Foolproof Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake
December 8, 2016

Foolproof Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake | The Full Helping

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will roll a fair amount of cookie dough. I’ll probably do some piping, some sprinkling, and other forms of fussy decorating. As an antidote to that–and because I can never be sure how things will go when I try to use a pastry bag–it’s nice to do some baking that’s simple and reliable. I’ve been making this vegan applesauce spice cake for years now, and it has never let me down. Just a few turns of a whisk and a spatula create a moist, fragrant, and sturdy cake that’s perfect for gifting or serving with holiday tea.

Foolproof Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake | The Full Helping

Once upon a time, when I first made the bread, I convinced myself that I needed to make a glaze or an icing to accompany it. As with a lot of my recipes, this one has become simpler and more streamlined as time goes by; nowadays I just dust it with a little confectioners’ sugar before serving. But you don’t even need to do that: it’s got a lovely deep color when you turn it out from the bundt pan, and it’s moist enough that it really doesn’t need to be glazed. I like to serve it with some fresh apple slices for crunch, but that’s just me.


I love dried fruit, especially in holiday baked goods, so I always put raisins or cranberries in the cake. A few times, when I haven’t had either one of those on hand, I’ve used chopped apricots or dates instead, and it’s all good. Whatever dried fruit you use, it’s helpful to toss the pieces in a tablespoon of flour before you add them to the batter; this will help to prevent them sinking to the bottom (which becomes the top) of the cake. If you prefer, you can use vegan chocolate chips or carob chips, and if you’d rather not mix in anything at all, the cake will still taste wonderful without any additions.

If a bunch of friends or relatives decide to drop by for unexpected company, this is the cake to make. It’s stress free, reliable, and I’ve never given it to anyone who didn’t love it–raisin haters included.  Serve the cake with coffee, tea, or as a simple dessert.

Foolproof Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake | The Full Helping

Foolproof Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields: 14 -16 slices


  • 1 tablespoon unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 1 cup raisins (regular or golden)
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour (or a combination of 1 1/2 cups all purpose + 1 cup light spelt, whole wheat, or white whole wheat)
  • 1 1/4 cups cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 teaspoons ground flax or chia seed
  • 5 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil such as safflower, grapeseed, or canola
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)


  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Oil or grease a bundt pan with vegan buttery spread, then dust it with flour. Toss the raisins with the one tablespoon of flour and set them aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax or chia and warm water. Allow the mixture to thicken up for a few minutes. In the meantime, whisk together the applesauce and vegetable oil. Add the flax or chia gel to the applesauce and oil and stir well.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until they’re evenly combined. Fold in the raisins. Pour the batter into the bundt pan, then transfer the bundt pan to the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean or nearly clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and allow it to cool.
  • Before serving, dust the cake with a light coat of confectioners’ sugar. Slice and serve.


Cake can be wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month. Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 4 days.

 Foolproof Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake | The Full Helping

There’s something so special about recipes that have stood the test of time. I don’t have as many tried-and-true baked goods that fit that description as I do savory recipes, but this cake (and my classic vegan banana bread) are two. The cake brings me a lot of gladness each season when I make it, and I hope it’ll bring you some holiday cheer, too.

I’m wrapping up a half week of travel, so fingers crossed I can catch up before the weekend rolls around. Whether I do or don’t, I’ll see you for weekend reading!


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  1. 5 stars
    I made this last night as a birthday cake and it turned out really good! Great flavor and texture. Instead of baking in a budnt pan, I used two 8 inch round pans! Baked them for about 30 minutes and both layers turned out nicely done. I omitted the raisins but maybe next time I’ll try it with them. Will be making this again I’m sure 🙂

  2. Thank you! We loved it. Halved the sugar and raisins and it was perfect. Used five chopped green apples (left skin on for fiber) and microwaved them for four minutes then used an immersion blender to make a smooth sauce. Used olive oil instead of veggie oil. Tasted so Italian! Delicious!!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this cake as written minus the raisins, using a bundt pan that is 10.5 inches at its widest point. The batter was quite a bit thicker than I expected, and it didn’t look like there was enough of it to fill up the pan.. I was afraid it wasn’t going to turn out. But it turned out perfectly in the end! Thanks for the easy, delicious, vegan cake recipe. You’d never know that it didn’t have eggs/milk/butter in it.

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Gena!
    I just made your Applesauce Cake and wanted to tell you that it is INCREDIBLE!!! So flavorful, moist, beautiful and made my whole house smell delicious!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!! the only thing I changed was to use 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the amount you listed, and it is perfectly sweet for us. My whole family loved this cake, thank you so much!
    Ana 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I made this last night and I have to tell you how great it turned out! Really fluffy and so tasty! I actually used some silicone cake pop molds to make little mini cake bites as my office holiday gift bags and this recipe worked so well! I think that the applesauce I used was a pretty sweet variety so next time I might reduce the sugar a bit, but I imagine it depends on your applesauce. Thank you so much for a great recipe, I’ll definitely make this one again!

  6. 5 stars
    I made this delight yesterday, and it’s absolutely wonderful ! I’m going to make one for a friend, glaze it with apricot jam glaze and add a few festive fruits on top to make a Christmas wreath. I think it’ll make a lovely gift. I did cut down on the sugar and added some lemon zest, which was really tasty. Thanks ! It’s SUPERB !

  7. 4 stars
    I made this last night and it’s really great! I wish the spice and apple would come through even more though, so next time I plan on cutting the sugar (maybe by half or less) and upping the spice a bit. Can’t wait to see what that does! I wonder if I could cut the oil in half and do the other half with more applesauce? Think that would work?
    Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Hi Patty!

      I can never really make promises about baking because it can be so precise; I haven’t tried with less oil, so I don’t know. But if you have good results with your adjustments, please let me know! I’d love to hear how it goes.


  8. 5 stars
    Made this delicious cake last night, using spelt & gf flour blend. I subbed out the spices for a tbsp of chopped fresh rosemary, and chopped dates for the raisins. We baked half the batter in a 12-cup muffin pan and the rest made a thin 8×8 cake. It got a lovely crust on it, but the dates made it quite sweet. Next time, I will dial back the sugar since my family prefers less sweet treats. I look forward to trying it again in the intended bundt pan.

  9. This recipe looks delicious! My husband is vegan and we are having a friend over who is gluten free. Do you think I could use a GF baking mix instead of the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder? I’m trying to please everyone. 😉

    • I think that a GF flour blend would certainly work, but unless it contains leavening I wouldn’t omit the baking powder and salt. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    I made this for the fam last night with some applesauce that was languishing in the fridge, and not even 24 hours later, half of it has disappeared. So good! Thanks for the recipe, Gena!

  11. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I cut the recipe in half and made these substitutions: Cranberries instead of raisins. pumpkin pie spice in place of cardamom and cloves, and coconut oil at room temperature instead of the other oils. I used one loaf pan (for this 1/2 recipe) instead of a bunt pan. Cooked at the same temperature and it took 40 minutes. It is delicious!

  12. 5 stars
    I tweaked the flavor profile a bit, creating a pear + chai variation: I substituted homemade pearsauce for the applesauce, chopped dates for the raisins, and a heaping tablespoon of chai spice powder for the individual spices used. I also baked it in a loaf pan for ~80 minutes since I (sadly) don’t have a bundt pan in my college apartment kitchen. I’m happy to say that it turned out beautifully – moist, full of warm spices, and perfectly sweet. I know this isn’t primarily a baking blog, but more and more, this is the place I turn to for the kind of wholesome, simple, comforting baked goods I love to make and rely on to fuel me through the semester.

    • I’m so glad to hear this!! It’s always nice for me to know which modifications people have tried and had success with, and I love baking more and more, so it’s good to know you’re enjoying those recipes.

    • Hey Rachel!

      It will only affect the texture if you keep the cake in the fridge. It’ll be a little stiff when it’s cold, but at room temperature it’ll be just the same. So the short answer is yes, you can 🙂


  13. Hi Gena!
    I am writing from Italy! Your blog it’s really interesting!
    Can I ask you the right cm of your bundt cake please?

  14. 5 stars
    Gena, I made this over the weekend and was totally blown away. I’ve not had great luck with vegan baking (hence why I was attracted to a “no fail” recipe), but this recipe came out great. I shared a few pieces with a neighbor, and she immediately asked for the recipe! I’m thinking of making this again, soon, maybe with some chopped candied ginger thrown in. Thanks for this great recipe!

  15. Hi Gena!
    My 14-month old toddler loves applesauce, apple smoothies and molasses muffins with grated apples and carrots; so I would love to make him an applesauce cake. He isn’t allowed to consume cane sugar; however, he is allow small amounts of maple syrup, molasses and mashed bananas and dates as sweeteners. If I leave out the sugar, what would you recommend to make this a gently sweet ‘cake’?

    • Hi Laurie,

      I’m truly not sure how a liquid sweetener would work here, as it would change both the texture and taste of the cake, and I’m always very careful to suggest a baking modification that I haven’t tried! With that said, I do think that maple syrup would be the best solution (I definitely wouldn’t use molasses, which I think would overwhelm the flavor of the cake, and I think the banana taste would cover up the lovely taste of apple). If you try it with maple, let me know how it goes!


  16. Could this work in a muffin/mini muffin tin? Our work Christmas breakfast is coming up and this looks like it’d be great to bring, but I’d want small portions. Thought?

    • I always offer baking modifications that I haven’t yet tried with the disclaimer that I can’t vouch entirely for results, but I do think this would work nicely, Diana — maybe even in mini-bundt tins! I’d modify your baking time to 18-22 minutes at 350F and see how it goes. I hope it’s a success — it’s such a great recipe for sharing!

  17. This looks and sounds so good! 🙂 I love spiced things like this so much! (That date zucchini ginger loaf you posted while back was fantastic too!)

    Do you think it would work to add shredded apple in addition to the apple sauce? 🙂