Almost Granny's Spiced Applesauce Cake

My Granny, Iris Winifred, was a strange and wonderful lady.  Funny, strong willed with a talent for survival, she was sometimes difficult but was always the most sociable person I knew.  She could talk the hind legs off a mule, as the old saying goes.  She was made of cast iron, nothing ever made much of a dent in her.  She loved gardening, gossip, feeding birds, good food and smoking!  It got her in the end, but not before she was nearly 90! Yes, my Granny was formidable and her Applesauce Cake was the stuff of dreams!

My Spiced Applesauce Cake isn't a patch on hers.  My cake is positively rustic compared to the multi-layered, Caramel frosted wonder that was Granny's cake.   To add to my shame, I have a confession to make.  I don't actually have Granny's recipe! But I do have a very good Spiced Applesauce Cake recipe that I will share with you.  

Here are the ingredients:

2 cups (250 grams) plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup  (113 grams) butter - room temperature
1 cup (195 grams) light brown sugar*
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs - room temperature
1 1/2 cups  (365 grams) applesauce
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnuts  - toasted and chopped - optional

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Grease and flour an 8 or 9 inch square pan.  

Sift together the spices, baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour.  Set aside while you prepare the wet ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl,  beat together the butter and brown sugar until they are light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well between each addition.  Stir in the vanilla and applesauce.  

Add about a third of the flour/spice mixture.  Stir until the dry ingredients are just combined.  Add a third more, stir to combine and repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.   

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, smoothing it evenly to the edges of the pan.  Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely before frosting with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. 

To make the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting you will need:

5 ounces (142 grams) cream cheese - room temperature
3 Tablespoons butter - room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 2 cups icing sugar

Beat together the butter and cream cheese until they are well combined.  Add the vanilla and cinnamon, beating until they are well distributed through the creamed mixture.  Add one cup of icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.   If the frosting is too soft to spread, add a bit more icing sugar and beat again.   I often put the frosting in the fridge to cool and firm up a bit before spreading it over the cake.  Slice, serve, enjoy! 

My little Spiced Applesauce Cake isn't tall and elegant like Granny's but it is  moist, rich and tastes good.  If your granny has a special recipe don't wait, ask her for a copy NOW.  Better still, get in the kitchen with her and let her teach you how to make it.  Then you can bake that sweet memory and share it with the people you love. 

*If you are using sweetened applesauce you may want to reduce the brown sugar to 3/4 cup.  The one cup measure is for cake made using unsweetened applesauce.  Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge.  


  1. I sure wish my girls could bake with their Aunt Debs! :) They could learn so much from someone who loves the art of making yummy goodies! I looked through some recipes that I have here of your mom's and didn't see anything for Applesauce Cake. I will keep searching.

    1. I wish that too, more than ANYTHING! I've collected lots of wonderful cupcake liners. I have pipping bags and frosting tips and every kind of sprinkle you can imagine! I have lots of cookie cutters and fondant cutters...all sorts of baking goodies! Some of my very happiest childhood memories are of baking with my mom, aunties and friends. That's why I love sharing the old recipes with you. : ) X

      I don't know if Mom would have kept any of Granny's recipes but it would we wonderful if you found some!

    2. Sorry, can't spell.... it would BE wonderful ..not WE wonderful! DOH!

  2. Funny how we are trained to read things...I read BE, not WE! ha

  3. I've never heard of Apple Sauce Cake before but this looks fab...and I bet it tastes great too! I love the sound of that cinnamon cream cheese frosting as well! Lovely...I might have to give this one a go! :-)

    1. This is an old fashioned cake that gets even better after a day or two, if it lasts that long. I hope you give it a try. : )

  4. I'm sure Granny would have been very proud of that little creation! It looks amazing :)
    Janie x

    1. You are too kind! It isn't a pretty cake but it certainly tastes nice and that's what's most important to me. : )

  5. I love the sound of your granny Iris. I too had a formidable grandmother who could be quite fierce but was also so very interesting and entertaining to be around. She taught me about everything from Shakespeare and Henry VIII to knitting and making piccalilli. I miss her everyday. This cake looks so good Debs - will definitely try it.

    1. We are so fortunate to have had those wonderful women in our lives. I am sure they were most influential in moulding us into the people we are today. I'd like to think we are a bit formidable, too. ; )

      I hope you enjoy the cake. It is simple, squidgy and rustic... just the thing for an autumnal afternoon tea break.

      Thanks for stopping by. It was lovely seeing you here!
      Debs X

  6. Thanks for sharing your fabulous recipe on twitter - what a fantastic cake. I will most definitely be making it again ...


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