Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese & Honey Frosting

It's a one-bowl dessert perfect for fall entertaining, holiday feasting or just snacking on alone
37 Ratings
67% would make again
How to Make Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese & Honey Frosting
Photo: David Loftus

In her latest book, Now & Again, the ever-relatable and always dependable Julia Turshen delivers once again. The focus is on seasonal menus that come together in a breeze, with tips on how to retool the recipes for leftovers that won't make you wish you'd ordered a pizza instead.

This one-bowl, one-pan cake is an obvious choice for a Rosh Hashanah dessert, but it's a good back-pocket recipe to have year-round. You can bake the cake a day ahead of time and leave it wrapped in plastic at room temperature—then frost it a few hours before you're ready to serve.

Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese + Honey Frosting

Reprinted from Now & Again by Julia Turshen with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes


For the Cake

2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup (100 grams) sugar

½ cup (120 mL) buttermilk or (120 grams) plain yogurt

1½ cups (400 grams) unsweetened applesauce

⅓ cup (80 mL) canola or other neutral oil

For the Frosting

6 ounces (170 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons sour cream

¼ cup (85 grams) honey

Pinch of kosher salt


1. To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-in (23-cm) round cake pan with baking spray and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Set the pan aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and baking soda. Add the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, applesauce, and oil and whisk gently just until everything is combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared pan and then smooth the surface so it is even.

3. Bake the cake until it is just barely firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Set the cake aside on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

4. Use a dinner knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan sides and then invert it onto your work surface. Peel off and discard the parchment. Invert the cake one more time onto a serving platter.

5. To make the frosting: In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, honey, and salt and whisk together aggressively until the cream cheese is slightly aerated (you can also do this with a handheld electric mixer or in a stand mixer).

6. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake and don't worry too much about making this perfect. I think a not-too-perfect cake is so much better than a perfect cake. Cut into wedges and serve. Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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