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Gran’s Apple Cake

My grandmother occasionally brought over this wonderful cake warm from the oven. The spicy apple flavor combined with the sweet cream cheese frosting made this dessert a treasured recipe. Even though I've lightened it up, it's still a family favorite. —Lauris Conrad, Turlock, California
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    18 servings


  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cups chopped peeled tart apples
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 13x9-in. baking pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, beat sugar, eggs, applesauce, oil and vanilla until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture. Fold in apples and pecans.
  • Transfer to prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  • In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar (mixture will be soft). Spread over cake. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition Facts
1 piece: 241 calories, 7g fat (2g saturated fat), 29mg cholesterol, 284mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate (30g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
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  • Sharon
    Apr 25, 2020

    I also am from Turlock my Brother buys about five bags a year from a Farmer in Hughson on Tully Road I wanted to try something different to impress him . I make this today it was very delicious I will share recipe with him the only thing was it called for a large amount of apples I only had two which was plenty for me so I don't think I would ever use 6 cups. I will certainly make again! Thanks for sharing

  • Bonnie
    Jan 29, 2020

    This is delicious. The chopped apples in it are such a nice addition. I used Gala apples, I think about any kind of apple would be good in it. At first when I finished with the batter, I wondered if the 13X9 inch baking pan would be too large, but it wasn't, it was perfect. I made the frosting recipe as written, but when I frosted the cake, it wasn't quite enough. I had enough ingredients to make another batch of frosting, so that is what I did and that made enough to finish frosting the cake, and a little more. I can use the little extra frosting for something else, or freeze it. I am definitely going to make this again and again!

  • Reeva
    Dec 6, 2019

    Made this cake for Thanksgiving and it was great. Reduced sugar to 1 and1/2 cup still plenty sweet. Icing looked minimal but it was the right amount. Delicious keeper.

  • Dkawaller
    Nov 20, 2019

    Very nice moist cake. Wonderful flavors. I added some raisins which added even more flavor. I agree that the icing isn’t enough for the whole cake. I baked my cake in two 8” X 8” square cake pans and ended up using all the icing from the recipe on one cake. My guests raved about the cake. I froze the other cake for a later date and will just make another batch of icing. Definitely a keeper.

  • mjkrohn
    Nov 13, 2019

    Delicious, moist, very easy cake to make. Since my husband doesn’t like frosting, I made a streusel topping doe the cake and added it during the baking time. Wouldn’t change a thing and I used golden delicious since I had a bushel of them to work up. This is a keeper and will make again.

  • MarineMom_texas
    Oct 9, 2019

    I prepared this cake to take to a meeting and it was a huge hit. I used 3 large Granny Smith apples to equal 6 cups and doubled the icing recipe per other reviews. It worked. No other changes. It has a subtle cinnamon flavor so if you want more, feel free to add more cinnamon. This is a delicious cake. Volunteer Field Editor

  • 12Knights4Mari
    Oct 4, 2019

    I cut the recipe in half and baked it in a 8” square baking dish. I did not cut the frosting in half because of the comments and I’m so glad I didn’t because it was just the right amount for half a cake. It is not overly sweet and complements the cake perfectly. I was worried the apples would come out underdone so I diced them very small. It was very delicious and a keeper. Will make this many more times I am sure. ????

  • cshenry1
    Sep 24, 2019

    I am happy to see a reduced fat version of this cake. Since you can substitute applesauce for vegetable oil in cakes, it seems logical you could substitute vegetable oil or butter back into the cake for anyone who wants closer to the original version. The reduced fat version tastes great! I made half of the cake in an 8 x 8 pan. I was using apples that I already had (Gala) so I added about a teaspoon of lemon juice for tartness. That worked well. One could easily substitute ice cream for whipped cream instead of the frosting.

  • Cargram
    Sep 14, 2019

    No~~ my Gram also would be shocked about reduced fat in anything. However, Laauris noted above that she had lightened up the recipe to start with. Looks great so I will try it.

  • Dave_A
    Jul 27, 2019

    gramcayo,,, I agree with you. As I read the recipe, I thought, "My grandmother, never knew what reduced fat was"!