Applesauce Spice Cake

Applesauce Spice Cake

When it’s so cold outside that a hot oven is no longer effective in raising the temperature, bake something with spices in it. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg give a sense of comfort and warmth in this recipe for spiced applesauce cake. Served with a hot mug of spiced whatever, preferably heavily spiked with alcohol, it makes winter a bit more tolerable.

I’ve given up on trying to get used to Chicago winters. Coming from a country where the mercury never dips below 60ºF*, cold weather is never agreeable to my tropical-minded self. When I first stepped off the plane (or the boat, if you’re trying to get fresh with me), the first thing I got wasn’t a hug from relatives I haven’t seen in years. The sudden switch from humid to freezing dry climates caused a gushing nosebleed instead. I thought I was going to drop dead.

I should’ve taken massive blood loss as a sign to move south, but in the meantime, I’ll keep baking stuff until the springtime cometh.

*unless you live on a mountaintop

recipe adapted from Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Baking

Applesauce Spice Cake
with Lemon Icing (optional)

makes one 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch cake

Applesauce Spice Cake Icing

For the Applesauce Spice Cake:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
cake flour                    1 1/4 cup           5.6          158
baking powder                   2/3 tsp
baking soda                     1/3 tsp
cinnamon, ground                1/2 tsp
cloves, ground                  1/4 tsp
nutmeg, ground                  1/8 tsp

whole milk                      1/3 cup           2.8           79
applesauce                      1/2 cup + 2 tbsp  5.0          142

unsalted butter                   9 tbsp          4.4          126
brown sugar                     2/3 cup packed    5.6          158
salt                            1/8 tsp

large eggs, lightly beaten        2

For the Lemon Icing (optional):

1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar (3.5 ounces / 100 grams)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot water


  • Have all of the applesauce spice cake ingredients at room temperature before continuing.
  • A bleached low-protein or soft flour is a suitable substitute for cake flour.

Applesauce Spice Cake Instructions:

Preheat Oven    350ºF / 177ºC

Prepare an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan
                Use nonstick spray or softened butter to grease the
                bottom and sides of the loaf pan.

Mix Dry Ingredients
                Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon,
                cloves, and nutmeg in a container with a tight lid.
                Cover and shake until thoroughly mixed.

Mix Wet Ingredients
                In a separate container, mix together the milk and
                applesauce until well-blended.              

Mix (Creaming Method)
                Beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar
                and salt. Cream until light and fluffy.

                Add the eggs a little at a time, mixing to
                incorporation after each addition.

                Alternate between one-third of the spiced flour
                (dry ingredients) and one-half of the
                applesauce-milk mixture (wet ingredients). Mix
                only to incorporation after each addition. Begin
                and end with the dry ingredients.

Pan             Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Place
                the cake pan on a cookie sheet or sheet pan.

Bake            350ºF / 177ºC for 60 to 65 minutes, until the sides
                pull away from the pan and a wooden skewer inserted
                in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool            Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before
                removing from the loaf pan. Cool completely at
                room temperature.

Applesauce Spice Cake Baked
Needs a little dressing up. But not too much.

Ice (optional)  Using a rubber spatula, mix the lemon icing
                ingredients gently until smooth. While the icing is
                still warm, drizzle over the top of the cake. Use a
                squeeze bottle for cleaner lines.
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32 Responses to “Applesauce Spice Cake”

  1. Rosa says:

    A wonderful cake! It must taste really good!



  2. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Oh lemon icing! I really must try this on my next applesauce spice cake.
    Funny how things are warmer with spice.
    Love the icing on this one!!

  3. Lore says:

    Jude I can’t believe you stayed after that “bloody” incident. You’re BRAVE! The cake looks perfect, one slice would be great to kick start the day.

  4. snookydoodle says:

    Hi Jude
    This cake looks nice but I bet the smell of it its amazing. Ha I prefer winter than summer but I have to say that here (Malta) teperature rarely drops below 10 degrees Celcius in winter) so not that cold. Wish I had a slice of that cake with my coffee right now :) Nice recipe

  5. CookiePie says:

    That is one beautiful cake! I bet it warmed up your place. I’d love a slice with some hot tea!

  6. Manggy says:

    Oh, goodness… That’s… discouraging :/ But I’ll fight on! Even through the hypovolemic shock.
    I love the barely dressed-up cake. Very elegant indeed :)

  7. kat says:

    I got the same lovely present moving from San Francisco to Minneapolis

  8. Aparna says:

    I guess I’m lucky to live in a place where its ice-cream eating weather all the year round. :D
    Your finished cake looks very pretty. Just one question. I thought if you used applesauce in baking you could reduce the amount of fat? Am I wrong?

  9. noble pig says:

    I love your icing handiwork! This sounds wonderful.

  10. Joelen says:

    What a great looking cake!

  11. Rachel says:

    That cake looks delicious. I’d take some right now with a little warmed apple cider or hot tea, even though it’s a balmy 75 degrees out. :)

  12. Caitlin says:

    That looks wonderful – just perfect to have with some coffee (spiked with Baileys) while watching the snow fall. Snow which we’ve gotten way too much of already. And Chicago is just so wonderful, despite the cold – I live a couple hours away and never get in there enough for my sanity. Oshkosh just doesn’t have the same sort of culture and arts as Chicago.

  13. Lien says:

    This cake really looks yummy. Apple and spice, just a great combination. Lemon icing is a great choice too!

  14. giz says:

    It’s beautiful Jude – it looks extra special with the topping on it.

  15. Mandy says:

    The spice cake looks wonderful, Jude. Coming from the tropic country, I share your sentiment on cold weather. I can’t imagine how cold it will get in Jan/Feb……

  16. maris says:

    Looks delicious! There are so many great recipes I want to try right now it’s almost overwhelming!

  17. Caroline says:

    I guess after 20 years I’m still a fob (hehe) since I’m still not used to the cold weather, and I’m in CA!
    Your cake looks simply delicious, nice icing job.

  18. Maya says:

    You are right, it is comforting to have some yummy and spicy in the oven when it gets cold outside. The temperature in New York is mild compared to the frozen north, Winnipeg.. Lovely spice cake!

  19. grace says:

    yep, there’s something magical about cinnamon that makes me feel all warm and cozy inside. great cake, and lovely icing-work. :)

  20. Soma says:

    YOur little post made me smile with memories.. While we were in Ohio, we used to visit Chicago pretty often, & remember this absolutley nerve wrecking ice wind on the pier! I could flee to the hotel under the covers and not celebrate new years eve at all!

    BTW, as usual the cake looks good and I love the icing!

  21. Marc @ NoRecipes says:

    I can relate on the cold thing. I thought it would be cool to live in a “pre-war” space with really high ceilings and brick walls, but I didn’t anticipate how cold it would be in winter. Nice job on the cake the icing looks perfect!

  22. Heather says:

    Spice cake and a hot mug o’ hooch? Sounds like a cure for the cold to me. Merry Christmas, Jude!

  23. Marvin says:

    Nice drizzling with that icing, Jude! And whenever I visit the Philippines, a stop in Baguio for a few days is always on the itinerary, if not to just cool off from the rest of the trip.

  24. Peter says:

    Jude, I did not know you’re from R.P! I’m born & raised in Canada and still not used to the winters.

    This latticed cake would warm me in the cold morning…nice work!

  25. noobcook says:

    very pretty and I love the swirl patterns on top =)

  26. jillian says:

    The cake sounds wonderful and the icing looks like the perfect addition!

  27. Charles says:

    Who is doing your photography? They look amazing. I’m a photographer my self. Could you kindly share some setups you do to picture your food?

    BTW I do the website for a restaurant here in MD, USA and have done their food pictures. Can we kindly exchange links?


  28. Tracy says:

    This is so beautifully decorated. Happy Holidays!

  29. Jaime says:

    mmmmm that looks like it would be great for breakfast. the drizzle on top is so pretty :)

  30. PG says:

    a lovely cake! and the lemon icing makes it even better. yummy!

  31. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    Oooh your lattice icing work is simply beautiful! I wish I had that artistic and steady a hand :)

  32. Trisha says:

    I’ve just recently discovered your site, and now I am a fan. :)

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