Make this moist vegan applesauce cake with raisins and cinnamon maple frosting all autumn! Learn how to make easy gluten free paleo applesauce cake from scratch with one bowl and 20 minutes prep. The recipe tastes like grandma’s old-fashioned cake and you can’t go wrong with this healthy flourless applesauce cake and vegan icing.
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Gluten-free paleo vegan applesauce cake recipe
Add this healthy applesauce cake recipe to your fall baking list, because tis the season for apple recipes! Vegan applesauce cake is another classic recipe that was inspired by my grandmother’s baking. I took her old-fashioned applesauce recipe and change a few ingredients to make it vegan, refined sugar free, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly.
Even if you aren’t following a specific diet, you will love this delicious healthy flour-less applesauce cake.
And you have to try it with vegan cinnamon maple frosting! The moist applesauce cake contrasts nicely with the decadent paleo icing, making one of the best applesauce cake recipes I’ve ever had. The gluten-free cake also freezes well, making it a great batch cooking recipe.
This healthy applesauce spice applesauce cake is also a delicious treat for bake sales and an excellent food gift idea for friends, co-workers or helpful neighbours.
Old-fashioned applesauce cake with raisins
My grandma’s recipe for a applesauce raisin cake. The raisins provide sweetness and a lovely change in texture when you take a bite. The dried fruit also allows to cut back on sugar and make this applesauce cake low carb.
Some people do not like raisins. So, if you prefer applesauce cake without raisins, simply leave them out of the recipe or use dried apricots or cranberries instead.
I used homemade applesauce and apple pie spice mix to bake this real simple applesauce cake. Of course, you can easily use store-bought unsweetened applesauce and a pre-made spice mix. Make sure the applesauce is unsweetened – otherwise the cake will be very sweet.
How to make applesauce cake
This scrumptious gluten-free vegan applesauce cake is super easy to make! Here are the simple steps:
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C / gas mark 4 and line a 12 in x 8 in / 30 cm x 20 cm baking pan / tin with parchment / baking paper.
Make the applesauce cake batter
Cream the palm shortening and maple sugar with an electric mixer. Then add the apple pie spice and applesauce and mix to combine. If you want to make a paleo applesauce cake with an egg, add it now and incorporate well.
Tip: I used palm shortening in the vegan applesauce cake, which has a neutral taste and is spreadable even refrigerated. If using coconut oil, allow it to soften on the counter for a bit. The oil shouldn’t be liquid just soft enough to be creamed.
Add the baking flour, baking powder, and raisins. Stir to combine.
Bake the applesauce cake
Transfer the vegan cake batter into the baking pan / tin and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until cooked through. Everyone’s oven is different so the exact baking time can vary. The grain-free paleo applesauce cake is done, when an inserted cake tester or skewer comes out clean.
Let the cake cool before icing, as the frosting will melt on warm cake.
How to make the cinnamon maple frosting – Easy icing for applesauce cake
This cinnamon maple frosting is vegan, paleo, and most of all super simple! You can make the vegan cinnamon frosting while the applesauce cake is baking.
I used maple sugar and palm shortening, which can be substituted for softened coconut oil. If you don’t like the coconut flavour, use refined coconut oil. Maple sugar gives this gluten-free frosting recipe a rich caramel-maple taste. I don’t think maple syrup would work here, as the liquid will change the consistency and texture too much. You can, however, sub maple sugar for coconut sugar or brown sugar if not paleo.
I love a flavourful spice frosting and added 2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice. But you can adjust the amount to your taste and use less, e.g. 1 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice.
How to make maple cinnamon icing
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the shortening, maple sugar, cinnamon, apple pie spice and vanilla extract.
- Whip on high for 8 to 10 minutes until soft and fluffy. Beating the frosting for longer than 5 minutes creates an airy and smooth texture.
Paleo vegan applesauce cake substitutions
You can customise the recipe depending whether you want your healthy flourless applesauce cake to be vegan, paleo, or vegan and paleo. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- flour – I used a homemade gluten free paleo flour with almond flour, cassava flour, and coconut flour. You can also use a pre-made paleo baking flour from Kind Arthur Flour or Bob’s Red Mill. If your gluten free applesauce cake doesn’t have to be paleo, gluten-free flour is fine to use as well.
- fat – I used neutral tasting palm shortening, but coconut oil or ghee are fine, too. You can also use softened butter if dairy-free isn’t a concern.
- sugar – Maple sugar or coconut sugar can be used interchangeably. If not paleo, brown sugar is a good option, too.
- egg – If you’re paleo and can tolerate eggs in your diet, I recommend to use 1 egg in the recipe.
Tip for the best applesauce cake recipe
I truly want you to enjoy the best applesauce cake! I tested this cake recipe with applesauce many times and found that:
- a vegan gluten-free applesauce cake works best if gluten-free flour is used (won’t be paleo)
- a paleo applesauce cake turns out best if 1 egg is added to the batter (won’t be vegan)
- a vegan paleo applesauce cake without eggs and made with paleo baking flower is slightly more dense and crumblier than the other versions above but still very delicious.
How can I customize this applesauce spice cake?
If you want to create some flavour variations for this applesauce raisin cake, here are a few suggestions how you can customize this easy applesauce cake recipe:
- nuts – Chopped nuts will add a tasty crunch to this vegan cake. Pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts would all be great.
- dried fruits – If raisins seem boring to you, swap them for dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots or other dried fruit.
- spices – Apple pie spice gives this cake a complex and rich flavour. If you don’t have this spice blend, mix together 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/8 tsp of each ground allspice, ground nutmeg and ground ginger. Alternatively, use pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon.
How do you store vegan applesauce cake?
If you want to store the gluten-free cake recipe only for a day, store the cake bars on a plate covered loosely with plastic wrap / cling film or tin foil.
To store vegan applesauce spice cake longer than a day, put the paleo cake slices into an airtight food container so that the cake doesn’t dry out. Applesauce cake will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze applesauce cake?
Yes, you can freeze this dairy-free applesauce cake with icing or without it.
If unfrosted, cut the vegan applesauce cake recipe into bars and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap / cling film or tin foil. Then place in a storage container or freezer bag. To warm it up, heat the unwrapped cake in the oven or microwave.
Before you freeze applesauce cake with frosting, chill the cake in the refrigerator so the icing can harden before wrapping and being frozen. Iced applesauce spice cake has to defrost in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for a couple of hours. Heating would melt the frosting, so I don’t recommended it.
Tools to make applesauce cake
Tab or click the links below to shop the tools used to make this applesauce cake recipe:
- baking pan / tin
- parchment / baking paper
- mixer – I used a hand-held mixer, a stand mixer can be used as well.
- mixing bowls
- offset spatula – An offset spatula make it easy to ice the cake with frosting.
More healthy recipes with apples
With autumn in full swing, why not try more delicious and healthy apple recipes? I just can’t get enough of healthy apple desserts, so here are a few more recipes with apples you can try:
- DIY apple pie spice
- homemade apple sauce
- crunchy apple crumble
- apple pie energy bites with cranberries
- tasty apple hand pies
- easy apple cider
Over to you!
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Your recipes are so useful ,apart from being vegan ,you list all the 3 main measurements . I live in the UK and hate metric which I refuse to use . I love the good old imperial measurements I grew up with. I used to live in the USA so I am familiar with your measurements which are virtually the same ,except for gallons being slightly smaller.
Now I am about to make your Apple Cake !
Hi Marion! I can relate. We have family in USA, UK and Ireland, so we gotten into the habit to provide various measurements to accommodate everyone. Happy baking!
I made this tonight with coconut oil, coconut sugar and coconut flour. The flavor was great but the texture was very dry and crumbly. I noticed the comment below about the flour? So is it supposed to be 1/2 of flour instead of 2 cups of flour?
Hi Tammy! Thank you for trying the recipe and I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the taste. The comment below was about coconut oil.
The cake was dry and crumbly because you seemed to have used pure coconut flour. Coconut flour is extremely absorbent, which is why it isn’t possible to use coconut flour as a 1-to-1 substitute for other flours in a recipe. I used a blend of almond flour, cassava flour and coconut flour.
If you make the recipe again, try this blend and I’m sure the cake will turn out great!
2 cup / 115 g / 4 oz palm shortening (can sub for softened coconut oil)
That is incorrect.
115 grams or 4 ounces of palm shortening is only a 1/2 (HALF) cup…NOT 2 cups!
Thank you so much for catching that, Monika! It was a typo, 1/2 cup is correct.
That frosting looks amazing – so rich and creamy! I’m not vegan, but this delicious-looking recipe has me wanting to make a vegan dessert!
Thank you so much, Kyla! This is one of those treats where you won’t even notice it’s vegan.