Monday, November 14, 2011

Applesauce Cake

Slice of Applesauce Cake Plated
Slice of a Classic

Recipe Inspired by the Boston Cooking School Cookbook

Applesauce cake has been around for years. I remember my grandmother making it back in the 1950s, but it's been baked since the 19th century. I was nostalgic for this classic seasonal recipe, especially since I had a huge amount of homemade applesauce after the apple u-pick a couple weeks back. I began with a recipe from the 1942 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook, but wanted to make it lighter and moister. I borrowed an idea from the 1975 Joy of Cooking, and added an egg. I also used more applesauce, baking soda, and raisins.

Here are more tips for a lighter moister cake:
  • Sift the flour/dry ingredients three times (see recipe)
  • Use only half brown sugar (and half raw granulated sugar) to prevent toughening
  • Make sure raisins are moist, not dried out
  • Use a light-colored metal pan, not a dark metal nonstick pan
  • Don’t overbake! check for doneness according to recipe!

2 Bowls of Ingredients, Cup of Raisins, Spoonula
Wet Ingredients, Dry Ingredients, & Raisins
Note that in modern times applesauce is often substituted for oil in baked goods to reduce fat and calories while adding fiber. So as cakes go, this one is relatively light. If prepared correctly, it’s moist enough to be served without frosting, a further reduction of sugar and fat compared with other cakes.  It's great for potlucks where there will be quantities of richer foods. Raisins give the cake a natural sweetness, so you could try to reduce the brown sugar if you’re an experimental baker.

I have used the traditional clove spicing (along with traditional cinnamon), but allspice would be a milder alternative.

Classic Applesauce Cake, Perfect for Potlucks
Applesauce Cake

½ cup butter
½ cup raw sugar (evaporated cane juice)
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 ½ cups applesauce
2 cups flour
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves (or allspice)
1 ½ cups raisins
Confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a tube cake pan.

Cream butter in a large bowl. Cream in raw sugar (evaporated cane juice), then cream in brown sugar. Beat in egg. Stir in applesauce.

Sift flour before measuring. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.

Sift dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir carefully till uniform. Don’t overmix. The batter will be rather thick. Fold in raisins.

Applesauce Cake Batter in Tube Pan
Applesauce Cake Ready to Bake
Pour batter into pan, using spatula or spoonula to scrape mixing bowl. Cake will be done in about 50 minutes, but test it earlier to avoid overcooking. Bake for 40 minutes and test—if toothpick comes out clean when stuck in center of cake, it is done.  If batter sticks to toothpick, cook for 5 minutes and test again. Continue baking and testing at 5-minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack. Cool about 15 – 20 minutes, then run knife around edge and invert pan onto cooling rack, popping cake out of pan.

For best results, let cool completely. If you slice while warm, cake will crumble (but still taste good). Use a serrated knife to cut.

If desired, you can decorate the cake with sugar and cinnamon topping. Use about 1 tbsp. confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and ¼ tsp. cinnamon. Stir together and sprinkle through sifter or sieve to top cake lightly and evenly.



  1. Robin - I just love that you also have a food blog! The step-by-step pictures are great!

  2. Thanks, Claudia, it's great to reconnect with you...and I love it that you have a food blog too, who would have imagined that when we met years ago in the sculpture world!