Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

By • January 5, 2011 83 Comments

1,705 + 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.

More Great Recipes: Desserts|Fruit|Cakes

Topics: Hanukkah

💬 View Comments ()

Comments (83) Questions (11)


5 months ago Anne13

This was fantastic. I used cider instead of cream and dark brown sugar in the glaze. Everyone had seconds.


over 1 year ago Northa Turner



over 1 year 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.


over 1 year 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


over 1 year 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!


almost 2 years 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.


almost 2 years ago tanager

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


almost 2 years ago Muse

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


almost 2 years 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!


almost 2 years ago Barbara Anne Kirkman

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


almost 2 years 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!


almost 2 years 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.


almost 2 years ago Gilda Barco-Pritchard

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


almost 2 years 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.


almost 2 years ago maureenlyon

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


over 2 years 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.


over 2 years 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...


over 2 years 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.


over 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!!!


over 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.


almost 3 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!


almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

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