Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Time for October's Improv Cooking Challenge! 

The theme for this month was cake and frosting.  I recently made a batch of unsweetened cinnamon applesauce and was hoping to use some of it for a this challenge. I searched around for an applesauce cake and came across this recipe from Gourmet.  The recipe was just what I was looking for and looked to be easily adaptable for using my homemade applesauce. The recipe recommended using a square cake pan, but I opted for my springform and it worked perfectly. I also left the walnuts out of the cake and used them for a crunchy topping.  The frosting was so easy to make it was almost a crime and the flavor was delicious. This cake had all the cravable fall flavors- heavy on spice, dense and moist.  The creamy spiced frosting and perfect crunch and nutty taste from the walnuts made this a delectable treat.  I can't wait to make this again and curl up on a chill fall day with a slice and a warm cup of cider. 

Big thanks to Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for organizing the challenge. If you want to join the fun (next month is cardamom and orange) stop by her blog and join the fun! 


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce (I used my homemade unsweetened cinnamon applesauce)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • Frosting:
  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan (I used a spring form round cake pan with no problems).

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove cake from the pan or spring form (you could leave it in and cut from the pan if you wish). 

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
Spread frosting over top of cooled cake. Top with walnuts. 

Labels: , , ,