Post #665 Old Fashioned Applesauce Cake

August 18, 2019 at 2:49 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I had a request to teach someone about old fashioned applesauce cake, and since it’s been a while since I’ve had any, or made any, or did a step-by-step post about making something, it all came together for today’s post.  But, before that fun part, I just gotta tell you all about my tomatoes.  They are coming in thick and furious, as I’ve reported before, but today, I pulled some ripe tomatoes that I bought with my own home-grown and whizzed them in the Ninja and made some super fresh tomato sauce.  It’s in the freezer right now with a little salt and olive oil added in.  We’ve got a guest coming in a couple of weeks who’s addicted to Bloody Mary’s so we might use the tomatoes for that.  We’ll see.  I’m grabbing a handful of cherry tomatoes every day now.  They are my mid morning snack at work.  So many tomatoes.

So, let’s talk applesauce cake.

Applesauce cake, in one form or another, has been around for centuries.  Almost as long as people have been baking, they’ve been making cakes that are sweetened or moistened with fruit, and apples have always been a popular fruit to use.  The first recipes to specifically reference applesauce date back to American colonial times.  The basic formula is applesauce, flour, and sugar.  More is added when the baker wants a tastier, firmer type cake.  During the Depression when many ingredients were not available, various “make-do” cakes sprang up using ingredients that were on hand.  Applesauce cake made a comeback and has never really been out of the public eye since.

The batter for the cake tends to be wet, but a dry version can be made using apple chunks along with the applesauce.  The batter can also be modified to make muffins and donuts.  Most applesauce cakes are made in small square baking dishes, but the one I made today is in a larger sheet cake pan.  I’ve also seen some that are in loaf pans like a banana bread, and in bundt pans or fluted pans.  I’ve even seen some that have been modified into layer cakes and filled with a cream cheese based frosting.  Any of the cakes can be frosted or filled, but I usually sprinkle powdered sugar on mine.  Since they’re already sweet and moist, any additional frosting just adds to that and can be too sweet.  I once saw one that had a sugar crumble on top that was good, but again, very sweet.

So the recipe I generally use is this one:

  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp mace or fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • This recipe also calls for rehydrated raisins, but I stopped using that years ago

Preheat your oven to 300.  In one medium sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, salt, and spices) and whisk together well.

In a large bowl, cream together the Crisco and sugar until light and fluffy.  This will take a little time, but keep at it and it will work.  I start the blender on low, then move up to medium after a couple of minutes.  Then add the egg and vanilla and blend well.

Measure the applesauce into a measuring cup, then measure the water into another measuring cup.  In alternating stages, add the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed sugar.  Follow standard baking protocol for this by starting and ending with dry ingredients.

Once all the ingredients are blended, use a rubber spatula to fold in the walnuts.

Taste the batter at this stage to see if you want to add any other flavors.  The spice blends and nuts can vary based on personal likes and dislikes.  I would not suggest adding chocolate to this cake, but always use cinnamon.  Apples and cinnamon go together like no other flavor combo imaginable.  I use cinnamon and mace (the ground husk of the nutmeg) because the mace flavor is deeper and earthier than nutmeg.  I also think the flavor of walnut and apple do well together too, and it’s one of the few times where I think the nuts are essential to the cake.

This also tends to be a fairly light textured cake in the batter stage.  I could eat the batter all by itself until I’m full.  Throw some oats in there, and you got breakfast!  Prepare a pan, and I use a disposable aluminum sheet cake with a plastic lid.  The primary reason for this is I take cakes to work all the time and I don’t want to worry about keeping an eye on my good pans.  Prepare the pans by spraying with vegetable oil, or spreading shortening on the bottom and sides then sprinkling with flour.  I haven’t floured a pan since I learned about Pam.  When the batter is in the pan, spread it evenly.

Then bake at 300 for 50-70 minutes.  It depends on your oven and the wetness of the batter.  Check at 50 minutes by sticking a wooden toothpick into the center.  If any wet batter sticks to the toothpick, give it another ten minutes and check.  Keep checking at ten minute intervals until the toothpick comes out clean.  The cake should look like this.

And once it’s cooled, and sprinkled with powdered sugar, it should like this.

And once you cut it and eat it, it should look like this.

And it will taste even better.

This is a great cake to take to gatherings since it’s delicious and stays moist for quite a while.  It will impress anyone eating it.

So, I hope you enjoy the cake.  Share pics if you make it, and feel free to share the post far and wide.

As always,


  1. Great! I’m going to make this. Only mistake I saw is the last picture where you say it should look like this and I believe it would more accurate to show just a few crumbs, if any, as it probably tastes so good virtually nothing would be left.

    • I actually did take a picture of the aftermath! I took it to work and it was one of my late days. There was a mon and son in law in the the waiting room waiting for her daughter whose surgery was taking time. I knew they hadn’t had anything to eat in hours so I gave them the last two pieces of the cake. They said they loved it. And all they left were small scrapes on the plates. Either they did love it, or they were hungry. Take care and thanks for writing!

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