Spiced Applesauce Cake

I love to experiment on making bread and cakes that are low-fat and yet without having to sacrifice on taste. Sometimes, low-fat baked products can be like that – low-fat, yes, but tasteless, too or overly sweet to compensate for the lack of fat. Surely, there must be a way where you can still produce a lighter version of a bread or cake but without having to miss its delicious taste. I know it’s possible because I have one recipe that has no oil or butter in it and yet still comes out as amazingly delicious – my Apple Praline Bread. Proof? It’s the second most popular recipe in Manila Spoon and those who have made it have given me great feedback that they simply loved it!

With this in mind, instead of using fresh apples I decided to try using Applesauce (saves me time as well in chopping and peeling apples especially if I use the store-bought one!) paired with Greek yogurt to add flavor and moisture to the cake. To add more texture, extra crunch and nuttiness – I also added some chopped walnuts to the mix and to make it even better have thrown in some raisins for good measure. Of course, I don’t want to fail to mention that all the lovely spices added also give the cake another flavor dimension that shines but does not overpower. I was happy with the overall result. It was moist and flavorful (and the nuts and raisins really worked well!).

Now, if you want a more cake-like texture, feel free to use butter or oil instead of the yogurt. But if it’s a healthier and lower-fat version that you like then the Greek yogurt addition is for you! I love this with tea and I think it’s great as well paired with your early morning coffee.

Can you see all the lovely nuts and raisins above? I think these make the cake really tasty! Enjoy!


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cup greek yogurt (regular or low-fat version)*
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (add an extra 1/8-1/4 cup if you want it really sweet)
1 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
3/4 cup or 3oz chopped walnuts
1/2-3/4 cup raisins
Confectioners’ (icing) sugar for dusting

*If you prefer the regular cake version, you can use  1/2 cup butter (softened or room temp) instead of the yogurt.


Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a round cake pan with a non-stick spray. You may also use a loaf pan if you prefer.

Whisk or sift together all the dry ingredients (flour, leavening agents, spices and salt). Set aside.

Using medium speed on an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, applesauce and yogurt until well combined. Add the brown sugar and vanilla extract (if using) and continue to beat just until everything is mixed well.

If opting to use butter instead, beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the applesauce, yogurt and vanilla extract (if using) and continue to beat just until it’s incorporated.

Turn speed to low and carefully add in the dry ingredients. Scrape the sides with a spatula as you add the flour. Beat just until combined. Do not overbeat. Stop the mixer. Fold in the walnuts and raisins.

Pour the batter into a round cake pan or a loaf pan.  Bake for about 40-45 mins (in a round cake pan – probably 50 minutes or so in a loaf pan) or until a tester comes out clean or with only a few crumbs clinging to it. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan. Transfer to a serving plate and dust with icing sugar, if desired. I love having a slice while it’s still warm and with a cup of tea. If you’re not watching calories – serve warm with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top! Delish!

It will keep for a few days provided you store it in a tightly closed container or tupperware so it doesn’t dry out. Have a slice with your favorite tea or coffee and it’s wonderful with some butter spread on it, too!

If you wish to print the recipe, there’s a print-friendly icon at the end of the post. Click on the “remove images box” for easy printing.

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  1. January 25, 2013 / 2:32 pm

    mmmm this applecake looks so lovely and bonus it is very low fat. Wow. We have an appletree with a lot of apples in the garden and I might try to do it with real apples.

    • January 29, 2013 / 2:50 am

      Am sure the fresh apples would give it a yummy flavor too! Let me know how it works out! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. January 25, 2013 / 5:34 pm

    That's one guilt free cake anyone can try. I had used plain yogurt in muffins, heard lot about using greek yogurt in cakes, but never tried it though. Should try it soon.

    • January 29, 2013 / 2:51 am

      Shibi, it works pretty much the same as the regular one…just a little thicker. I always interchange sour cream and yogurt too – usually whichever is available in my fridge then that gets used. 🙂

  3. February 14, 2013 / 9:18 am

    Wow! now this is what I can call a healthier alternative for other cakes out there because of the yogurt and because of that this is a low fat one and with apples! I love apples! 🙂

    • February 15, 2013 / 3:08 am

      Thank you! Just made this the other day and enjoying its low-fat goodness though I must say I spread some butter on it when I have it as my breakfast bread! 🙂

    • February 24, 2013 / 2:48 am

      Thanks, Daniela. This has become a favorite of mine eversince I have made it.

  4. November 16, 2013 / 7:23 pm

    What's the first most popular Manilla Spoon recipe? You had said this is the second most popular..I made it and it turned out very delicious!

    • March 25, 2015 / 12:31 pm

      It's the Spinach Quiche Cups, Belma. I am so delighted to know you loved the cake. Thanks for the feedback.

    • March 25, 2015 / 12:32 pm

      Please help yourself. Thanks for stopping by Gigi! 🙂

  5. March 25, 2015 / 4:49 am

    Dear Abigail, I often bake with applesauce too..it is a wonderful substitute so I can have my cake and eat it too! This looks marvelous and beautiful. xo, Catherine

    • March 25, 2015 / 12:33 pm

      Thanks Catherine! I love it when I can enjoy cake without feeling much guilt. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. March 25, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    This looks delicious! I'm always looking for more dessert recipes, and being lower in fat is a good thing.

    • March 25, 2015 / 9:21 pm

      That is so true, Renee! I love a dessert I can enjoy without fear. lol. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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