A soft, moist vegan applesauce cake that is naturally sweetened with applesauce, coconut sugar, and dates. This cake has simple ingredients resulting and is ready in less than 35 minutes, resulting in a deliciously, moist bake that is perfect for an afternoon snack or sweet treat.
This vegan applesauce cake is perfect if you are looking for a healthier baking option: it’s low in sugar (with just a few tablespoons of coconut sugar for the whole cake), plus naturally sweetened with dates, unsweetened applesauce, and a maple syrup glaze.
Super easy to make, this cake results in the softest, squidgy-ist texture scattered with chunks of super sweet apples and a subtle cinnamon spice.
More apple bakes you might want to check out include these amazing apple cinnamon buns or this apple loaf cake! Other popular spiced vegan cakes you’ll love are my super-popular vegan ginger cake, and this Vegan Blueberry Cake.
Here are all the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe – scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this page for the exact quantities required. I’ve also added a few possible substitutions if you can’t find a certain ingredient listed here!
Ingredients list for this vegan applesauce cake:
- Apple sauce: Traditional apple sauce (like what you’d have on the dinner table!) is used in this recipe, to provide sweetness, moisture, and that all-important apple taste. Applesauce is essentially just pureed apple – sometimes with a few chunks of apple left in – and is the key ingredient for this recipe!
- Plain all-purpose flour: We use plain flour for this recipe, which is given its height and fluffy texture thanks to the addition of baking powder and baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda).
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Coconut sugar or light brown sugar: I’ve used both coconut sugar and light brown sugar for this applesauce cake and they can be used interchangeably. Both add a delicious sweet, slightly caramel-like taste to the cake that complements the apples beautifully.
- Plant-based milk: Any plant-based milk, such as almond milk or oat milk, will work great for this recipe.
- Cinnamon: You could also add some mixed spice for more flavor.
- Apple cider vinegar: A dash of apple cider vinegar helps give this applesauce cake a lovely light, fluffy texture. Not to be confused or substituted with apple cider!
- Dates & water: Finally, the addition of dates gives this vegan applesauce cake an amazing texture, flavor, and natural sweetness. Use pitted deglet nour dates chopped up as small as you can, if possible.
Substitutions you could use:
- Olive oil: If you don’t have coconut oil, you could substitute this for vegan butter. I would recommend using olive oil instead.
- Whole wheat flour: If you want to add in whole wheat flour, I would recommend subbing it in as half all-purpose flour, and half whole wheat to avoid the cake becoming overly dense. You could also substitute some of the all-purpose flour for oat flour, but again, I wouldn’t recommend completely replacing it as the cake will become very dense.
- Dried fruit: Chopped dried apples, raisins, cranberries, or apricots can be a great addition to this delicious cake.
- Apple fruit filling: If you can’t find applesauce, you could use a chunky apple fruit filling (like the Princes brand) as an alternative.
How To Make This Vegan Applesauce Cake
Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this page for the exact ingredient quantities and step-by-step instructions. In this section, I’ve provided an overview of this vegan applesauce cake recipe along with some process photos to help you visualize how it should turn out!
To make this cake, you’ll need to start by soaking pitted dates to soften them up. The best way to do this is to place them in a small bowl and pour over just enough boiled water to cover the dates.
Leave these to soak for about 10 minutes while you assemble the other ingredients.
Step 2) Mix the dry ingredients
In a large bowl, combine your all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and coconut sugar. If you don’t have coconut sugar, light brown sugar is a perfect substitution that yields similar results.
Step 3) Mix the wet ingredients and combine
In a separate bowl, you’ll mix your wet ingredients: melted (but not hot) coconut oil, applesauce, yogurt, and dates with about a tablespoon of the water, and the apple cider vinegar. You could also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract here.
Tip the wet batter into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Step 4) Bake the applesauce cake
Tip the cake batter into a greased baking tin or loaf pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom, and bake in your preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes.
Step 5) Add the glaze or buttercream
Let the cake cool, before pricking the surface all over with a skewer (this will allow the glaze to seep into the cake and make a deliciously moist applesauce cake. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake when it’s at room temperature and use a spoon to spread it across evenly.
If you’re adding the vanilla cinnamon buttercream instead, make the buttercream while the cake is cooling and spread over the fully-cooled cake before topping with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.
Making The Topping For The Cake
This vegan applesauce cake was first published in 2020 with a sticky maple glaze. I then updated it in early 2024 with the addition of a vanilla cinnamon buttercream topping (which you can see pictured). The original recipe remained the same, so I’ve included options for both toppings and you can choose which you like the look of the most.
To make the vegan buttercream, cream your softened vegan butter and add vegan cream cheese, sifted icing sugar (bit by bit), vanilla essence, and cinnamon until the buttercream reaches a smooth and creamy consistency.
Once your cake has fully cooled, you can slather on the vegan cinnamon buttercream and add a sprinkle of cinnamon over the top to finish.
Storing Your Cake
This vegan applesauce cake will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you have not added the vegan buttercream, you can store it at room temperature and it should last for 4-5 days before turning stale.
You can also freeze the cake, with or without the buttercream. Wrap it tightly in clingwrap and foil and freeze either whole or in individual sections. Defrost the cake fully in the refrigerator before eating.
Why do I need to add apple cider vinegar to this recipe? Can you taste it?
The addition of apple cider vinegar creates a chemical reaction within the cake batter when combined with the baking soda, giving the cake a wonderfully light and fluffy texture. You can’t taste the vinegar once baked.
Can I use fresh diced apples for this recipe instead?
I wouldn’t recommend using fresh diced apples for this recipe as you won’t get the same moisture that the applesauce gives this cake. You could dry this apple loaf cake instead which does use fresh apples.
- 200g plain all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar or light brown sugar
- 90g coconut oil (melted) or olive oil
- 150g applesauce
- 12 dates
- 2 1/2 tbsp soy yoghurt or plant-based milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Vegan Vanilla Cinnamon Buttercream
- 115g/ 1 cup vegan butter, softened
- 80g / 3/4 cup vegan cream cheese
- 180g / 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Preheat the oven to 180° C | 350° F and line a 1-lb loaf tin with baking paper.
- Place your dates (pitted) in a bowl and pour enough just-boiled water over to cover them.
- In the meantime, combine your flour, baking powder, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the oil, apple sauce, yogurt or milk, and dates with about a tablespoon of the water that covered the dates. Add the apple cider vinegar.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, until just combined.
- Pour the batter (it should be fairly thick) into the cake tin and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
- While the cake is cooling, make the buttercream by creaming the vegan butter, then adding the vegan cream cheese, cinnamon, and vanilla essence, and slowly adding the icing sugar until you have reached your desired consistency.
- Slather the vegan buttercream over the fully-cooled applesauce cake and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.
If you're making the sticky glaze instead:
5 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
To make the glaze, simply place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Prick the cake with a skewer a couple of times, and then pour the glaze over the cake, and let it cool for 20 minutes at least before turning out and serving.
This cake will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 - 5 days!
Make sure you don't overmix the batter, and pour the batter into your loaf tin and get it into the oven as quickly as possible - don't leave the cake batter sitting out for long or the cake won't rise as well.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 533Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 3gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 242mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 3gSugar: 48gProtein: 5g
Nutritional information is not always 100% accurate.