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Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

December 28, 2010


Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

- Merrill

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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, and I hope you all enjoy this cake and have a very happy New Year!

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

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.

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.


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erzulieloo June 16, 2019
We LOVE this cake! LOVE!!! Not overly sweet with a really nice blend of spices. And the caramel glaze is sooooooooooo goooooood!! I saw someone say they added diced apple and i do think I'll try that just for fun. In any case? I will make this cake again and again and again!
Diana January 29, 2015
This is simply one of the best cakes I've ever made. I've been asked to make it over and over again.
Nancy H. October 7, 2014
Hi - plan on making this for a very (very) long road trip. Quick question. Only have olive, coconut, and avocado oil in the house. Would one of these work for the vegetable oil? thanks!
Michelle T. September 24, 2014
I am interested in hearing about the applesauce made from unpeeled apples. I usually do applesauce in the slow cooker - and then just mash it with a potato masher. But, peeling apples is time consuming and sticky. How does it work to make applesauce with unpeeled apples?
ncindc December 12, 2012
I made this cake last night and added the glaze this morning- perfect. Also, it takes very well to the addition of a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed/ground grains of paradise.
Adam E. June 3, 2012
I make this all the time! Yesterday I somehow forgot to pick up heavy cream at the store, so I improvised a glaze of bourbon, sugar, and lemon juice. While I still love the caramel glaze, I also really liked the "adult" flavor the bourbon gave this cake.
Merrill S. October 29, 2012
That sounds delicious! Can you share the proportions? Would love to try it.
LauraM. January 5, 2011
Love this cake! Really moist and delicious. Can't wait to bake it again and follow fiveandspice's suggestion and add apple pieces.
STEsker January 5, 2011
Delicious cake! My presentation wasn't as beautiful as yours though... I wasn't very generous with the glaze when I started drizzling it. I made the mistake of trying to add another layer of glaze, but it had already set, leaving gloops of glaze on the top of the cake. (Clearly, I'm a novice with glazing!) Even though it didn't look pretty, the cake was moist and the glaze was sweet, but not too sweet. Thank you!
TheRunawaySpoon January 4, 2011
Hey! Just notcied the mention - thanks so much for trying out my caramel glaze. It sounds so delicious on this apple cake, I'll have to try it soon!
KitchenKim January 2, 2011
I just love the color of this cake and am thinking about making it right now! And I want to wish you a Happy New Year!
JenniferF January 2, 2011
This was fantastic and that glaze? Divine! I thought the cake tasted better with time. We ate most of it for brunch yesterday then had a couple of pieces left for breakfast today. Even more delicious!
helicopterina January 2, 2011
made this yesterday -- it was delicious. am always skeptical about sugar amounts and slash 'em...this time i'm thinking that i should have been more respectful and not slashed quite so much (i used 1/2 cup of white sugar instead of full cup, plus the full amount of brown sugar that was called for). totally loved that caramel glaze. a DANGEROUS revelation. am afraid that'll be an evil thing i'll be making again and again...even if just to scoop up by the fingerful :)
Siri P. January 2, 2011
I have loads of applesauce too and was wondering what to do with that. Now, I know.

Thanks M.

lisa_len January 2, 2011
It was delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.
onetribegourmet December 31, 2010
gorgeous cake! can't wait to make it! Happy New Year!
Merrill S. January 1, 2011
Happy New Year to you too! Hope you like it.
Loves P. December 31, 2010
I made this cake last night for an impromptu dinner and it was so good! My husband is having a piece for breakfast at this very moment. The caramel glaze is really fine . Thank you.
Merrill S. January 1, 2011
I'm so glad. And you're very welcome!
helicopterina December 31, 2010
wow - this looks OUTSTANDing....can't wait to try...
Merrill S. January 1, 2011
Thanks so much!
Sagegreen December 30, 2010
This looks like the most wonderfully creative interpretation of a candied apple into a cake!
Merrill S. January 1, 2011
I hadn't thought of it that way -- I like it!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 30, 2010
This looks absolutely wonderful. I love most anything with apples in it, and I love caramel - so this is the perfect recipe for me. I can't wait to try it!!
Merrill S. January 1, 2011
Hope you like it!
likestocooklovestoeat December 30, 2010
This came out of the oven this morning and we're glazing in about an hour - it smells super-delicious. Thanks, Merrill!
likestocooklovestoeat December 30, 2010
Holy cow, the glaze is delicious - the cake cools it off as you pour, so the advice to go slowly is good; you can just barely see that I took a second trip around to fill in some spots.
Merrill S. January 1, 2011
Great tip!