Spiced Applesauce Snack Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Every so often, an overhaul of my kitchen is needed. Recently, I cleaned out my freezer bananas, and then I found way too many apples still stashed in my fridge from a late-season apple-picking adventure. Were they still okay? Surprisingly yes, though unsurprisingly if you know just how sturdy apples actually are. I decided the easiest way to use up a bunch was to make a big batch of applesauce and go from there. For the following recipe, you only need about four or five medium apples. If it isn’t apple season or you just want a shortcut, by all means, use storebought applesauce. Just make sure to get the unsweetened kind! And then you have a snack with the leftovers, either way.

Makes 12 to 15 servings


Unsweetened Applesauce

  • 2 pounds (907 grams) apples, peeled and cored
  • ½ cup water

Applesauce Cake

  • 2¼ cups (293 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (108 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 cups (490 grams) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (70 grams) raisins
  • ½ cup (60 grams) chopped walnuts

Brown Butter Frosting

  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3 cups (288 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup (60 grams) chopped walnuts, for decorating


Make the Applesauce

  1. Chop the apples into 1/2 to 1-inch chunks and add them with the water to medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until soft.
  2. Using the back of a spoon or potato masher, mash the apples until desired consistency. This recipe works best with smooth sauce. Allow the apples to cool completely before using.

Make the Cake

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch cake pan and set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

5. In a separate mixing bowl add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and oil. Using a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until thick and lightened, about 2 minutes.

6. Add the applesauce, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

7. Add the applesauce mixture to the flour mixture, and mix on low until combined. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

8. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack completely.

Make the Frosting 

9. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring constantly as the butter gets foamy and starts to brown, about 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

10. Combine the browned butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in bowl. Beat at medium speed with a hand mixer, gradually adding milk until the frosting is smooth. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

11. Frost the cake and sprinkle with walnuts. Serve or refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days.


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AnnMarie Mattila
AnnMarie Mattilahttps://pastryathome.com
AnnMarie Mattila is a writer for Pastry Arts Magazine, as well as a freelance baker and pastry chef in New York. She has a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University and is also a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education.

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