This applesauce cake is super moist and tender, and needs just one bowl to whip up! No oil, no dairy, and no eggs are needed, but you’d never tell!
Applesauce, to me, is one of life’s magic ingredients. It’s an essential ingredient for healthy baking and is often used to replace butter and oil. It keeps baked goods moist and tender, and cuts down on the sugar needed, thanks to its natural sweetness.
While it can replace fat, like in flourless brownies, it can also be used to amp up some apple flavors, like in oatmeal cookies or quick bread. Our favorite way to use it is in a fabulous cake.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Basic ingredients. This cake uses pantry staples that you probably have in your pantry right now.
- No eggs or dairy. If you follow a vegan or dairy free diet, this cake works well for you.
- Quick and easy. With less than two minutes hands on time, this cake is very much foolproof.
Okay, I know I shouldn’t play favorites but this cake nails the texture. It’s super moist and fluffy in the middle and has a tender crumb. Just like our apple cinnamon muffins and apple bars, you’ll be whipping these up during the apple season.
As we mentioned earlier, this recipe uses basic pantry staples. There are also options to make it completely dairy free/vegan, if you choose to! Here is what you’ll need:
- Flour. Either all purpose flour or whole wheat flour. If you’d like this recipe to also be gluten free, be sure to use gluten free all purpose flour.
- Baking soda and baking powder. Both leavening agents are used to give the cake some rise and fluffiness.
- Cinnamon. A must for any recipe calling for applesauce, AND it is a fabulous Fall flavor.
- Milk of choice. I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk will work.
- Vinegar. Vinegar is used because it curdles when mixed with the milk, and replaces the need for any eggs. I used white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar should be fine too.
- Unsweetened applesauce. Be sure to use applesauce that is 100% unsweetened. There are plenty of brands that have added sugar in them, so double check to be sure.
- Sugar of choice. White sugar, brown sugar, or coconut sugar all works, as do sugar substitutes.
- Butter OR vegan butter. To keep this recipe vegan, I used vegan butter. Be sure to use butter from a block, not a spread, as they contain no added fillers or water. Again, if you follow no specific diet, traditional butter is fine.
- Vanilla frosting. Optional, but I can never say no to frosting! I used a simple cream cheese frosting.
How do you make an applesauce cake?
This recipe is very simple and follows a 2-step process. The hard part is waiting for it to bake but honestly, the ultimate results are worth it!
Step 1- Make the cake batter
Start by mixing your dry ingredients and set that aside. In a separate bowl, add your milk, vinegar, applesauce, sugar, softened butter, and whisk until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes, so the vinegar can thicken the mixture. After 5 minutes, add the dry mixture and mix until combined.
Step 2- Bake the cake
Now, grease two 8-inch cake pans and divide the batter between the two. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out just clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, frost the cake, if desired.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Oven makes and models differ. It took me 20 minutes to bake my cakes completely, but you may need 25-30 minutes. Do the toothpick or skewer test to see.
- You can use homemade applesauce, but be sure it is completely smooth and has a thin texture. If your applesauce is too thick, simply run it through a blender or food processor.
- Add more fall spices into the cake batter, like nutmeg, cloves, and even a touch of ginger.
- If you’d like to make a single layer cake, simply halve the ingredients.
To store: If you don’t frost the cake, you can store the cake at room temperature. Keep it in a sealable container, with a paper towel on top. It will keep for 5 days.
If you’ve frosted your cake, you must store it in the refrigerator. Cover it in plastic, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
To freeze: Leftover slices of cake can be stored in a freezer friendly container and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator.
More easy cake recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditionally, applesauce is used in cakes to replace butter, oil, or any other added fats. It keeps cakes moist and soft in the middle, without impacting the flavor whatsoever.
Depending on the recipe, applesauce CAN be used instead of butter in a cake. You can swap out equal amounts of butter with unsweetened applesauce.
Applesauce can be used in cake mixes to replace eggs, butter, oil, and water (like in a pumpkin cake).
Applesauce Cake | No Eggs, No Butter, No Milk
- 3 cups flour all purpose, wholewheat, or gluten free
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 cups milk I used unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoon vinegar
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups sugar white, brown, coconut, or sugar free subs
- 1 1/3 cups butter softened, dairy free or standard
- 1 cup vanilla frosting or preferred frosting
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray and parchment paper and set them aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, and mix well. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together milk, vinegar, butter, sugar, and the applesauce, until combined and glossy. Let sit for 5 minutes. Combine your wet and dry ingredients.
- Distribute the batter amongst the two baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out just clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, layer the cake by adding frosting between them and on top.
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Anytime you post frosting it kills me – looks too good and I just want to bite into it lol!
I am turning up to your place with a big jar of frosting! 🙂
I don’t like applesauce cups or pre made stuff from the store, but my mom makes the best chunky apple sauce and I can eat it by the gallon! She also packed my lunch everyday in school…except we got to buy on Friday because it was pizza day. Because everyone loved the dense cardboard slice of usually burned or undercooked mass of dough, sauce and fake cheese. Salivating just thinking about that hahaha
Oh nice! You should share the recipe, I’d love to use it in one of my upcoming creations!
I agree with Ellie. I’m not much of a fan of store bought applesauce..no thanks all that added sugar and high fructose corn syrup…but homemade chunky applesauce can be so good! When I was little we had some apple trees randomly in our backyard and come fall, my mom would always make up a batch.
Oh wow- HFCS in applesauce? GEEEEEEEZE!
Yeah..its sad and ridiculous how much hfcs is added to very unnecessarily 🙁
I love me some apple sauce! Robbie better start watching out when he gets to real people food…because Dad is going to be eating all of his apple sauce. Have you seen the apple sauce in those little squeeze packs? (I think they were invented by Persians.) Now what I need is some of this breakfast cake in a squeeze pack. Can you invent that for me? Thanks!
They were DEFINITELY invented by the Persians. Robbie is probably Persian too.
Can you imagine cake in squeeze packs?
I like applesauce…I just don’t eat it on it’s own much since I think it’s pretty boring. LOOOOOVE baking with it though. This cake looks awesome! I love apples, I love cake, and I love breakfast…best of all 3 rolled into one!
That frosting looks amazing! I’m a sucker for anything cinnamon and I’m not so much an applesauce fan either except for putting it in healthy recipes like this one.
Right? That’s the way to go!
I was never much of an applesauce eater, but I love to bake with it now. this breakfast cake looks perfect, especially with the Saigon cinnamon!
🙂 Thanks, Heather!
So glad that baking with applesauce worked for you! I hated applesauce as a kid, but I’ve always wanted to try it in pastries! Baking with pumpkin is my favorite way to sub for butter or oil in a recipe though!
It’s so good, isn’t it! 🙂
I love baking with applesauce, It is so versatile! This cake looks delicious! It’s awesome how you took something you once hated and made something so wonderful!
Right? Thanks so much, Erin!
The frosting looks SO GOOD. I love how you include a paleo option. I have a ton of coconut flour on hand, and I’ve been meaning to use it up.
Oh yes- This works SO well with the paleo option!
I’ve never used as much coconut flour as I do now since I found you XD love this!! Oh yeah about those pumpkin spiced latte bites…Stefan loved them so much he requested another batch 😉 you are the King of healthy desserts Mr. Arman !
😀 Hahahaha your the best, Amy- I’m so glad we connected, your IG account is full of joy and happiness!
I like apple sauce. The chunkier the better. And even more with cinnamon on potato pancakes. You make me think of those way too often lately. I think I need to make them soon.
I’d never associate apple sauce with baby food. Maybe because it’s commonly used in the Bavarian dessert cuisine.
This looks so delicious. Apple, cinnamon and frosting sounds just right 🙂 Sweet tooth on the rise… but when I have finished catching up with blog reading I go to the kitchen and make the lemon poppy seed cake first.
That is another German thing..Applesauce eaten with savory food- My friend back home (whom is Austrian) ate them with something called Blintz or some pancake thing?
gluten free, vegan, dairy free, refined sugar free!! looks veryy tasty. I love how you have given different options to suit everyone taste.
🙂 Thanks, Sarah- That means a ton!
Be my brunch buddy forever???? Also, apple were and have always been my favorite food, but I used to absolutely hate applesauce. I still don’t really eat it plain, unless it’s warmed with some cinnamon. 🙂 But I use it in baking all the time!
YES. Come to Australia. Please.