Oh the vegan applesauce cake. You are such a staple to vegans everywhere. Just a quick search of the words vegan applesauce and cake comes up with so many pinterest pins. I’ve read about people in Europe complain about us damned American bakers who keep putting applesauce in our baked goods, and I remember reading in How It All Vegan that applesauce is a great way to replace eggs.
I was a little surprised to see how American this cake is. Applesauce has been put into cakes in the United States back in Colonial New England. But it wasn’t until the depression era that it became a popular ingredient. Now you may be thinking- “I know there are apples in cakes in Europe,” but they are often chopped apples, or layered in the cake. Folding in smashed up apples into a batter is pretty American. There is even a national applesauce cake day in the United States on June 6th. Side note today is national vodka and national taco day. That just seems like such a mistake waiting to happen.
So what about THIS recipe? Well, according to American Cakes, this cake was popular for many reasons. First there was World War I, then the depression, then World War II. Ouch. This particular recipe uses applesauce both as a fat replacement and an egg replacement. It felt like this cake could pop up on some super healthy “clean” food blog, but it is just really economical.
Oddly I have not used applesauce that often in baking. I guess mostly because I don’t really like eating applesauce. Sure I loved it as a kid, but not so much as an adult. Luckily I baked this cake twice so I used up most of the jar. The first time making it I thought it was too sweet. But after a day the sweetness mellows out. I baked it a second time with less sugar, and oil instead of margarine. I posted the recipe with the original amount of sugar but you can easily drop it to 3/4 cup of sugar if you like things not very sweet.
I took the second cake to my Grandmother’s who loved the cake. She also couldn’t get over the fact that you could bake without butter or eggs. I never fully understood why people say this, but I guess I always baked enough to know that not all recipes use butter or eggs. Then my Mother started to confuse my Grandma about how you can use shortening or lard in a recipe. Now she will make me a cake out of lard thinking it is vegan. But she asked for this recipe, and I will happily share. It right up her ally- insanely easy to make.
- 1 cup sugar*
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup raisins
1Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 8x8 baking pan 2In a bowl mix together sugar, oil, and applesauce. 3Sift the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, into the bowl. Stir until mixed in. 4Fold in raisins.** Pour batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. 5Let the cake cool. Serve as is, or top with a little sprinkled powdered sugar. *If you want to make the cake less sweet, reducing the sugar to 3/4 cup will still yield a great tasting cake. **I tried both ways of flouring the raisins and tossing them in. I found the batter is thick enough that the raisins do not sink.