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This easy applesauce cake recipe is another delicious way to enjoy apples this fall. It’s the easiest applesauce cake because you only need one bowl to make it. With so many variations to fit any dietary needs, I’m sure this applesauce cake is going to be on your favorite baked goods list.
Apples are not only delicious but also highly nutritious. But we can’t keep fresh apples forever, that’s why I love making applesauce and storing it in mason jars to have all year round. If you’re wondering how long applesauce lasts, how to store it, does it go bad, etc., check out this detailed article on apple sauce.
Of course, you can use store-bought applesauce to make this easy applesauce cake from scratch. With all that applesauce, you bet this cake is moist, fruity, full of spices, and oh-so-fluffy. Make your applesauce cake into a beautiful dessert with this delectable mascarpone frosting on top. It only takes 5 minutes to make! Are you ready?
Make sure not to overbeat the cream or it can get grainy. If this happens, add very cold heavy cream in tiny amounts while letting the mixer run on low speed until the frosting becomes smooth.
Use the frosting immediately to ice the cooled-down apple cake or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
For the easy applesauce cake:
- 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 Tbsp. neutral-flavored oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. ginger powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. cloves powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Optional: 1/3 cup raisins or currants
- Optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
For the mascarpone icing (Optional)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream cold
- 4.5 oz mascarpone cheese cold
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Optional: ½ tsp. almond extract
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
For the easy applesauce cake:
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray or butter an 8-inch round baking pan with cooking spray or butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine apple sauce, oil, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract, and whisk together until smooth. Add cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, and salt, and whisk until combined.
- Add flour and mix only until all the flour is incorporated. Fold in raisins and walnuts if using.
- Using a spatula to get all the batter, transfer it to the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool completely if you’re icing it. If not, let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
For the mascarpone icing:
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or use an electric hand whisk and a large deep bowl. Beat the heavy cream, cold mascarpone cheese, sifted confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and optional almond extract on high speed for about 5 minutes until thick and firm.
- Make sure not to overbeat the cream or it can get grainy. If this happens, add very cold heavy cream in tiny amounts while letting the mixer run on low speed until the frosting becomes smooth.
- Use the frosting immediately to ice the cooled-down apple cake or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Notes & Tips
- For a firmer frosting, use equal amounts of heavy whipping cream and mascarpone. The ingredients have to be cold for the best results. You can also place the mixer bowl and whisk in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before making the icing.
- If you want less sweet icing, reduce the amount of sugar. The cake itself is not overly sweet so I like the contrast of the mascarpone frosting.
- You can also make this simple applesauce cake recipe in a square pan. The right size would be an 8×4-inch loaf pan.
- It’s very easy to turn this recipe into applesauce muffins. You can make 8 large muffins or 16 mini muffins. Bake the large ones for about 20 minutes or the mini ones for 10 minutes. Check if they’re done by inserting a toothpick in the center and seeing if it comes out clean.
- The applesauce cake can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature, covered, for 4-5 days. You can also freeze the cake for up to 3 months, but it’s better to freeze it without the icing.
Substitutions & Allergens
This is the best applesauce cake recipe ever because it’s so easy and flexible. Let’s go through the steps on how to tweak the recipe for each dietary preference.
To make this applesauce cake recipe without eggs, substitute the egg for 2 tablespoons of milk or unsweetened vegan milk and 2 teaspoons of white or apple cider vinegar. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda while baking and releases carbon dioxide. This helps the cake rise and results in a fluffy, moist texture.
Replacing the egg already makes this a vegan applesauce cake. Alternatively, you can replace the egg with a vegan egg or a flax egg. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for 5 minutes before adding to the mixing bowl with the rest of the wet ingredients.
If you want to make a gluten-free applesauce cake, simply replace the flour with gluten-free flour mix or certified gluten-free oat flour. You may want to add a few teaspoons of milk to help make the cake moister if using a mix with cornstarch, rice flour, almond flour, or coconut flour.
You can make this easy applesauce cake from scratch without refined sugar as well. Instead, use monk-fruit sugar, unrefined sugar, or a quarter cup of liquid sweetener of choice, or simply omit the sugar and add a ripe smashed banana instead. It will taste a bit like banana in this case, but applesauce and banana make a great combo in my opinion.
To make this applesauce cake oil-free, simply replace the oil with more apple sauce. The apple sauce adds all the moisture the cake needs to be fluffy and fudgy. You can also use cooled-down melted butter instead of oil for a nice buttery flavor.
For a wholesome applesauce cake, use whole-grain flour instead of all-purpose flour. Some good options are oat flour, barley flour, rye flour, or buckwheat flour. I like to use a combination of flours to yield a more neutral flavor.
And of course, I wasn’t going to leave you without some vegan and dairy-free icing options. For a super-simple and delicious vegan frosting using only 3 ingredients, try coconut cream frosting:
- 1 can coconut cream (minimum 30% fat – the top thick white layer of a can of coconut milk)
- ½ cup confectioner’s or powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/8 tsp. salt
Place the coconut cream in the fridge overnight to separate the thick cream layer. Then carefully scoop out the cream, and add it to a whisking bowl with the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and optional salt. Whisk on high speed until firm. If it’s not thick enough, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch or ½ teaspoon of guar gum.
You can also make a delicious buttercream frosting with vegan butter or vegetable shortening. For a healthier version, mix some vegan cream cheese with a little stevia or monk fruit sweetener and spread it on the cooled-down applesauce cake. Enjoy any time of the year!