Vanilla Applesauce Cake

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When you’re craving comfort from scratch, this Vanilla Applesauce Cake comes together with minimal effort and delivers bold fall flavors. Applesauce gives this cake its unbelievably tender crumb and tart apple notes, and Heilala Vanilla’s premium vanilla beans join forces with fall spices to impart a cozy autumn feel. We finished off this soul-warming cake with a luscious Vanilla Bean Frosting speckled with Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste. The vanilla bean paste lends this buttercream a rich, mellow flavor that’s so good, you’ll want to eat the buttercream on its own—although we recommend piling as much on top of the cake as you can. Between the soft, apple-scented cake and that sweet buttercream, this will be your seasonal go-to.

Before you whip up this recipe, stock up on enough Heilala Vanilla to last you through the fall baking season! Get 20% off your vanilla purchase on Heilala’s Amazon store by using the code BAKEFS11 at checkout. Code valid until November 30th, 2019. 

4.5 from 2 reviews
Vanilla Applesauce Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240 grams) unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup (120 grams) whole buttermilk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (112 grams) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) Heilala Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla Bean Frosting (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper; lightly spray sides of pan with baking spray with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, applesauce, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour sugar mixture into flour mixture, and fold until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula.
  3. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Spread Vanilla Bean Frosting on cooled cake.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Vanilla Bean Frosting
Makes about 4 cups
  • 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups (480 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (18 grams) Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add butter, and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup (120 grams) at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase mixer speed to medium-high. Add vanilla bean paste and salt. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat for 2 minutes. Use immediately.


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    • Hi JS! You can store this cake covered in an airtight container (or a domed cake stand) at room temp. But we only recommend doing this for for 3 to 4 days.

  1. Cake is really good. Used a scant cup of sugar and was sweet enough. Frosting quantity was way too much!! Have more than enough for another cake.

    • Hey R James,

      There is indeed a lot of frosting on this cake! But we found that our sweet tooth editors loved adding extra dollops to their cake. But you can easily halve the frosting recipe in the future. Happy baking!

  2. I’ve made this cake twice now and I’m sure it’ll be on my baking rotation every fall. The tangy sweetness of the frosting cuts the spice of the cake and together is super tasty. I set out the extra frosting and guests enjoyed adding more to their plates once theirs was all gone!


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