Grandma's Applesauce Cake Recipe

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This moist cake recipe is a treasured heirloom passed down from my Grandma Stuit, who cooked for a family of 13 during the Depression. At reunions, it's the first dessert gone...including the crumbs! —Joanie Jager, Lynden, Washington
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.
MAKES:12-16 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min.
MAKES: 12-16 servings


  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups applesauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 piece) equals 282 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 13 mg cholesterol, 237 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.


  1. Place raisins and hot water in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and spices; add to creamed mixture alternately with applesauce and water. Drain raisins; fold into batter with the walnuts.
  3. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 300° for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Place pan on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Serve warm or cold. Yield: 12-16 servings.
Originally published as Grandma's Applesauce Cake in Grandma's Great Desserts Cookbook 1992, p21

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Reviewed Nov. 24, 2015

"My husband enjoyed this moist tasty cake. I soaked the raisins in apple juice instead of water. I also drizzled it with a glaze made with powdered sugar and apple juice."

Reviewed Dec. 18, 2014

"This is basically the same recipe that my mother-in-law has made for years. Her directions are slightly different. She always added the baking soda to the 1/2 c of boiling water. I was wondering if anyone has made this using less sugar? I love it but it is so sweet. I also bake this at 325, not 300. It usually takes about 55 mins."

Reviewed Jul. 16, 2014

"This was an awesome cake. Tasted just like my mom's recipe. I made it for my dad's birthday for the first time. I added 2 eggs instead of 1 and baked at 340 degrees for 40 minutes then turn oven down to 300 and baked another 20 minutes. Came out perfect. It has a lot of moisture so it does take longer to bake than a normal cake but the results are pleasing. It definitely is moist and requires no frosting because it is very sweet. I just topped with a little lite cool whip and it was just enough to complete it. the raisins and nuts gave it such a great contrast of texture, It wouldn't be the same cake with out them . My tip to you: spray your knife with a little nonstick spray before cutting so that you don't tear your cake up. All the sugar and moisture in the cake makes it stick. Enjoy."

Reviewed Oct. 20, 2012

"The taste of very good, but I had trouble with the baking time/ it really 300 for 40 minutes? I baked it 55 minutes and it was still not really done."

Reviewed Sep. 4, 2012

"I loved this recipe. I substituted a cup of diced apples for the nuts. Super moist and delicious!"

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