the prepared baking pan, and place on the oven’s center rack to cook for 18 minutes or until perfectly fluffy. Let cool.

Frost as desired, and serve. If you can wait, the cake is even sweeter and better textured a day after it’s made.

I recommend refrigerating leftovers for freshness, and they should be good for about 3-4 days. Or slice and freeze for up to a month.

Oil Free Applesauce Cake

Apple cake frosting options

The apple spice cake can be dusted with powdered sugar or iced with a basic glaze or with melted coconut butter.

You can also top it with Coconut Whipped Cream, store bought vanilla frosting, dairy free ice cream, or the homemade cream cheese frosting recipe below:

Simply whip together 8 oz packaged or homemade cream cheese or Vegan Cream Cheese with 4 oz butter or vegan butter, 2 cups powdered sugar (unrefined if desired), and 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.

Different Types Of Apples

Applesauce snack cake ingredients

For the applesauce: Either sweetened or natural unsweetened applesauce works. And if you wish to use homemade applesauce, that works too!

For the flour: I’ve successfully made the recipe with spelt flour (for a whole grain option), regular all purpose flour, or oat flour for a gluten free cake. In general, I’m not a fan of baked goods with whole wheat flour, so sub that at your own risk.

If you prefer a flourless cake, try either this Keto Birthday Cake or my Almond Flour Banana Bread.

For the sweetener: I used unrefined coconut sugar for the cake in the photos, but regular white or brown sugar or unrefined cane sugar also work. Granulated erythritol or xylitol are most likely fine to use as well, although I haven’t tried them here.

Above, watch the applesauce cake recipe video

Healthy Applesauce Snack Cake Recipe

The recipe was adapted from this Vegan Cake and from my Apple Bread.

Pin it now to save for laterPin Recipe

Applesauce Cake

This soft and super moist applesauce cake is packed with a delicious classic apple flavor your whole family will love.
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Yield 9 slices
5 from 785 votes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp oil or additional applesauce
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp white or cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups white, spelt, or oat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, unrefined if desired
  • 3/4 tsp each: salt, baking powder, and baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, and optional 1/4 tsp allspice
  • optional 1/2 cup raisins, chopped walnuts, or shredded coconut

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk liquid ingredients, then add all remaining ingredients to form a batter. Smooth into a greased or lined 8-inch pan. Bake 18 minutes on the oven's center rack. Let cool, then frost as desired. The cake will taste even sweeter the next day!
    View Nutrition Facts

Notes

Leftover applesauce? Make these popular Applesauce Muffins.
 

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Published on September 26, 2021

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114 Comments

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  1. Mandy says

    5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! I saw it when you posted to YouTube last night and went and made it this morning. I did use the oil so next time (and there WILL be a next time) I can do the oil free version and compare 🙂

    • Barbara says

      Hey Elle, she’s talking about organic sugar like Florida Crystals which you can find in most stores now. It’s amber in color and has not had the minerals removed.

    • Talia says

      5 stars
      Made it for Thanksgiving and it was soft and moist. People liked it even more than some of the unhealthy high calorie desserts!

  2. Judy Field says

    I’d love to try this recipe this week, but wondered if you can suggest a frosting that isn’t too sugary sweet. Thanks in advance.

  3. Nina says

    5 stars
    Thanks for the fabulous recipe. Do you have metric conversions? Have you got a recipe for a healthy icing (not butter or coconut oil) I could top the cake with. Many thanks, stay safe….

    • CCK Media Team says

      Hi! Frosting options are listed above the recipe box so hopefully you can find something that sounds good to you there. Or Katie has a basic glaze recipe in this post that doesn’t use oil or butter: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/easy-cinnamon-rolls-recipe/

      We don’t have metric conversions for this one, so the best thing to do is just look on the nutrition labels for the ingredients you’re using 🙂

  4. Lynn Hutchinson says

    5 stars
    The applesauce cake is awesome and so easy to make, it didn’t last long in my home. Thank you for sharing.

    • Debbie Horton says

      Hi. Can this recipe be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan? My grandson wants apple cake for his birthday and I need to make it for about 30 people. So I’ll make 2 or 3. I was also going to use 1 to1 Gluten Free flour and frost it with cinnamon buttercream frosting. Do you think that’ll work?

      • CCK Media Team says

        Cinnamon buttercream sounds amazing! It can definitely be doubled. We’ve had good results with Bob’s gf in terms of gluten free.

  5. Aimee says

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe! We followed the recipe to a t and topped ours with a vegan cream cheese frosting made with miyokos cream cheese, earth balance butter, and powdered sugar. It was bakery level good! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  6. Mina says

    5 stars
    Absolutely wonderful! Moist, flavorful, and leftovers are going to be great for breakfast without feeling unhealthy. With just a little powdered sugar and sliced strawberries on top. Next time I might add some crushed walnuts to the batter.

  7. Elle says

    I had high hopes for this cake but was very disappointed. I made the recipe as written using the oat flour option. It came out like a dense flavorless sponge. Thankfully I had some maple butter on hand to make it palatable. CCK’s recipes are very hit or miss, and this one was unfortunately a miss.

    • CCK Media Team says

      Hi Elle, what other specific ingredients did you use? Sweetener, oil, etc. And do you live at a high elevation? Is your oven calibrated? There are already other successful reviews so it definitely doesn’t have a typo, but we’d love to help troubleshoot what you did. We just can’t try to guess without more information. Not sure if you’ve ever baked with oat flour before, but it will always be denser than spelt or white flour so it might just be that you’re not personally a fan of oat flour baked goods in general, which is completely ok.

      • Elle says

        To close the loop on this: I used the oil-free option with the oat flour option, otherwise followed the recipe exactly (and my oven temp/timing also followed the recipe; I live at sea level). If I had to guess, the oil-free option + oat flour permutation probably made the cake too dense. I’m glad others had success with it though and might recommend others use the other type of flour for a more cake-like texture.

        • Kay says

          I’ve used 1/3 of each (1/2cup each) of almond flour, oat, and Bob’s 1-1. I believe this makes it fluffier.

    • Diane says

      5 stars
      I made mine with oat flour too and it was delicious. Five members of my family also loved it. It sounds like the commenter above probably measured something wrong.
      We will be making this recipe again!

  8. Maureen says

    5 stars
    This was great with a cup of coffee. I sprinkled powdered sugar on top (just a little) but otherwise it didn’t need any frosting.

  9. Sharon says

    5 stars
    Hey Kate, thanks for this cake recipe. It turned out just as good as I hoped and looked like the pictures, which is rare in my experiences with blog recipes in general.

  10. Allison says

    5 stars
    Fabulous guilt-free cake recipe! It has such a nice texture and the flavor of spice cake without having that “fake” taste of boxed versions. I used spelt flour rather than oat, and added one extra TBSP of applesauce to replace one TBSP of the oil. It needed an extra five minutes to bake, but came out perfect. I cut my cake into squares and froze them individually wrapped so I can have cake anytime. I just stir up a little bit of icing with powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk when I’m ready to eat a slice. This recipe is definitely a keeper and so easy to make. Thank you!

  11. cristin baum says

    Just wanting to double check …. bake for only 15 minutes?? Super excited to try this recipe; but brought mine out of the oven to find it more underbaked rather than super moist!

  12. Katie says

    5 stars
    Can I use a milk alternative instead of the water? Maybe I’m crazy, but I always feel like using water takes away an opportunity for flavor.

    • CCK Media Team says

      Hi! Sorry we have never tried it. In general, we find that recipes made with milk instead of water are a bit denser and more gummy in texture, but otherwise yes it should be fine to use as long as you don’t mind that 🙂

  13. Jaime says

    5 stars
    Love this! I use pumpkin instead of applesauce and it’s so delicious with some lightly sweetened cream cheese on top. I do bake it for around 20 minutes, not 15.

  14. Phala Bowles says

    Miyokoskitchen
    💯 the best (butter) hands down.

    Treelinecheese
    plain (cream cheese) the best I have found so far.

    This recipe is great when using the allspice I found just the cinnamon is not enough and the cake had very little taste. I added nutmeg with the cinnamon which was nice but if you want a stronger spice cake use the allspice or pumpkin pie spice works as well.

  15. Ellen says

    5 stars
    Wonderful! Made it for Christmas Eve breakfast for the family (I made the cake a day ahead of time so I didn’t have to cook this morning.) No one knew it was healthy and everyone loved it. Of course they did, it’s cake for breakfast 🙂

  16. Julie says

    5 stars
    I used King’s All Purpose flour and the extra applesauce instead of oil. Cake was a bit undercooked at time/temp recommended, but made for a moist, thick, pudding-like consistency (which I was happy with). Interestingly, I made a version of your Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting and liked the caramel-y results: used the 1 1/2 cup cashews, 1/4 almond milk, 1 cup of coconut sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, and – because it was all I had – 1/4 cup Nutiva Coconut Shortening. Definitely brown in color and like a thick caramel icing. It ROCKED! Thank you, Katie 🙂

  17. Kim says

    5 stars
    Very nice flavor, but definitely missing an egg to bind everything together. Used oat flour. I would add an egg next time.

  18. Ilana G. in Massachusetts says

    5 stars
    This cake is yummy and very easy to make! I added extra spices, subbed peanut butter for the oil/extra applesauce for a little more protein, and added toasted pumpkin seeds along with some raisins and walnuts to boost the protein even more. It turned out great. Thanks, Katie!

  19. Hill says

    5 stars
    Cake had great texture, but was bland. Needs a lot more seasoning / spices and maybe more apple sauce. It’s not especially sweet, but that’s a plus.

  20. Nina says

    5 stars
    Fab recipe… do you make your own apple sauce? Do I add anything to the apples ie., water, sugar. I wondered what type of apple to make it with (UK) any suggestions gratefully received. Is there a metric conversion button anywhere? I am not sure if I am missing it or if there is no conversion button on this recipe. Thanks

    • CCK Media Team says

      It’s so strange that applesauce isn’t widely available in the UK, because it’s everywhere in the US! What about apple baby food perhaps? There’s no conversion button on the recipe, as unfortunately we have found online conversion buttons that change serving size or from cups to grams to not always yield accurate results and we wouldn’t want anyone going with the inaccurate auto generated results.

  21. Liz says

    5 stars
    Saw this on facebook yesterday when a friend shared your recipe and I had all the ingredients. It was even better than I expected and needed no frosting.

  22. dunata says

    5 stars
    This recipe is awesome! I used no oil and checked multiple times to make sure there were no eggs. I used monkfruit instead of sugar. I am shocked how moist and tasty this is! I made a protein frosting and this will definitely be made again.

  23. Jessica R says

    5 stars
    Hands down my favorite thing to make for the weekends! My husband and I have it with our morning tea and it hits the spot every time!
    Also tastes amazing with chocolate chips!!

  24. Chava-Shoshannah says

    5 stars
    Very simple recipe with no special ingredients. I’ve made 3 of these in the last two days. Seriously, I want to eat this cake every day!

  25. Sadie says

    5 stars
    Delicious!!! I put in an egg, just to be sure it would hold its structure and lift up a bit more, so I added an extra 1/2 cup of flour. All oat flour and it tastes very nice!! Not as pungent of an apple flavour, but I noticed after adding a layer of cinnamon vanilla icing on top, it complemented the apple taste divinely!!
    Highly recommend☺️☺️

  26. Rachna says

    Hi! Planning to try this recipe. However recently shifted to a high elevation area( 1,795 metres/5,889 ft). Csn you please suggest what changes I need to make for this.
    Thank you

    • CCK Media Team says

      Hi! Hopefully there are friends, neighbors, or local online discussion groups you might find more helpful than us, because we have no experience at all with high altitude baking. Might be a good excuse for us to take a trip sometime 🙂

  27. Ingrid says

    5 stars
    I read through the reviews and was intrigued. I made this cake using home made applesauce, and based on the reviews instead of just using additional apple sauce instead of oil, I used: 1 Tblsp olive oil, 1 Tblsp organic peanut butter & 1 Tbls apple sauce. I also doubled the cinnamon and allspice and added 1/4 tsp of ground ginger.
    For the flour: I used a combination of oat flour, einkorn flour and all purpose – in equal amounts.
    Results: Pretty good. It needed more baking time – 25mins @350 (sea level) and turned out moist – if I had taken it out at 18mins, it would have been under cooked. Next time, I’ll try with spelt flour which has a milder taste than the einkorn.
    Happy to find a recipe that uses so little processed sweetener and fats. A great base to play around with and see what works best!

  28. Olivia says

    5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe!

    Made with an extra 3 TBS of applesauce and 1 TBS olive oil, omitted the sugar entirely, baked for 22 minutes and served to my son for his first birthday smash cake. Super soft and fluffy. Delicious left overs and maybe even better the next day for coffee. Thanks!

    • CCK Media Team says

      Hi! Hopefully there are friends, neighbors, or local online discussion groups you might find more helpful than us, because we have no experience at all with high altitude baking other than knowing it can require changes in baked good recipes. Might be a good excuse for us to take a trip sometime 🙂

      • Rachna says

        5 stars
        Hi! Tried and it came out really good. Here are the changes I made for high altitude, hoping it might help somebody. Increase flour by 2tbspn. Reduce b soda & pwdr by abt 1/8 tsp. Baked at 190-200C.

    • CCK Media Team says

      Hi! We have not tried this particular cake with a gluten free flour blend (only with oat flour as the gf option). But in general, we have good luck with Bob’s gluten free all purpose mix in baking so hopefully something like that can work here too!

  29. Erica says

    5 stars
    Actually followed the recipe. Made it with oat flour; was totally OK !!! Finding a low sugar baked cake is fabulous.

  30. Katie says

    5 stars
    Not enough apple flavor to me. Toying with the idea of replacing the water with apple cider, or chopping up some freeze dried apple pieces to put in it next time. I did oat flour and it did have a good texture!

  31. Bret Rice says

    5 stars
    I was getting ready to make this as a cake for our county fair in a few weeks just to see if I could make a cake. Well, I saw my bread pans and had a senior moment and made it into a quick bread (with cranberries). Oh well, now it’s an Apple bread…lol It’s delicious and my wife even likes it. I might try to make it as a cake also minus the cranberries.

  32. MG says

    Wow ! This cake was amazing. It reminded me of bread pudding actually.

    I added part brown sugar/white sugar and chopped apples into the cake.

    Thanks !

  33. Karen says

    5 stars
    My family loved this applesauce cake recipe. We didn’t find that it needed any topping but my daughter added Reddi Wip whipped cream to her slice.

  34. Margaret Arpero says

    My friend has MS looking for a receive with no butter,oil,sugar..what can I substitute for oil,butter and sugar on the apple cake?

  35. Kait says

    5 stars
    Made this and devouring it! Doesn’t even need frosting but I ended up making a coconut oil + almond milk frosting. 1 cup coconut oil and 1/4th cup almond milk with just a little powdered sugar, not a lot. It’s sweet enough and satiates that sweet tooth. I can’t eat eggs and this has been the perfect fall treat! Yum!!!

    • Chardonay says

      Thank you for this I was just thinking about what to put on top as a frosting. I am new to seeing this recipe. I’m excited to try !

  36. A Cahill says

    5 stars
    XYLITOL should never be used in households that have animals in it. This substance KILLS!!!!! Dogs within hours as in 2 hours.
    Please be sure to share this also when suggesting XYLITOL.
    Thank you

  37. C. Friedrichsen says

    5 stars
    So easy and delicious. Served with powdered sugar on top. Had a bunch of applesauce leftover from the holidays and this was a great way to use it up!

  38. Joanne Howlett says

    5 stars
    So quick to make, and light and fluffy. I used 1/2 PC GF flour & 1/2 oat flour. Added walnuts, raisins,& allspice. Only used 2 tbsp oil and a tbsp more applesauce. Love the low sugar and fat & I love how so many of your recipes will work with oat flour, it’s great since I have to eat GF.
    Thanks Joanne

  39. nancy says

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and the grandkids loved it too! We added chopped apple compote to our applesauce cake after baking and whipped cream.

  40. IFL says

    5 stars
    Instead of 1/2 apple sauce and 1/2c water, could I use more apple sauce to make it more apple-y? (maybe 3/4c apple sauce and 1/4c water)

  41. Sherri says

    5 stars
    Made this for my husband. I did not put a frosting on. We are sugar free so I used monk fruit sweetner. He loves it.

  42. C says

    5 stars
    Super easy. Delicious quick and moist. Easy week night sweet treat.

    I accidentally bought a giant thing of applesauce and needed to use it up before it went bad. Looked up recipes and happily this worked! That extra apple sauce is as good as gone!

  43. Laura C says

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday for my husband who has been trying to knock some pounds off. It was delicious and so easy to make. I did not frost it…it didn’t need it. I highly recommend this cake.

  44. Hannah says

    5 stars
    This applesauce cake was moist and delicious. Healthy at the same time? We could not believe it! Very high stars from our family!

  45. Gary Nicholls says

    5 stars
    I made this x4 and it turned out great.i added extra sugar a sultanas cos I like things sweet but 5 star thankyou .

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