June 6: National Applesauce Spice Cake Day

applesauce spice cake recipe

A rich history for a rich, moist cake.

Applesauce Spice Cake has been a favorite since Colonial times. It has appeared in American cookbooks since 1900, but it was promoted to a patriotic dessert during World War I because everyone had homemade applesauce and it was a cake that could be served plain or made special with some extras you may have on hand.

Celebrate Applesauce Spice Cake Day your way:

  • plain cake dusted with powdered icing sugar
  • plain cake served warm with vanilla ice cream
  • plain cake with dollop of real whipped cream
  • cake with crumble topping
  • cake with browned butter icing
  • serve plain or add walnuts, pecans, and/or raisins

This recipe includes instructions for both the crumble topping and the browned butter icing. Choose one.

Applesauce Spice Cake

The applesauce makes a moist, rich cake. This recipe is flexible – you can add whatever tastes good or that you have on hand.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chunky applesauce
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Crumble Topping

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp butter

Browned Butter Icing

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 cups powdered icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Grease and flour 9″ pan: bundt, square, or spring form

  3. Combine cake ingredients (except nuts) in bowl.

  4. Beat at low speed until all ingredients are moistened. Then beat at high speed until smooth.

  5. Stir in nuts.

  6. Pour into pan. Bake 35 minutes, until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Test center with toothpick for doneness.

  7. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

If you want Crumble Topping

  1. Whisk brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in cold butter to make coarse crumbs.

  2. Sprinkle crumble topping on cake batter before baking.

  3. Bake for 40 minutes.

If you want Browned Butter Icing

  1. Melt 1/3 cup butter over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 4 minutes or until butter starts to turn golden. It will appear foamy and be bubbling. Remove from heat and cool completely.

  2. Combine browned butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in bowl. Beat at medium speed while gradually adding milk until frosting is smooth.

  3. Frost cooled cake. Sprinkle with nuts.

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