Monday, January 31, 2011

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting

I love applesauce cake, and this one is particularly delicious.  Along with the usual warm spices that go into applesauce cake, it also contains freshly ground black pepper, which adds a surprising spiciness that's really tasty.  The moist cake is combined with my very favorite caramel frosting, a recipe of my mom's that comes from Ladies Home Journal. Note that you'll need to frost the cake just as soon as the frosting is ready - it can't sit around or it will harden.  As you can see from the photos below, it also cracks like crazy if you slice the cake after the frosting has set, so be sure to slice it while the frosting is still slightly warm if you're concerned about this.  Either way, it's super yummy!

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting (adapted from Food52 and Ladies Home Journal)

For the cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Several grinds freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Large pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

For the frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 T milk
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Make the cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, and spices.  In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and both sugars until light.  Mix in the applesauce, oil, and vanilla until smooth.
2. Gently fold the dry ingredients until smooth but not over-mixed.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
3. Make the frosting: Melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar, stirring until smooth.  Return to low heat, bring to a boil, and boil for one minute.  Add the milk, and then gradually add the confectioners sugar, stirring with a wooden spoon until the frosting is thick and smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and then pour over the cake and frost while both cake and frosting are still warm.


  1. A frosted applesauce cake that I have to eat immediately? Yes, please!

  2. Mmm, caramel and apple - such a delicious flavor combination!

  3. Sara, apple and caramel...I can go for it easily...what a great combination :-)

  4. Caramel sauce is something I can rarely resist, and apples are a natural pairing. What a great snack cake, Sara!

  5. I have never thought of using apple sauce to make a cake! Great idea, thanks for sharing.

  6. Sounds like a fabulous cake. I love using applesauce in baked goods.

  7. The icing is like candy! I've been tempted to make a double recipe of the icing and just eat half of it on its own! This is the best cake ever. It's a family favorite!