This delicious applesauce walnut cake recipe is lightly spiced but full of warm and cozy flavors. Gooey, moist and full of texture, this apple cake is full of flavor and can easily be made all fall and winter long. This recipe uses applesauce instead of fresh apples while still packing tons of flavor.
The Best Apple Walnut Cake Recipe
A chill settles in the air, and I’ve got apples on my mind. It starts in fall, but really this cozy apple walnut cake is welcome on the table any time.
Most years we make a ton of homemade applesauce, and all fall and winter I’m dreaming up ways to include them in my recipes. That’s exactly how these banana chocolate chip mini muffins were born also!
How To Make Apple Walnut Cake
But today it’s all about the apple so grab a large bowl to mix up the batter. To make apple walnut cake we’re going to mix our wet ingredients, then our dry flours and spices, and lastly our walnuts, dates and raisins.
Start with whipping your wet ingredients together with an electric mixer or a whisk.
The electric mixer makes it a little easier to combine the butter and brown sugar.
Brown sugar will also make this cake a little chewy. Then you start adding your other wet ingredients like eggs, applesauce and lemon juice.
Love cozy Fall desserts? You have to try my Easy Apple Dessert pizza, yum! Also check out some of my favorite pumpkin desserts too, delicious! Or just skip the line and dive into my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies, soft and delicious!
After that add your dry ingredients like flour, baking soda and spices. Mix them well with either an electric hand mixer on low to start or a spatula.
You also have a bit of crunch from the walnuts, really you can’t beat the texture in this cake. Add walnuts, raisins and dates to give this cake lots of texture.
Walnuts, raisins and dates are all optional, or you can mix and match if you like one but not another.
Add your batter to your already greased pan. Bake, andd soon the smell of warm apple walnut cake will fill the house. Yum!
I’ve made this cake both by greasing the pan, and by adding parchment paper. Parchment paper makes it much easier to lift the cake out of the pan and your cake won’t get stuck in the pan. Check out this article for more info about baking with parchment paper and why you should!
Nibble on a slice of this apple walnut cake with a cup of coffee for the adults and a glass of cold milk or warm cocoa for the kids. It’s super cozy when you’re having friends over and is pretty easy to make ahead.
If you were to ask my kid what her favorite dessert is she will pick chocolate every time. But after making this gooey warm cake once or twice, it didn’t take long for her to warm up to this old fashioned style apple cake that the adults love too.
Can I Make This Applesauce Walnut Cake In A Bundt Pan?
Traditionally a cake like this apple walnut cake is often made in a bundt pan and this recipe can be made in a bundt pan too.
I tend to stick with a rectangle pan because the bundt pan often takes a little longer to cook. You may need to add a little bit of extra time to the cooking time for this recipe if you choose to make this recipe in a bundt pan as it’s a deeper pan.
Watch your cake carefully at the end and check it often so it doesn’t burn! You’re aiming for your cake to have a nice golden brown.
A bundt pan makes for a thicker cake, but it does look beautiful to take to someone’s house.
Can you Use Fresh Apples In This Apple Walnut Cake?
When you make this apple walnut cake, I highly recommend not using fresh apples. Apples have water in them and it’s a slightly different water ratio then applesauce has. I would stick with applesauce in this recipe and not substitute it.
If you have fresh apples, you could make a simple batch of applesauce to cook with. Here’s a super easy recipe for applesauce from Choose My Plate website. You can leave out the sweetener if making homemade applesauce, the cake will be plenty sweet without it.
We sweeten homemade unsweetened applesauce at the table with a little honey anyways at our house.
How Long Does this Applesauce Cake stay fresh?
Apple cake will keep for 2-3 days on the counter. I can sometimes extend it to 3-4 days if I keep it in the refrigerator and warm the cake up before serving. If you are planning on serving this cake past four days I recommend freezing extra slices of your cake.
Can You Freeze This Apple Walnut Cake Recipe?
You can freeze this apple walnut cake recipe in slices after it’s been baked. If you choose to freeze part of this cake, I would recommend leaving the powdered sugar off the top of the portions you plan to freeze. The powdered sugar topping just won’t come out the same when you reheat.
I suggest wrapping slices of it in freezer paper. When reheating, you can leave on the counter for the next day. I also like reheating slices of this cake in the toaster oven.
How Do You Dust A Cake With Powdered Sugar So It Doesn’t Clump And Is Even?
To dust your cake with powdered sugar, first put the powdered sugar in a small bowl and break up any large clumps with a fork.
Add powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time to a sieve, flour sifter or fine mesh strainer.
A splatter screen or a clean tea strainer ball can also be used in a pinch!
Gently tap or sift sugar so it falls through the mesh on to your cake. The sifting or mesh will help you to have a thin but even layer of powdered sugar on your cake.
Don’t feel like the powdered sugar needs to be perfectly even as it won’t matter after you cut the cake. Less is definitely more with this powdered sugar topping.
My grandmother used to lay a clean paper doily on her cake and then add the powdered sugar so there was a pretty pattern on her cake. Maybe that’s a little old fashioned but I do have a few heart-shaped doilys from Valentine’s Day around.
While I haven’t tried a doily I did once cut out the shape of a rabbit out of thin cardboard at easter to make a stencil for the powdered sugar. You could lay down an apple shape, hearts, or whatever shape sounds pretty!
Do I have to add the powdered sugar?
Nope, the powdered sugar is totally optional and the cake is totally delicious without it.
What Else Could I Add To The Top Of The Cake?
When my child was a toddler, I didn’t want dry powdered sugar everywhere. Instead I mixed a few tablespoons of powdered sugar with a tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of vanilla to create a quick drizzle across my apple walnut cake.
You can also dice little extra nuts, dates and/or raisins to sprinkle across the top of the cake. This cake is also delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or even a little whipped cream.
Applesauce Walnut Cake
- ½ cup room temperature butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- ½ cup dates chopped
- ½ cup raisins
- Powdered sugar for serving if desired
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Spray a 7 inch x 11 inch pan with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl cream together the brown sugar and butter until combined well using an electric mixer, or a whisk or fork if by hand.
- Add the eggs, applesauce and lemon juice and continue stirring with a mixer or spatula until well mixed.
- Next add your dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt. Gently mix in an electric mixer or with a spatula until a batter forms.
- Now stir in the nuts, dates and raisins until just combined to give your cake a delicious texture.
- Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Test to make sure your cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the cake. It should come out clean with no batter clinging to it. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to decorate if desired (see notes for tips).
- Nuts, dates and raisins are all optional in this recipe, but give your apple walnut cake a great texture.
- To decorate cake with powdered sugar, sprinkle sugar through a sieve, flour sifter or extra-fine strainer. Taking this extra step makes sure the sugar will dust both lightly and evenly without clumps.