Applesauce Spice Cake Recipe

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A moist applesauce cake recipe spiced with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and frosted with cream cheese frosting

This applesauce cake recipe blew me away! Each bite was spiced apple heaven. Combined with cream cheese frosting, and topped with a homemade caramel drip, I didn’t want to stop eating! 

slice of applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting on black plate

Does applesauce cake taste like apples?

When I was first testing out a good applesauce cake recipe, I was confused about whether or not applesauce cake should taste like apples.

The funny thing is, I don’t think you can even tell there are apples in this cake. The cake mostly tastes like spice cake but moister. That’s from the applesauce! 

applesauce cake recipe

So don’t expect this applesauce cake recipe to taste like apples, it just tastes like warm, cozy spice cake! Which isn’t a bad thing! 

Why use applesauce in baking?

Applesauce can be added to your cake as a 1:1 replacement for oil or melted butter. This reduces the total amount of fat and calories in your recipe if you want a healthier version of your cake without losing moisture.

applesauce in glass jar with apples behind it

You can also replace some of your eggs using applesauce. Use a quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of one egg. I actually reduced the number of eggs in this recipe because of the added applesauce. 

Can you use store-bought applesauce or should I make it fresh?

You can use either homemade or store-bought applesauce. Sugar-free is preferred so that you can control the sweetness of your cake.

When I was growing up, we made applesauce every year and canned it. Man, I really wish I had some of that applesauce for this recipe right about now!

How to use applesauce in your cake recipes

How to make an applesauce layer cake

Never made a cake before? Watch my “How to make your first cake” tutorial which covers everything from baking, frosting, filling and getting smooth edges. 

Applesauce cake frosted with cream cheese frosting and a caramel sauce drip

After baking your cake layers, you want to let them cool. I let mine cool in the pan for about 15 minutes then I flip them out onto a cooling rack to cool further. 

Once my cakes are barely warm, I wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for about an hour so that I can trim the cakes and fill them right away. 

When I’m making my vanilla cake or other lighter colored cakes, I will trim off the dome and the brown edges but obviously, for this kind of cake, you don’t have to do that. Just trim off the dome to make your layers flat before filling them with your frosting. 

frosting an applesauce cake

My cake is filled and frosted with cream cheese frosting but brown butter buttercream would also taste amazing!

crumb coat applesauce cake

I decided to just go super simple with the cake design and just do a nice smooth layer of cream cheese frosting and do a caramel sauce drip

I had some leftover caramel in my fridge so I just warmed it up a bit (not hot!) and put it into a plastic bottle to pipe my drips. 

Then I topped the cake with some super simple dollops of buttercream using a Wilton tip #32 but you can use whatever tip you like!

applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting and caramel drip

This applesauce cake was a HUGE hit in our house! Every last bite was devoured! The cake is moist and perfectly balanced by the tang of the cream cheese frosting!

Can you use this applesauce cake recipe for stacked cakes?

You can definitely use this applesauce cake recipe for stacked cakes. It has a nice firm crumb that is strong enough to hold up under buttercream and fondant. 

I love how fine and tender the crumb was! Tell me this doesn’t make your mouth water!

applesauce cake with cream cheese frosting


Applesauce Spice Cake

A delicious spice cake made with applesauce so it's super moist! Frosted with cream cheese frosting! This recipe makes enough batter for three 6"x2" cake rounds or two 8"x2" cake rounds.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, beer cake, caramel, cream cheese frosting, spice
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 244 kcal
Author Elizabeth Marek


Applesauce Cake Ingredients

  • 4 oz unsalted butter softened
  • 10 oz granulated sugar
  • 3 oz oil
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 10 oz cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 oz applesauce unsweetened
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese softened
  • 8 oz unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 36 oz powdered sugar


Applesauce Cake Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F/176º C. Prepare your pans with cake goop or another preferred pan release.

  2. Sift together your flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth with the whisk attachment.

  4. Sprinkle in sugar and whip on high until white and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add in your oil and whip another minute.

  5. Switch to the paddle attachment. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

  6. Add the flour mixture and mix until it is just incorporated, do not over mix!

  7. Finally, add in your applesauce and mix until everything is combined.

  8. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake cakes until they feel firm in the center and a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs on it, about 25-35 minutes.

Cream cheese frosting instructions

  1. Place softened butter in the bowl of your stand mixer with whisk attachment and cream on low until smooth. Or you can use a hand mixer!

  2. Place softened cream cheese in the bowl with butter in small chunks and blend on low until smooth and combined

  3. Add your orange extract and salt. Add in sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until combined

Nutrition Facts
Applesauce Spice Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 244 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 34mg11%
Sodium 209mg9%
Potassium 26mg1%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 264IU5%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Kelsey Prevost