Apple Spice Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 10

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This Apple Spice Cake is a delicious fall dessert made healthier with applesauce, whole wheat flour, and reduced sugar. It’s moist, flavorful, and topped with whipped cream and caramelized apples.

overhead image of one slice of apple cake being removed with server.

I know at most holiday gatherings, pie is the dessert of choice. But I’m a cake girl; not a pie girl.

So, this Apple Spice Cake is my idea of the perfect holiday dessert…and I bet it can convert some pie lovers into cake lovers too.

I mean, a fluffy, moist apple spice cake layered with tender caramelized apples and homemade whipped cream. What’s better than that?

Bonus: it’s lighter and healthier than most desserts, so it’s perfect to enjoy after a big holiday meal!

Love apple desserts as much as I do? Try my Perfect Apple Pie, Cinnamon Apple Muffins, or Fried Apples next!

Ingredients Needed:

ingredients needed for apple spice cake.
  • Canola Oil: oil adds moisture to the cake. Feel free to use any neutral flavored oil you have on hand.
  • Unsweetened Applesauce: adds more apple flavor and natural sweetness.
  • Brown Sugar: brown sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness and keeps the cake nice and moist.
  • Egg: binds everything together to help the cake hold its shape.
  • Vanilla Extract: adds flavor depth and a touch of extra sweetness.
  • Flour: I use a blend of all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour which creates the perfect texture.
  • Baking Soda: keeps the cake light and fluffy.
  • Salt and Cinnamon: salt enhances flavor while cinnamon gives a hint of sweet spice.
  • Caramelized Apples: for the caramelized apples you’ll need a firm apple such as Granny Smith, margarine or butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
  • Whipped Cream: we’re making a simple homemade whip with whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.
apple spice cake with three slices cut.
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How to Make Apple Spice Cake

This holiday cake takes just 20 minutes to prep!

  1. Make the batter: In a bowl, whisk together oil, applesauce, egg, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  2. Bake: Transfer the batter to a greased cake pan, then bake at 350ºF until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Caramelize the apples: In a pan, melt butter, then stir in cinnamon and brown sugar. Add the apples and cook until tender. Cool to room temperature.
  4. Make the whipped cream: Beat the heavy cream with a mixer until soft peaks form, then add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat to stiff peaks.
  5. Assemble the cake: Cut the cake into slices, then serve topped with caramelized apples and homemade whipped cream.

Apple Spice Cake FAQs

What is an Apple Cake made of?

An Apple Cake can be be made a variety of different ways, but this particular Apple Cake is infused with sweet spice from cinnamon, made healthier with natural sweetness from applesauce and brown sugar along with a blend of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour, then topped off with caramelized apples and homemade whipped cream.

What is the best apple for Apple Cake?

When it comes to desserts, I usually prefer a firm, tangier apple such as Granny Smith. I think the tart flavor contrasts with the sweet flavors so well, and it doesn’t become mushy when cooked. However, you can really use any type of apple. Just keep in mind that the flavor and texture of different kinds will vary.

What frosting goes with spice cake?

I like to keep my spice cake light and fresh with a layer of homemade whipped cream as the frosting. If you’re looking for something a little richer, you could try it with Cream Cheese Frosting. You could also skip the whipped topping and serve it with warm caramelized apples.

How to store:

For storing, I recommend keeping the three components separate, then only assembling when you’re ready to serve your cake. The cake itself will last in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge for up to 5 days, or even in the freezer for up to 3 months. The apple topping will last for up to 5 days in the fridge. The whipped cream is best served fresh, so I recommend making it just before you’re ready to serve.

fork taking a bite of apple spice cake on plate.

Tips and Notes

  • Peel the apple. The peel can become chewy when the apple chunks are cooked.
  • Don’t over-mix. Over-mixed batter can dry out and become too dense. Mix only until just combined.
  • Check for doneness. I like to use a toothpick to make sure the cake is done before I pull it out of the oven. Just insert it into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s ready to go. If there are still moist crumbs, it needs a little bit longer to bake.
  • Cool the apples and cake before serving. If they’re hot, the whipped topping will just melt right off.

More Apple Desserts You’ll Love

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Apple Spice Cake (Reduced Sugar)

5 from 30 votes
A moist spice cake made better for you with applesauce, whole wheat flour and reduced sugar, topped with whipped cream and caramelized apples — the perfect holiday treat!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 10
Calories 301cal



  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Caramelized Apples:

  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 large apple peeled and sliced (I like a firm apple like Granny Smith)

Whipped cream:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • CakePreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together canola oil, applesauce, egg, applesauce, brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Add flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk until just combined.
  • Spread into prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
  • Caramelized Apples: In a medium pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cinnamon and brown sugar until combined. Add apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not mushy (cook to your desired texture). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Whipped Cream and Assembly: When cake and apples are cooled to room temperature, make the whipped cream and assemble the cake.
  • To make whipped cream, beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until stiff peaks form.
  • Place cake on serving plate, top with whipped cream and caramelized apples.


*If you want to skip the whipped cream, this cake would be great served warm with warm caramelized apples!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 301cal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 209mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.8mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. marcia says

    Has anyone tried this with cream cheese frosting? I need something that will hold up better, it needs to travel and not be refrigerated.

  2. Alison says

    Today Ashley, I made your recipe again, but turned it into a lemon pound cake–used 1/3 cup less flour and added small box of sugar free lemon pudding mix….placed in loaf pan and baked about 40 minutes instead of the usual 20ish. I forgot to adjust the splenda for the sweetness of the pudding, so it’s a little too sweet–but still, it has a nice lemony flavor. I will use it to make strawberry shortcake for Easter dessert. Thanks again for the recipe!!! I find that it is sooo versatile and makes a delicious, lower sugar/lower fat yummy cake.

    Alison of the us

  3. Alison says

    Hi Ashley, thanks for your recipe. I’m over 50, so I still have to reduce the calories further. With your recipe, I kept everything the same except I added only 3 tablespoons of oil (read it in another recipe), along with a small, finely, shredded zucchini for added moisture, and some walnut pieces. No icing. Still delicious!! Thanks again.


  4. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Ashley! I really wish I had a piece of this right now! I like pumpkin. but apple desserts are my favorite this time of year! This is definitely a keeper! 🙂

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