Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spiced Applesauce Cake

Sometimes I make desserts because I’m in the mood for something sweet. Other times, I bake because we have company coming over. Sometimes I pull out the sweet stuff because I want to try a new technique. And sometimes, sometimes, I make dessert for love.

Not to get all mushy on you, but today’s recipe was a love cake. Stan started back in school this week (he’s getting his MBA at night), and I wanted him to have some fresh baked, sugary goodness when he got home from class. Hence this cake. It’s simple. It’s pretty. It’s moist and lightly spiced. And it’s topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. This cake is pretty much perfect for impromptu weeknight baking. It also is a lovely and delicious way to show someone you love him or her.

One Year Ago: Cranberry Orange Nut Bread

Spiced Applesauce Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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

For the Frosting:
5 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 T. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch square cake pan with cooking spray. Set it aside. (You can also butter the pan and line it with parchment paper.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat together the butter and brown sugar at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. (I used a medium-high speed.)

Add the applesauce and mix well to combine. (I used a medium-high speed.)

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. (The batter will look curdled. Don’t worry, it will turn out great!) Stir in the walnuts, if using.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes then transfer the cake to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:
Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at high speed until light and fluffy. Sift the confectioners sugar and cinnamon over the cream cheese mixture. Beat the frosting at medium speed until it is well combined.

Spread over the cooled cake.

Note: This cake will keep for several days, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.


  1. This looks so good! I'm definitely going to have to try it soon!

  2. Transplant - I hope you like it. Please let me know how it turns out!



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