Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

By • January 5, 2011 • 82 Comments

1,655 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!


Author Notes: Having made a giant batch of applesauce this fall (unpeeled apples, a pinch of salt, lemon juice and nothing else), I realized last week that what was left would probably ferment if I didn't do something with it, and quick. So, I decided to whip up one of my favorite desserts, a spiced applesauce cake. Previously, I've made a fresh ginger glaze for it that tastes delicious but sort of curdles and doesn't look all that pretty. This time, I found inspiration in a rich, sweet, Southern-stye caramel icing from Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook, which I've made a few times for other cakes. But I wanted a true glaze, not an icing, so off to the interwebs I went.Imagine my delight when I came across the perfect recipe on the blog of our very own TheRunawaySpoon! I adapted the measurements slightly, as I found I needed a little less powdered sugar to keep my glaze runny enough to drizzle, and it turned out to be the perfect complement to this tender, spiced and just slightly sweet cake. Thank you, TheRunawaySpoon, for your help.

Note: If you're serving this cake to demanding or hyper-observant guests (What? Did I say that?), you may want to glaze the cake right on the plate you plan to use to serve it, forgoing the rack. As soon the glaze has even the slightest chance to set, it will crack if you try to transfer the cake from rack to serving plate.
Merrill Stubbs

Serves 10

For the cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened (preferably homemade) applesauce
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For the caramel glaze

  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and spices and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs with both sugars until light. Mix in the applesauce, oil and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack before turning it out and cooling completely on the rack -- make sure the cake is not at all warm before you make the glaze.
  3. TheRunawaySpoon wisely advises that you put a piece of foil or paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips before you start the glaze. Put the butter in a medium saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute exactly, and then pull it off the heat.
  4. Leave the pan to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but pourable consistency (you may not need all the sugar). If the mixture seems too thick, just add a splash of cream to thin it out a little. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, moving slowly and evenly to cover as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake.
Jump to Comments (82)

Tags: apple cake, applesauce, cake, caramel, Desserts

Comments (82) Questions (11)

Default-small
Default-small
Stringio

9 months ago Northa Turner

EXCELENT, IT WAS VERY MOIST.

Default-small

9 months ago fhp

I don't have a bunt pan and don't really want to for space reasons.
Can I use a loaf(s) pan for this recipe?
Anything I should know before I do?
The applesauce is ready.
Thanks

Image

9 months ago Marisa

I've made this cake a few times already. So good! It's a hit whenever I bring it to someone's house. And I love sharing the recipe! Thank you

Stringio

10 months ago Joseph Hamby

I'm still trying my hand at baking. But I'm gonna try it and pass it on to a friend who is a much better baker than I as I know this is in her wheelhouse!

Default-small

11 months ago ATG117

I love this recipe. My only tweaks: I add more salt to the cake and glaze. I think the glaze really benefits from it. I start with a 1/2 tsp. then once I've determined how much powdered sugar is necessary, I taste it and usually add another pinch or two. It counterbalances the sweetness.

Default-small

11 months ago tanager

I have brought this cake to two different events and received rave reviews at both. Easy to prepare and wonderful flavor.

Default-small

11 months ago Muse

Your recipe sounds divine...thank you for sharing it...will have to make this over the weekend! Peace, Light and Love.

Default-small

about 1 year ago JosieD

Made this yesterday for a brunch party- so good. I didn't do the glaze, just a sprinkle of powdered sugar and it was lovely. Am enjoying a slice with my coffee right now!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Barbara Anne Kirkman

You do not need to add the cream, just use water or apple juice.

Default-small

about 1 year ago Halutznik

I made this cake for Rosh Hashana with the glaze and it was fabulous..moist and light. I took seriously the note not to overmix and it paid off!

Photo

about 1 year ago Randye Hoder

Just a holiday note -- if you are serving this cake to "demanding or hyper-observant guests," forget about using the glaze at all. (It has dairy and on this Jewish holiday even not so hyper-observant guests prefer not to mix milk and meat.) I opted instead for a dusting of powdered-sugar. Of course, I'll try the delicious-looking carmel glaze another time.

476

about 1 year ago Gilda Barco-Pritchard

Yes, I agree. I didn't make the sauce. Thanks.

476

about 1 year ago Gilda Barco-Pritchard

I am gonna make this cake for Rosh Hashanah this week. It looks really yummy and easy to make. Thanks for the recipe.

Default-small

about 1 year ago maureenlyon

Would homemade apple butter work? Maybe cut down on the spices in the recipe?

Image

over 1 year ago Regine

yummy yummy!!!!! This is my 4th time making cake and it is so goood. Moist, flavorful and with a divine caramel glaze. I also add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp vanilla to the cake, and always use storebought applesauce.

Default-small

over 1 year ago taxidog

love this cake! Funny, I always put pepper on everything on my plate (including applesauce) as a kid and have come to prefer it that way. Now, how to make the glaze the star of bread pudding or something...

Default-small

over 1 year ago EandC

I made this last night in a 10 inch tube pan and we all loved it. Just had another piece tonight and I think it was even better! Love the glaze. Thank you for the great recipe. I used sore bought applesauce to save time. Can't wait to try home made next time.

Stringio

almost 2 years ago Noel Morris

All I can say is thank you for the wonderful recipe! My daughter and I just made mini cakes and then drizzled the amazing frosting on them... then we sat on the kitchen floor and ate the rest of the frosting out of the pan! YUMMY!!!

Default-small

almost 2 years ago Christy F

i made this for my family and it was devoured. i was too stingy with the glazed worried it would overpower. making another one to take to friends' tonight and will def use most of the glaze. It's sweet but the cake has such a nice spice blend that it balances beautifully.

Default-small

almost 2 years ago jenniebites

I am armed (with this cake) and ready for Hurricane Sandy. If you need me, I'll be licking the extra glaze out of the bowl. This cake is a new favorite!

Merrill

almost 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you like it! Thinking maybe I'll whip one up too...

Default-small

almost 2 years ago jenniebites

I am armed (with this cake) and ready for Hurricane Sandy. If you need me, I'll be licking the extra glaze out of the bowl. This cake is a new favorite!

Dsc_0028

about 2 years ago cookbookchick

Cookingintheheights, I upped the black pepper to 1/2 teaspoon with very nice results -- see my comment down below. I love this cake! I've made it several times. And you are so right, it's a perfect way to use up apples that are a bit past their prime. Last time I made it was with elderly apples sautéed in a little butter and maple syrup, then whirled in my food processor.

Bananacakewithtangyvanilla

about 2 years ago cookingintheheights

good to know re pepper - thanks so much!

Bananacakewithtangyvanilla

about 2 years ago cookingintheheights

Made this yesterday for Rosh Hashanah dessert (it was one of many - I fear that our dessert offerings matched the number of savory & veg dishes, ahem). It was moist and delicious and not heavy at all -- a hit! Loved the way it helped me get rid of some aging apples in the fruit drawer. I made sure to beat the eggs for quite a while (under illusion, at least, that it might help make cake a tad 'lighter' in texture). Subbed cane sugar for white (and at half the suggested amount) for the cake batter. My glaze was more of just that -- a glossy, caramelly glaze -- it wasn't as luscious and creamy looking as in your demo picture...but perhaps that's b/c I only mixed in 1/4 c. conf sugar at the end (I DID use full quotient of light brown sugar, tho). And I loved the black pepper in the cake -- wonder if I could up that a tad higher? CONGRATS, Merrill -- this is a WINNER.

Merrill

about 2 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you liked it. Yes, the icing would be lighter and creamier with the full amount of confectioners' sugar, though your version sounds nice too!

Default-small

over 2 years ago SuzanneM

I was looking for an easy dessert to make for a small dinner party. This was such a nice, homey treat. I love the glaze (forgot to sift the confectioner's sugar, so I just strained the glaze and it was still perfect)! I added a little vanilla to the glaze so that it would remind me of my mom's caramel cake frosting. Mmmm.

Default-small

almost 3 years ago big-andy

I was a bit leary about making this cake because the comments hadn't been very encouraging. The cake, for me, turned out beautifully. Very moist and kept extremely well. I added a half cup more of water and that worked for me. The frosting/glaze was terrific, too.

Open-uri20140112-8514-uczbt8

almost 3 years ago Superyalda

So far it looks great, smells great, the batter tasted great and I'm bringing it to my Belgian neighbors house for dessert tonight ... I'm sure it will be luscious. If you can see this link ... www.facebook.com%2Fphoto... ... I sprinkled ocean salt on top instead of putting in the glaze. I also used half whole wheat flour.

Open-uri20140112-8514-uczbt8

over 2 years ago Superyalda

?body=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto...
Maybe this one will work?
And i forgot to update about how it came out! The cake was a treat for all the senses! I'm definitely making it again.

N815475290_4808168_5317

almost 3 years ago java&foam

Merril...I was reading America's test kitchen and saw they had a gingerbread cake with ginger glaze...that reminded me of your ginger glaze dilemma. They manage to avoid the ginger-milk problem by using gingerale as their liquid. Their glaze is the following :
1 3/4 cups (7 ounces ) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons gingerale
1 teaspoon ground ginger

While it doesn't use fresh ginger like yours...it made me think that using something like gingerale is another way to get around the curdling. Hope this helps give you more ginger options.

Default-small

almost 3 years ago JennieJackson

Doctored this recipe just a little. I didn't have a Bundt pan so I made cupcakes instead (yields 24, 15 minutes per batch), substituted salted butter for vegetable oil (healthy, I know), added three tablespoons of Laird's Applejack brandy (because I'm a lush!), put an extra pinch of Fleur de Sel in the glaze, and garnished with some Hawaiian black lava salt.

Thank God my cupcakes are small and I'm bringing the rest to work tomorrow. They're so. damn. GOOD.

Default-small

almost 3 years ago anne

Made this for Thanksgiving, and it was a huge hit. I was pressed for time so used what I had on hand: storebought applesauce, with about 3 tablespoons of low-fat plain yogurt to get to 1.5 cups, and green cardamom instead of all spice. I thought it'd be too sweet when I tasted the batter pre-baking, but it came out perfectly, as did the glaze, which tasted almost maple-like by the next day. This cake seems very adaptable, and is very easy to make and absolutely delicious, so it's added to my permanent repertoire.

Photo_418

almost 3 years ago JenniferF

re Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze: Has anyone tried to "miniaturize" this recipe in muffin or mini-muffin pans? Having a "tasting party" Friday night and thought it would make a great complement to wee brownies and lemon cookies.

Jamie_river

almost 3 years ago jronay

This cake was delicious. Do yourself a favor, do NOT omit the black pepper. It was a fantastic addition to this cake.

Jamie_river

almost 3 years ago jronay

This cake was delicious. Do yourself a favor, do NOT omit the black pepper. It was a fantastic addition to this cake.

Jamie_river

almost 3 years ago jronay

This cake was delicious. Do yourself a favor, do NOT omit the black pepper. It was a fantastic addition to this cake.

Img_7818

almost 3 years ago EmilyC

I'm going to add my accolades to this ever-growing list. This cake is absolutely fantastic! I made it early this morning for a small dinner party tonight. I was surprised at how quickly and easily the cake and icing came together...and the taste and texture are just divine. I'll be sharing this recipe with my mom and all of my friends who love to bake.

Lobster_001

almost 3 years ago nannydeb

I made this cake for our food52 cookbook launch party on Saturday and then again this morning for my own birthday. Everyone LOVES this cake! I plan to make the caramel icing on Friday night with brownies and vanilla ice cream too. Thanks for a great recipe!

Default-small

almost 3 years ago Little fish

My mother often made a wonderful applesauce cake with caramel icing, in a large sheet pan. It was a family favorite. This recipe is wonderful and comes just as I was planning on baking an applesauce cake.

Default-small

almost 3 years ago lynn7555

Made a few changes to keep the calories down, added pumpkin in place of oil and used skim milk in the glaze, came out fantastic! My 2 year old grandson couldn't get enough.

Default-small

almost 3 years ago ACK Kitchen

I don't have a bundt pan - and want to make this right now! Would an angel food cake pan, or spring form still do the job (although not as pretty, I know!).

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, I'd use the angel food cake pan. Just watch the baking time, which may be a little different!

Image

almost 3 years ago Regine

Yummy. I made this a second time and it is so heavenly good. I love the icing! The cake is so surprisingly light and moist.

Image

about 3 years ago Robin O'D

I bought all the ingredients for this cake a week ago to make for my family. However, I needed to make a thank you cake for a neighbor who really helped us out and ended up making the cake for them. I usually don't make something for someone else without trying it first, but I knew it would be great. This was confirmed today when I finally made the cake for us. Delicious. The perfect cake for Fall.

Image

about 3 years ago Regine

I made this cake on Saturday 10/8 for our Sunday family dinner. Wow, what a delicious cake! I loved the icing as well which I could just eat by itself. The only thing that I did differently was to skip the black pepper and all spice. I also added about 1 tsp vanilla extract. I served it with some Homemade Grand Marnier icecream made by my mom. But vanilla icecream would also be good. I can't wait to make it again soon.

Default-small

about 3 years ago Shelly Peppel

I made this cake today (after staring at the photo of it for about a week, finding it almost impossible to look away) and it did not disappoint. My twelve-year-old daughter and two of her friends tried it after school, and from the other room I could hear them discussing it: "It's SO moist!" -- "Ummm....it's a little bit spicy!" -- "Can we have another slice?". This recipe is a keeper!

Kate_crop

about 3 years ago chickenX2

Any tips for making this ahead of time? I'm doing it for a dinner party this weekend, and I was thinking of making the cake a day or two ahead, and glazing it just before my guests arrive so that it sets in time for dessert. Anything else I should be thinking about?

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Sounds like you've got a plan! The cake actually improves after a day or two -- just make sure to wrap it well.

Me_cooking

about 3 years ago Adam E

I made this for a party yesterday and it was gobbled up right away, even by the young children in attendance. I like a salty caramel, so I used salted butter and felt it played off nicely against the sweet cake.

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Yum, great idea!

Default-small

about 3 years ago Jessie G

Made this cake for our Rosh Hashanah dessert and it was a hit. Very moist, good flavor, and all around delicious. One thing to note: the recipe makes a lot of icing ... and that's fine BUT I used most of it on the cake and it was too much ... so, take note to drizzle not coat the cake.

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I guess I have a bit of a sweet tooth... :)

Dsc_0028

about 3 years ago cookbookchick

I made this again the other day for guests -- as you can see from my previous post, it won raves on Super Bowl Sunday. This time, I stuck to the recipe as written except that I ground out a bit too much black pepper. But what the heck, why waste it? So in it went, more like 1/2 teaspoon than 1/4 -- and oh my! What nice, gentle heat it gave the cake! Made a great cake even better!

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Good to know!

Summer_2010_1048

about 3 years ago Midge

When this finally cooled last night, I had a sliver, then another, and another. My husband and I agreed it's one of the best cakes we've ever tasted ( and I've eaten a lot of cake!). Thanks for a keeper, merrill!

Stringio

about 3 years ago Jill Salomon Donaty

I made this with a dairy-free caramel. Coconut milk for the cream. It totally rocked. A hit at both of my Rosh Hashannah dinners. Thanks so much for the recipe.

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad it worked!

Default-small

about 3 years ago JemBee

I made this cake for our Rosh Hashanah dinner tonight. SO good! I was happily surprised at how light the actual cake is. And I was worried that the caramel glaze would be too sweet and synthetic tasting, using powdered sugar. OMG, Sweet, yes, but in such a good way! Really, really caramel-y. Thanks!

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome! The brown sugar makes all the difference in the glaze.

Default-small

about 3 years ago Russ2304

Merrill,
Love the site! For this recipe is there any coversion to make into cupcakes?
i.e. Baking time and temp,change of measurements, etc

Thanks---------------Russ

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Hmm. I haven't made this in cupcake form yet, but I sometimes split the batter among two smaller Bundt pans, which usually take about 25 min to cook. If you make cupcakes, I would keep everything the same, and just start checking them at about 12 minutes.

N815475290_4808168_5317

about 3 years ago java&foam

droplet is certainly right. there are a list of fruits (pineapple, guava, mango, figs, etc) that along with ginger root contain a compound known as "protease", which chemically alter the protein in the milk from water soluble to water insoluble and essentially curdle the milk proteins. this also occurs when making gelatin...so these fruits are sort on on a "banned to mix with protein" list.

the below article suggests that heat deactivates protease and so all you would need to do is cook the fruit or ginger root before adding it to the protein to prevent curdling. i don't know if this is really effective and I haven't been able to find anything in a book or online about whether that method works or what temperature protease has to reach before it deactivates (i'm guessing at least 212F based on the experiments conducted in in the link)...but it might be something you consider trying if you can't find the young ginger root droplet suggested.

http://www.sciencebuddies...

either way, i made your cake this morning and it is requiring a lot of self control to not take a taste before dinner tonight. it looks wonderful. thanks for sharing your recipe!

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome, and thanks for the helpful info!

Flower-bee

about 3 years ago Droplet

Re: "fresh ginger glaze...(that) sort of curdles". I remember reading an asian recipe for something like a pudding ( a lot like the Lemon Posset on food52), which explained that fresh ginger juice added to milk has that effect. I have no clue what the glaze you made consists of, but thought I'd post this in case you are trying to troubleshoot it.

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, the glaze did have milk in it -- must be the issue! Thanks so much.

Flower-bee

about 3 years ago Droplet

http://www.tastehongkong...
You might have more luck with young baby ginger, as she says it is not as good for her purpose of curdling.

Image

about 3 years ago ashleychasesdinner

Can't wait to try this! Looks amazing!!

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks!

Default-small

about 3 years ago brookev

I made this last night and it is SPECTACULAR! We absolutely LOVED it. I actually 1 1/2-ed the recipe because I prefer taller bundt cakes and it worked out perfectly. This was a great way to use some of our homemade applesauce. I also used a mild olive oil in place of the vegetable oil. The caramel sauce made just enough as is. This is definitely a keeper. I love how the cake so moist from the applesauce and full of flavor from the spices. What a wonderful autumn treat. Thank you for sharing!!!

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're very welcome, and so glad you liked it! Love the idea of subbing olive oil -- will have to try that.

N642000053_274921_7414

about 3 years ago Hark

Not going to lie...I used applesauce from Kroger. It was still delectable!

Merrill

about 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

I'm planning to make it this weekend with applesauce from the farmers market -- no shame here!

Default-small

over 3 years ago voila

Made this and got rave reviews! I always have trouble baking. ( I am a much better cook ). But I followed the recipe carefully. Made my applesauce using Gala apples and weighed the flour based on the label reference of 30g / quarter cup. This is the best cake I have ever made!!!!

Barr_selects__5_of_5_web1

over 3 years ago flavoristabarr

Lovely cake. I have to say I used 1/4 confectioners sugar in the glaze and it was just fine.

Default-small

over 3 years ago karpenko

I've been meaning to make this cake ever since you posted it on the site. I made it for a picnic today - what a hit!!!!! It is definitely going onto my list of favorite cakes to make again and again. Thanks!

Dsc_0028

over 3 years ago cookbookchick

I made this for our Super Bowl nosh. Everyone loved it so much, I made it again a couple of days later. The second time, I was a quarter cup short of applesauce, so I made up for it with part of a ripe banana mashed up. I also added 1/2 cup of chopped pecans that were hanging around. All good! And the caramel glaze really is the icing on the cake!

Merrill

over 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Great modifications! Glad you enjoyed it.

Default-small

almost 4 years ago pickles

i just made it tonight...really good! perfectly moist and fluffy.

Merrill

over 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

So glad you liked it.

N1095810810_995

almost 4 years ago likestocooklovestoeat

This was absolutely delicious, easy to make, and the caramel glaze is outrageously good. Thanks for a great recipe.

Merrill

over 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You're welcome!