Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I feel like a hypocrite posting this recipe only several days after demonizing sugar. Let’s get one thing straight: sugar isn’t evil. Only concentrated amounts of it on a regular basis can wreak havoc on your body. So when your parents turn fifty-something and it’s time to celebrate, have a slice of cake (and a scoop of the most luxurious salted caramel ice cream) and don’t feel bad about it. Just don’t eat the whole cake. Share with friends. Banish leftovers to the freezer. Whatever works. This cake is worthy of a special occasion. It’s aromatic and moist. The cinnamon makes the cream cheese frosting unforgettable. And that ice cream… well, you’ll have to wait to hear about it another day!

Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


Spiced Applesauce Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
5 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 8 or 9 inch square cake pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour until just combined, then fold in walnuts.

3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto rack to cool completely.

4. To prepare the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until light and fluffy. Sift powdered sugar and cinnamon over top and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread frosting over cooled cake.

Makes a single-layer 8 or 9 inch square cake.

(Adapted from Gourmet)

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3 Responses to Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Katelyn February 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    This looks really good! Now I have to come up with a reason to make it. 🙂

  2. Bethany B. September 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    This is now my family’s favorite cake recipe! Any thoughts on how it would convert to cupcakes…how many it would make?

    Thank you!

    • Jessie Davis September 4, 2014 at 8:31 am #

      I bet it would make around a dozen cupcakes (depending on how full you fill them)- if you try let us know how it goes!