Applesauce Spice Cake

Two layer applesauce spice cake is moist and tender because of buttermilk. Top with a homemade cream cheese frosting. Simply beautiful!

Have you ever used applesauce in a cake? It’s one of my favorite additions for flavor and texture. Applesauce keeps cake moist and is a great low-fat replacement for oil in cakes.

This two layer Applesauce Spice Cake has a hint of apple that pairs so well with the warm spices that traditionally make up spice cake. And cream cheese frosting is always a welcome topping.

a piece of two layer spice cake on a plate

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • 100% homemade spice cake and cream cheese frosting.
  • Applesauce and buttermilk add flavor and keep the cake moist.
  • Ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves add a warm flavor to the cake.
  • Makes a tall 8″ cake.

Tips for Making Applesauce Spice Cake

  • Use our cake release in the baking pans to ensure the cakes come out cleanly.
  • Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately first. This will ensure the ingredients get combined well and also prevent over mixing the batter.
  • Use a food scale to get even amounts of batter in both pans. If you don’t have one, you can just eyeball it, but a food scale is great for getting even layers.
  • Another way to get flat layers without domed tops is to use Wilton Bake Even Cake strips. It sounds odd, but they really work!

Frosting Ideas

This frosting is simple and delicious. The flavor pairs wonderfully with our spice cake. If you’re looking for a different option, try one of these:

Storage Instructions

With the cream cheese in the frosting, this cake must be stored in the refrigerator. If you haven’t iced the cake, the cake itself can sit out at room temperature for up to 3 days (wrapped tightly in plastic food wrap). Once it’s frosted though, it must be stored in the fridge.

To freeze: Store in a sealed food safe container for up to 2 months in the freezer. Bring back to room temperature before eating.

Cupcakes and 9×13 Cakes

Although this cake will work as cupcakes, I’ve not yet tried that so I’m not sure how many cupcakes you’d get out of this recipe. If you try it as cupcakes, let us know in the comments below.

Instead of a 2-layer cake, can this spice cake be made as a sheet cake? Yes but you’ll have to adjust the baking time accordingly. For a 9” x 13” cake, I’d suggest starting to test the cake for doneness after the first 30 minutes.

a slice of two layer spice cake on a plate
a slice of two layer spice cake on a plate

Applesauce Spice Cake

4.73 from 11 votes
Servings 15
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes


For the cake:

For the frosting:


Make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Spray two round 8” cake pans well with non-stick cooking spray then cut out two circles of parchment paper to go in bottom of each pan. Set pans aside for now.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Set aside for now.
  • In a separate large bowl, beat together brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract. Beat just until mixed (about 1 minute).
  • Add half the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat just until mixed.
  • Add all the buttermilk to the wet mixture and beat just until combined.
  • Add the last half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat just until mixed. Do not overmix.
  • Pour batter evenly into each cake pan. If you have a food scale, this can be a handy tool to make sure you have the same amount of batter in each pan.
  • Optional: Use wet Wilton Bake Even cake strips around each cake pan to ensure even baking from outside to middle of cake.
  • Bake cakes for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middles of cakes comes out clean. When testing for doneness with a toothpick, there should be no raw batter on the toothpick.
  • Let cakes cool in cake pans on top of stove for 20 minutes before removing from pans and transferring to wire rack to cool completely before frosting. If cake is sticking to sides of pan, lightly run a table knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake.

Make the frosting:

  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  • Beat in unsalted butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  • Before layering cakes, use a serrated knife to cut off raised tops of cakes so you have two flat layers.
  • Start by placing one layer of cake onto cake plate or cardboard cake circle.
  • Add icing to the top of this layer that will be used to stick the two layers together. This doesn’t have to be a thick layer.
  • Next put the second cake layer on top of the first layer. This second layer should have the bottom facing up since that will be a smooth top.
  • Using an angled icing spatula, frost all sides and top with a thin layer of frosting. This is called a crumb coat and will help seal in the crumbs before the top coat of frosting. Put the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes to allow this to harden before adding the final layer of frosting.
  • Remove cake from freezer and add a second thicker layer of icing to sides and top of cake. Use a cake side scraper (optional) to smooth out sides and top of cake.
  • Optional, use an icing bag and star tip to make dollops of frosting along the top and bottom rims of cake.
  • Store cake leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**


Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 185mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 496IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 455
Keyword buttermilk spice cake, easy layer cake, spice cake recipe

Spice Cake Recipes

Try one of our many homemade spice cake recipes.

About Julie Clark

We are Julie, Maddie, and Kinslee – a mother and daughter team sharing with you the best cakes to satisfy any need or sweet craving that you may have. Welcome to our family’s kitchen!

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5 stars
Can’t wait to to make some of these recipes especially the summer recipes!! I’ll be making them for myself and my Aide.

And the Fall and Winter recipes will be make amazing Christmas Gifts. I can’t wait to fill my home with the aroma of all the the spices in theses recipes.

I do have a question do you have diabetic recipes? I know you have sugarless with a substitute for the sugar but I don’t know if someone who is a diabetic is able to eat them . I look forward to hearing back from you.