Table of Contents
  1. A little applesauce cake history...
  2. Watch how to make this cake:
  3. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  4. Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting Recipe

If you’ve been a blog reader of mine for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I love nostalgic recipes. I must be a 90-year-old in a younger body because I crave the recipes found in old church cookbooks and passed down from family member to family member. I find these recipes not only tried and true but easy!

Nowadays, so many people want recipes that are over the top. However, old recipes – while sometimes not the most exciting – have been used and tested over the years, perfected by home cooks just like me. Often, they’re utilitarian and use what most people have on hand in their pantry.

A little applesauce cake history…

An applesauce cake was a staple in its time. Families used to can or freeze applesauce from the bounty of their apples, whether purchased from the store or grown on their own property. They always made sure to never let any go to waste, knowing that during the winter months, the produce would be used. And when it’s winter with plenty of applesauce in the pantry, what else do you do than invent an applesauce cake?!

Top down view of applesauce cake with caramel frosting on a piece of parchment sitting on wood board with basket of red and yellow apples and chopped walnuts on a gray slate surface

Personally, I love the texture and moisture in this applesauce cake. With cinnamon and nutmeg, this cake is packed full of autumnal flavor. When baked, the edges of the cake naturally get a bit of a crust while the inside stays perfectly tender.

And while it may not be what traditionally would’ve been made in years past, I like to top mine with a quick caramel frosting. For me, it’s a play on the idea of dipping apple slices in caramel sauce – and boy, is it a tasty combo!

Piece of applesauce cake with caramel frosting being held on fork with rest of piece on flowered plate in background with wood board and gray slate surface in background

If you’re feeling like you want to drive home the idea of fall, top this cake with some toasted and chopped walnuts. They add a nutty crunch that perfectly balances the sweetness of the frosting.

Top down view of piece of applesauce cake with caramel frosting with chopped and toasted walnuts on top with piece of parchment on a wire cooling rack on wood board with gray slate surface underneath
I mean, seriously – how good does that combo of walnuts and caramel frosting look?!

Watch how to make this cake:

YouTube video

If you need just one more picture to inspire you to make this cake, take a look at the interior texture of this cake. Uh-huh, that’s the applesauce at work, retaining the moistness that you can practically taste through your screen.

Side view of piece of applesauce cake with caramel frosting sitting on piece of parchment on cooling rack with rest of cake in background

Are you just like me and love to make those tried and true recipes even though it may make you seem like a 90-year-old? If so, make sure to let me know how this cake turned out for you!

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you can let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they, too, can make, enjoy, and love!

Piece of applesauce cake with caramel frosting topped with toasted walnuts sitting on piece of parchment with rest of cake behind all on wood board on gray slate surface

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting

4.39 from 97 votes
Made from homemade applesauce, this applesauce cake with caramel frosting is a moist and sweet treat! The rich, fall flavors complement the caramel frosting perfectly!
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 12 pieces

Ingredients

For the applesauce cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups applesauce
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For the caramel frosting

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar lightly packed
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
  • ¾ cup walnuts toasted and chopped

Instructions
 

For the applesauce cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×9 cake pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment and spray again. Then set it aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, white granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 cup white granulated sugar, ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each until incorporated.
    2 large eggs
  • Mix in applesauce. The batter will seem very loose and curdled, but that is completely normal.
    1 ½ cups applesauce
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Mix until just combined, 2 minutes.
    2 cups all-purpose flour, ¼ tsp baking powder, 1 ½ tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground cloves, ½ tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp kosher salt
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of tje bowl, ensuring the batter is mixed evenly.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.

For the frosting

  • In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and milk. Melt on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until the mixture begins to boil and boil lightly for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 10-15 minutes.
    ¼ cup unsalted butter, 2 tbsp whole milk, ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth and thick.
    1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Once the cake is completely cool, frost the cake. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts if desired.
    ¾ cup walnuts

Notes

  • To maintain freshness, this cake freezes well in an airtight container up to one month.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pieceCalories: 503kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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58 Comments

  1. Hi! This cake looks so amazing that I just had to make it!! Frosting came out great but just wondering how you got yours so light in color and so thick?

    1. I’m coming in late, but I added an extra cup of powdered sugar…it was way too runny before. Even after adding the extra cup, the frosting still had a runniness to it and oozed all over the cake. It wasn’t at all like the picture. Maybe she used a mixer to blend it? No clue.

      1. Hi made this apple sauce cake today. Can’t wait to share it with my family! Thank you Caleb for your entertaining videos!

        Cheers from Canada

  2. I love the look & ingredients of this cake and the icing. Only problem is, I only have golden brown sugar. Will that be a problem? Also I have a collection of OLD recipes. Are you looking for anything in particular I could send you? Let me know.

  3. Loved it. Applesauce cake is one of my favorites. Didn’t have an dark brown sugar so I used light brown, still turned out awesome. My son loved it so much he tried to convince me to let him have it for breakfast.

  4. My daughter told me about your site. love watching you cook. Today watched you make your grandmother’s recipe for Applesauce cake, I had to get on computer and get the recipe. I may add that to my Thanksgiving meal this year. I enjoy your videos…keep them coming.

  5. 5 stars
    Such a delicious fall cake! I love that it’s a recipe for a 9 x 9 so it’s more manageable to actually eat. This is destined to become a fall favorite at our house!

  6. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try this. Going to store for supplies tomorrow . Looks yummy.
    Love to watch your shows. They are so interesting and fun.

  7. I love your videos and recipes. You make them so we can all understand. This cake looks delicious and I need to make it. Also love that it is snack cake size. Thanks so much. I love your FB page and website. Keep them coming Kaleb!!!

  8. Hi ! I want to make your applesauce cake w caramel frosting. Your printed frosting recipe calls for 1/4 cup butter & 1/2 cup dk brown sugar, & 2 TBLSP milk., but it appears your video shows you using 1/2 cup (1 stick butter) & looks like 1 cup brown sugar, & more milk also. Please clarify, I really want to make this cake w frosting SOON. Love watching you make this recipe ! Thanks

  9. 5 stars
    Hello ☮️❤️
    Just discovered you and I love you! I just made this gluten free. We will see if it turns out😜 Used Coconut sugar instead of regular sugar… Used gluten free bob’s red mill all purpose flour… Annnnd I didn’t have a square cake pan so I had to use a glass square pan🙄 Googled that and Google says to lessen heat 25 degree and bake extra 10 min.

  10. 5 stars
    What an incredibly moist and flavorful cake! My family loved it and it’s just the right size for 3 people for maybe two days! 😋. Thank you.

  11. Want to make this cake for Thanksgiving was was wondering if using store bought applesauce do I use sweetened or unsweetened!

  12. Love you my dear , I’m making this again for my family on thanksgiving ❤️ I made it a few weeks ago and everyone loved it !! Thank you Grandma ❤️ And Kaleb🥰

  13. 5 stars
    Ive just found your videos and saw you make this apple sauce cake. I made it yesterday and it is to die for, absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe x

  14. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. Have made it twice since watching video! I used pecans & added a little more milk to icing to make it easier to blend. Served with vanilla ice cream & it was a big hit!

  15. This recipe is the BOMB! My friend’s children and husband all LOVED this cake. At first the little guys were sure about the icing BUT they kept asking for another piece and the whole cake disappeared in one evening!

  16. H Kaleb!
    This cake was so delicious!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!! Love watching and following you. Everything you do.. decor, farm stuff, cook/bake etc. is everything I love! SO thank you!. You always put a smile on my face. 🙂

  17. 5 stars
    Thank you, Kaleb! I finally made this recipe last night. It was late and I was lazy, so I did not make the frosting, but it was still delicious. Thank you!

  18. First off, I love your videos. I watched the video on the cake on IGTV last night and decided to see what other videos you have made in the past. Watched the Chocolate Chip Cookie video and was going to make them today, it I did not have malted milk powder. The local grocery store doesn’t carry it so I bought what I need for the Applesauce Cake instead. But since I already had everything out for the cookies, I decided to make my favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I have been trying to figure out how to tweak the recipe to make them chewier for quite a while now. Well I decided to try your tip of substituting some bread flour for the self-rising flour called for in the recipe. I also added some salt and baking powder to compensate. It was exactly what I have been wanting in this cookie. It doesn’t spread quite as much as it used to and it it definitely a chewier cookie and still crispy around the edges. Thanks for the great tip.

  19. 5 stars
    I made this today.
    However, I added a cup of raisins to the batter. I didn’t have any milk so couldn’t make the caramel frosting so I made cream cheese frosting instead. Omg it’s delicious. I topped with chopped pecans.
    Love watching your videos your such a perfectionist abd make things you do snd make look so easy. Keep the videos coming. Love your beautiful home. It’s do you.

  20. 5 stars
    Amazingly moist. Kaleb you are the best for go to classics with a twist. I doubled the recipe for a 9×13 pan. I left the sugar as is for the single recipe and it was perfectly sweet for me. I used 1 1/2cup of all purpose flour 2 cups of fine whole wheat flour and 1/2c coconut flour. I added the walnuts to the batter along with 1/2 cup desicated unsweetened coconut. Made a single batch of the frosting and drizzled it over the cake and topped with a sprinkle of the desicated coconut. Absolutely spot on and delicious. Thank you for another great dish.

  21. 5 stars
    This is a beautiful fall apple sauce cake. Perfection! The cake is moist and nicely spiced. The caramel frosting is a must as it compliments the cake nicely. Also use the dark brown sugar. Every one of my picky eaters stopped by my glass cake dome, lifted the lid and took a square. I can hear that noise rooms away. This has earned a spot in my coveted family recipe box. Thank you!

  22. Love your videos and recipes! Keep them coming! I’ve made your Hot Pepper Mustard sauce and Apple Pumpkin Bitter. Both are delicious! Also made Molasses Crinkle cookies, yummy!

  23. Hi I love your website and I enjoy watching you. I have tried most of your recipes my questions is what brand of olive oil do you use.
    Thank you Linda

  24. I love your posts and think that you’re very talented in many areas.
    Your recipe for applesauce cake & caramel icing sounds
    Delicious!

  25. 5 stars
    I love all your posts. Your recipes are great and you help with my gardening. Thank you for sharing your passion and your Kip

  26. Made this yesterday, cause, well, it’s fall and why not? 😁 My family loved it! Very delicious. I will be adding this to my favourites cookbook.

  27. 4 stars
    This cake is awesome. Moist and just the right amount of sweetness. I don’t think it needs that topping. The topping was something I didn’t like. But will remake this cake again without it.

  28. 4 stars
    The important part for it to be thick (the frosting) is to make sure it’s cooled, let it cool, then maybe 3 mins in fridge and then do the rest and it’s thicker.

  29. This cake is delicious ! The only thing I’d change is to give it more frosting because it’s scrumptious!

  30. 4 stars
    Super easy to make. Had a difficult time
    Getting the center to bake which caused the edgers to get a dry. Husband enjoyed it, he thought the frosting was the best part almost like a caramel fudge.

  31. 5 stars
    The cake is a perfect blend of spices, very moist, delicious and yummy.
    The Carmel frosting is to die for, put lots of nuts on top to cap it off.
    As the Carmel was cooling it began to crystallize, I added a tablespoon of butter to stop the process, it worked. I used my mixer to whip the frosting. Came out perfect.
    We are vegans and I used liquid egg substitute as well as butter.

  32. 5 stars
    This might just be the best cake EVER!

    I made this cake because I had some applesauce I needed to use up. The directions were to put it in a 9×9, but chose to put it in a 9×13 pan so the cake would thinner (i.e. smaller pieces – as my husband and I need to lose our winter weight!). The cake baked up as if I had used the ingredient portions for a 9×13! Next, I made the frosting as directed (not doubling it…as I wanted a thin layer of frosting). The frosting is a thin layer on a 9×9 size cake. Yikes! Never fear! This cake is delicious with our without frosting! However, if you happen to have some carmel sauce a friend made as a Christmas gift (see the note above about losing weight!) you can drizzle (or spoon) on to this cake and again…delicous! My one last comment about this delicious cake…if you should happen to eat a piece while it is still warm from the oven…Oh my! IHeaven!

  33. I am making this cake now, oh boy I read the beginning and then saw the brown sugar and white sugar both went in…I added it at the end…. Hope it comes out ok…..also doesn’t mention how much brown sugar for the frosting.I’m assuming its a cup as video kinda shows..🤷🙏

  34. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! This cake is so good, super moist and the spices are perfect. And that frosting… I am obsessed! So good! I will be making this again. Thanks so much for this amazing recipe.

  35. 5 stars
    Hello Kaleb
    Thank you so much for posting this delicious and amazing applesauce cake recipe. I searched the internet and knew that this was the recipe I needed. I love old fashioned recipes and this was everything I hoped it would be. I also loved watching your humourous video,The caramel frosting and walnuts definitey was the crowning glory. Thanks again and have a great day!

  36. After watching the video, I made this. It is excellent! Very easy. I had everything on hand. My husband loved it. My grandson came over and had a piece and loved it as well. A winner and will be making this again! Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s recipes.