Old-Fashioned Applesauce Cake

Old Fashioned Applesauce Cake Recipe

This is one of those classic recipes that gets passed down from generation to generation. It's simple - even humble - but absolutely delicious. And like all the best cakes, it doesn't require a frosting. (Although you could mix powdered sugar and a bit of water or milk to drizzle over the top, if you like things really sweet.)

I got this recipe from a friend whose mother and grandmother had both used it as a staple dessert. As you can see below, in the recipe itself, I've made a couple of adjustments: I changed the fat, which my friend's family had noted as Crisco - an unhealthy, highly processed fat that is now made with GMO soybeans. The original recipe also called for "a box of raisins," but I've little doubt the amount of raisins found in a 1930s box was different from the amount found in a box of raisins today; so feel free to play with the quantity. If you're a raisin-hater, you could also omit the raisins - though they do add to the overall moistness of the cake.


Old Fashioned Applesauce Cake


1 cup coconut oil*
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups applesauce**
2 tablespoons dark molasses
raisins, to taste***

* The original recipe called for unhealthy Crisco; lard or butter would be healthier alternatives if you don't want to use coconut oil.

** I've used both unsweetened applesauce and my own homemade applesauce, which has a bit of sugar in it. Both work very well for this recipe.

*** I use about 10-12 oz. of raisins. I typically use the old-fashioned, dark kind, but for the photos, I used a mix of dark and golden raisins (because that's what I had in my pantry).


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and grease two 8-in. cake tins. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, mixing in well.

4. Add the flour and baking soda and beat until just mixed.

5. Beat in the applesauce and molasses.

6. Fold in the raisins by hand.

7. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

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