Cakes

One Bowl Applesauce Cake Recipe

4.38 from 40 votes
Moist, fluffy, and lightly spiced, my Applesauce Cake recipe is simple yet packed with sweet and warm flavors. And you can make this all in one bowl!
A homemade applesauce cake, baked in a bundt pan, is served on a silver tray. The cake has been sliced into, displaying bits of walnuts inside.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: My homemade Applesauce Cake recipe yields a soft, moist, and utterly delicious dessert, overflowing with applesauce and warm spices and topped with just a touch of powdered sugarPlus, it’s a dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan recipe! 

Are you a fan of fruity cakes and have some applesauce on hand? Well, you’re in luck because I’ve created a simple yet absolutely tasty Applesauce Cake recipe that’ll satisfy your fruity cake needs — and it can be made in just one bowl! 

My One Bowl Applesauce Cake with walnuts is the epitome of a moist cake. It has a lovely soft texture from my Homemade Applesauce, and a warm autumnal spice flavor, making for a comforting dessert. A touch of cocoa powder adds depth of flavor and a beautiful color without adding an overpowering chocolate flavor. Chocolate isn’t a typical ingredient in traditional Applesauce Cake recipes, but it adds a bigger and bolder twist to a classic recipe.

You can even make this to-go using my Incredibly Moist Applesauce Muffins recipe. Serve this decadent Applesauce Cake alongside your favorite tea or a cup of coffee for the ultimate cozy treat!

Homemade applesauce cake, filled with walnuts, and dusted with powdered sugar.

Table Of Contents

What Is Applesauce Cake?

Just as the name suggests, Applesauce Cake is a cake made with applesauce, flour, and sugar. It’s a very moist, spiced cake topped with dusted powdered sugar or whipped cream. I also love to add some toasted walnuts to this cake to mix up the texture of the soft cake.

This delicious cake originated in the New England Colonies of the northeastern United States in the early colonial times. Applesauce Cake recipes were commonly found in American cookbooks between the 1900s and 1950s. It’s a well-loved cake even in 2023, and there’s even a National Applesauce Cake Day that occurs annually on June 6th!

Fun Fact: Did you know applesauce is a great substitute for eggs? Check out my post, 12 Best Egg Substitutes for Baking Recipes & How to Use Them, for more information!

Tools You Need

The ingredients for homemade applesauce cake are presented in separate bowls. They include applesauce, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, all-purpose flour, toasted walnuts, ground ginger, allspice, and cinnamon, and granulated sugar.

Ingredients You Need To Make Applesauce Cake

  • All-purpose flour: The flour will create the foundation for your cake and other dry and wet ingredients.
  • Granulated sugar: Granulated sugar or “white sugar” will give this cake the perfect amount of sweetness in each bite.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is important for a more complex flavor.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda is a chemical leavener that will give your cake some bounce and help it rise.
  • Cinnamon: This spice is highly aromatic and will add a warm, sweet flavor to your cake.
  • Salt: Just a pinch will enhance the flavor of your other ingredients.
  • Ground ginger: Ground ginger has a subtle spice and sweetness that will complement the other spices in your cake.
  • Allspice: A SINGLE spice! Allspice is the dried unripe berry (of Pimenta dioica tree) featuring combined flavors of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. It has a slightly bitter, earthy, and fruity taste.
  • Applesauce: Make sure your applesauce is warmed up before use. Make your own Homemade Applesauce for more baking fun!
  • Vegetable oil: Adding oil will make your cake extra moist.
  • Walnuts: Toast your walnuts before use to bring out the most flavor.
  • Powdered Sugar: Try making your own Powdered Sugar to dust on top of your cake.

How To Make Applesauce Cake

  1. Preheat the oven and butter and flour a bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in the applesauce and oil until blended. Then, fold in the walnuts.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Let rest before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.

The process of making applesauce cake is displayed in a grid of four pictures. First, the flour and cocoa powder is mixed, then the apple sauce is added. The final photo shows the raw cake batter poured into a bundt pan.

How To Toast Walnuts

Walnuts are an essential component of your Applesauce Cake, as it adds texture and a mild nutty flavor. To make sure you can get the best out of your walnuts, make sure to toast them before folding them into your cake batter. 

To toast them, spread your walnuts on a baking sheet at 350℉ (180℃) for about 10 minutes or until dark and fragrant. Let cool before adding to your cake batter.

Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake

For those who prefer a gluten-free version of my Applesauce Cake, substitute the all-purpose flour with an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, oat flour, almond flour, or rice flour. 

Check out my Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Flours for more information on gluten-free flours. If you want an added baking challenge, try making homemade Gluten Free Flour!

Can I Make Applesauce Cake Ahead Of Time?

Applesauce Cake is great to bring to parties, potlucks, and picnics. Good thing you can make it in advance to save some time! To prepare your cake beforehand, simply make the batter as usual and pop it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it off. I recommend baking it within a few hours; however, you can leave your cake batter in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

How To Store

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can store it in the refrigerator if your kitchen is on the warmer side.

You can also freeze this cake for up to 3 months. I suggest slicing them and placing parchment paper in between the slices to make them easier to reheat. Hold off on dusting powdered sugar on your cake if you’re planning on freezing it because the sugar can become gummy once defrosted.

A slice of applesauce cake is served on a pink dish. The cake is brown, colored by cocoa powder, and there are walnuts throughout.

FAQs

What should I use if I don’t have a bundt pan?

Don’t worry if you don’t have a bundt pan — there are other options! This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 9-inch (23cm) round baking dish or square pan. Baking times will be shorter, so test if your cake is done at the 25 to 30-minute mark.

Why is my cake so dense?

If your cake turns out too dense, you may have overmixed your ingredients. Overmixing your ingredients can cause gluten to develop, which creates a very dense texture. To prevent this, mix your dry and wet ingredients until just combined.

How do I know if my cake is done baking?

To test if your cake is done, insert a wooden skewer into the thickest part of the cake. Your skewer should come out clean. Wooden skewers are useful because they aren’t too short like a toothpick and will prevent you from getting burned.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • The warm applesauce will help dissolve the sugar and cocoa powder before baking, so be sure not to skip warming it up.
  • If there are nut allergies, the walnuts can be left out. You can substitute with a different mix-in, like dried fruit.
  • Is your cake browning too quickly? Your oven may be too hot. Cover your cake with aluminum foil and leave it to bake the rest of the time to avoid burning the outside before the inside has finished.
  • Let your cake cool completely before dusting powdered sugar. If you dust the sugar when the cake is still warm, it will most likely melt.
  • The Brown Sugar Glaze from my Pumpkin Bundt Cake recipe would also be an excellent topping on this cake.
  • If you are freezing the leftovers, try slicing them in individual portions first, so you only need to defrost what you want to eat.

Looking For More Fruity Cake Recipes? Check Out:

And don’t miss more everyday baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!

One Bowl Applesauce Cake

4.38 from 40 votes
Moist, fluffy, and lightly spiced, my Applesauce Cake is simple yet packed with sweet and warm flavors. The best part — you can make this all in one bowl!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 people
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Moist, fluffy, and lightly spiced, my Applesauce Cake is simple yet packed with sweet and warm flavors. The best part — you can make this all in one bowl!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (20 oz/568 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (16 oz/450 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 cups (26 ¼ oz/750 g) applesauce, warm
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/240 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (5 oz/142 g) walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C), and butter and flour a 12-cup (2.8 liter) bundt pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and allspice.
  • Stir in the warm applesauce and oil until blended, then fold in the walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on a middle rack in the oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake rest for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Dust with powdered sugar, slice, and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Sefanit Mekonnen
Sefanit Mekonnen
1 year ago

This looks delicious. Could I make it with one cup of sugar only? 2 cups seems like a lot of sugar. Will the consistency hold up?

Melanie K
Melanie K
10 months ago

Hi Gemma. In the recipe for One Bowl Applesauce Cake can you cut the recipe in half & put it in a loaf pan? If so what would be to baking time? This looks delicious & it’s egg free which is fantastic because I’m allergic to eggs. Since this is a household of just two a Bundt pan size cake is just too big. I LOVE your recipes.
Melanie K

Cathie
Cathie
10 months ago

I am allergic to chocolate.By how much should reduce the sugar I If I leave out the cocoa?

Jacque
Jacque
1 year ago

Hi Gemma! I had my daughter-in-law over for dinner tonight. My husband, myself and my d.i.l really enjoyed your One Bowl Applesauce Cake. It to me sort of tasted like a molasses cake if that makes sense. I was curious, there wasn’t any vanilla extract listed. Would it make a difference to add it, or do the spices just overpower the vanilla? I made a powdered sugar icing using heavy cream and vanilla. I had to add some milk because the cream made it too thick, lol. It was really good though. Thank you for another great recipe! 🙂

Jane
1 year ago

Although the cake turned out beautifully, I was disappointed with the flavor. I tasted the batter, and it was delicious so I was excited about the finished product. To me it’s not sweet enough or very flavorful after baking.

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Rita Thomas
Rita Thomas
1 year ago

I made this cake and it was very good. I would like to make it again without the cocoa. Will this affect the texture of this cake??

joanne
joanne
1 year ago

in recipe directions on bottom you left out where to put in 1 cup vegetable oil, i had to go to top of page to read where it goes. I think though for me i will leave it out and just put in a bit extra apple sauce

Ginger
Ginger
1 year ago

Can I use unsweetened applesauce?

Karen williams
Karen williams
1 year ago

Can I use trivia blend in place of sugar. This cake sounds yummy

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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