Applesauce cake is an American staple that never gets old. It's a Colonial dessert that's so revered it even has its own holiday. This cake has come a long way and today's recipe is the simplest way to make it.

Old school vs new school

The origin of Applesauce cake can be traced back as early as the back as the 1900s, springing up from within the New England colonies.

Traditionally, applesauce cakes were made much like regular cakes. However, the batter included not only applesauce but sliced apples as well.

In fact, the recipe could also include other fruit like raisins and dates as well as other foods like nuts and cocoa.

Spices were also included in the applesauce cake such as cinnamon, cardamom, clove and more.

However, for this simple recipe, the sauce and a couple of spices will do just fine. The applesauce cake will be leavened primarily with self-rising flour for more convenience. Also, it only requires dusting with confectionary sugar to finish, though enthusiasts can go wild with frostings and icings if they like.

The recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 ts salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • Confectionary sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 9 x 13 round pan and dust it with flour. Tap out any loose flour and set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, spices and baking powder in a bowl using a fork or a whisk. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and eggs together in a stand mixer set to medium heat. Add the eggs one at a time while beating to incorporate. Add the applesauce.
  4. Switch the stand mixer to low speed and add portions of the flour to the mix gradually with a spoon. Keep mixing until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the finished batter into the pan and place into the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place to cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
  6. Invert the cool pan unto a baking sheet and lift to free the cake, then place a plate on top of the cake and carefully reinvert. Dust the top with the powdered sugar to serve or seal and refrigerate.

Serves: 12


  • Sliced apples - Add 1/2 cup sliced apples to the finished batter.
  • Chopped nuts - Add 1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts to the finished batter.
  • Apple and cardamon - Substitute ground cardamon for the cloves.
  • Chocolate - Substitute four ounces of cocoa powder for the flour used for the batter. Also, substitute it for the confectionary sugar used for dusting or use melted chocolate.
  • Dried fruit - Add 1/2 cup of raisins or craisins to the finished batter.
  • Honey - Substitute honey glaze for the confectionary sugar used for dusting.
  • Cupcakes - Substitute a 12-row cupcake pan filled with liners for the round pan to make some cupcakes instead.