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2000s Recipes + Menus

Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves6
  • Active time:20 min
  • Start to finish:3 1/2 hr (includes cooling)
October 2009
This is the cake you want on a cool Sunday evening in October, after you’ve just finished eating your first beef stew of the season. It’s full of the flavors everyone craves once the mercury dips below 50 degrees—brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. The swath of spiced cream cheese frosting is as easy to make as it is delicious.

For cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional), toasted (see Tips), cooled, and chopped

For frosting

  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan.

Make cake:

  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  • Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts (if using).
  • Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely.

Make frosting:

  • Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
  • Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.
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