Can Applesauce Cake Be Made Gluten-Free?

Applesauce cake is familiar to many American households as a quick, inexpensive light dessert or coffee cake served for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Its origins go back to Colonial America, but it was popularized during World War I because it was easy to make without using butter, eggs, cream, or other rationed foods, according to National Today

The dessert is tasty and straightforward to make, and according to MasterClass, the essential ingredients are unsweetened applesauce, flour, sugar, and eggs. Of course, there are all kinds of takes on the basic recipe, like adding cinnamon, nuts, or honey. Applesauce is a useful ingredient, particularly in baking, so it's no surprise that this simple recipe can be adjusted in several ways, and while the original recipes call for regular wheat flour, gluten-free flour can be easily substituted since the internal structure of the cake depends mainly on the leavening agent, baking soda.

Gluten-Free and Tasty

There are many gluten-free flour alternatives for baking, and since applesauce cake is adaptable by nature, it can theoretically be made with any number of them. But those that have done any gluten-free baking know that some tinkering is always involved, as each non-wheat flour is idiosyncratic. Rice flour is a popular choice, but it can be on the gritty side and doesn't absorb liquids as well as wheat flour. Garbanzo bean flour has a nearly identical texture to wheat flour, but its bitterness must be cut with extra sugar, or in this case, sweetened applesauce. 

If you're not relying on a specific g-free recipe, or it's your first foray into gluten-free baking, the easiest way to make applesauce cake gluten-free is use an existing recipe and simply swap out regular all-purpose flour with a 1-1 all-purpose gluten-free flour. Healthy Seasonal Recipes suggests replacing all-purpose flour with brown rice flour, which adds a nutty and toasty flavor, and absorbs the moisture of the applesauce well. 

Applesauce cake is a dish that has stood the test of time and can be adjusted in everything from ingredient add-ins to its most basic ingredients. If you're watching your gluten intake, and want a dish that can be adjusted to your taste, give this one a go.