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Spiced Applesauce Cake with Buttermilk Caramel Sauce

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 10 Minute Buttermilk Caramel Sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8” or 9” square cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Then, beat in the applesauce.
  5. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Expect the mixture to look a bit curdled. This is normal.
  6. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. (If you're making the caramel sauce, you can start it once the cake is in the oven or even while its cooling. It will be done in plenty of time to top the cake.)
  7. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife and remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  8. Top each serving with warm caramel sauce, if desired.

Recipe Notes

*Store plain cake (without caramel sauce on it) in a covered container at room temperature.

*Caramel sauce should be refrigerated separately.

*See sauce recipe for further storage details.

*This cake stays moist for at least three days and probably more, but it rarely lasts that long in our house.

Cake Adapted from Smitten Kitchen