Nana’s Applesauce Cake

applesauce cake

Recipes like this are the reason we initially started The Keenan Cookbook; to archive and share our family recipes. Rachel and I have expanded upon that idea over the past year, enjoying this hobby together, cooking new dishes, photographing them, meeting other food bloggers. But at the fundamental level, our website still retains that original mission; archiving our family recipes.

applesauce cake

I love when recipes have a story, memory, or association with them. I’ve shared some of those associations (Panera French Onion Soup or Apple Cider Muffins). This Applesauce Cake will always be associated with my Grandmother, Nana.



That’s me with Nana. Featured is her family famous Applesauce Cake. Would you believe that at 92 years of age (yesterday was her birthday!) she is still baking? Applesauce Cake and Chocolate Chip Cookies are her most common go-to recipes these days, as they’re not only quick and easy to make, but also her most requested from all of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Baby Boy is too young to appreciate Nana’s baking, but he loves sitting on her lap and bouncing away.

applesauce cake


Nana baked this applesauce cake for me because she knows I love it. I always tell her not to go to the trouble, but she enjoys baking and sharing with her family. She learned this recipe from her mother, who was an off-the-boat Italian (literally – she learned to walk on the boat). My great grandmother cooked and baked. Nana and my Mom bake. I bake. Some day, I hope, Baby Boy will bake too. And so on it goes, recipes passing along from one family member to the next.



Nana told me she used to put this cake in the oven right before her soap opera , All My Children, came on and that she would take it out an hour later when the show ended. That’s how she knew when it was done. Well, they took that show off the air last month (Nana had been watching it since it first started in 1970) but Nana still bakes – she uses the oven timer now. :)


We aren’t the type of family to keep our recipes locked away, only accessible after years of patient waiting and a swearing to secrecy (but if you really want I’ll teach you the secret handshake). We like to share, as good food is meant to be. So today, on Nana’s birthday, we share this very special recipe from a very special lady. We wish Nana good health and good happiness, and perhaps, if she doesn’t mind, more Applesauce Cake in the year to come. Happy Birthday Nana! :)

Recipe: Nana’s Applesauce Cake


  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cup apple sauce (Nana recommends one with Apple chunks in it)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir well.
  5. Turn into a well buttered loaf pan and bake one hour, until toothpick comes out clean.

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

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