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Nana’s Applesauce Cake

Comments : 21 Posted in : Dessert on by : Chris Tags: , , , ,

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)


21 thoughts

    • Chris
      October 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Yes! Especially if you use the applesauce with the chunks of apple in it. Mmmm… 🙂

  • October 18, 2011 at 11:43 am

    sounds delicious! i love that y’all are so open about sharing your treasured family recipes, + stories about the recipes, with all of us. happy birthday to your amazing baking nana!

    • Chris
      October 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Amy! I believe good food should be shared 🙂

  • October 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I’m loving the image of your nana timing her applesauce cake to All my Children. Be a good grandson and buy her the DVDs so she doesn’t have to use the oven timer!! 🙂

    • Chris
      October 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      We offered to get her an iPad and internet so she could watch them online. She told us to “get out of here” – I think she’d get a kick out of it though. So would her friends 🙂

  • October 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I like that you are making about family recipes. She looks great for 92 yrs old!

    • Chris
      October 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks Helene! And she’s still as sharp as when I was a little boy. She always catches you if you mutter something under your breath 😉

  • October 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Love this post! Your Nana must be the sweetest! I live far away from my grandmother and miss her something awful. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it looks delicious.

    • Chris
      October 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      Thanks Miss 🙂 We count ourselves lucky and blessed that Nana lives so close and is in good health. Love that Baby Boy gets the chance to visit with her.

  • Dana B
    October 18, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    wow! She looks great! That is awesome that she’s still baking. Grandma’s are great for baking inspiration, aren’t they? 🙂 My Grandma passed many years ago, but I still here her every time I beat egg whites 🙂 Does this cake freeze well? Looks like it might.

    • Chris
      October 19, 2011 at 8:09 am

      Grandma’s are indeed great inspiration for baking. I think that’s great that you are reminded of her when you beat egg whites. It’s those little memories like that that keep our loved ones in our thoughts long after they have left us.

      This cake does indeed freeze well. We usually cut the cake up and freeze portions, so we can enjoy over the weeks.

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  • Deb
    October 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I adore recipes passed down through generations, they are always delicious! Your Grandmother’s Applesauce Cake looks very appealing, especially now during apple harvest time. And I’m planning on making applesauce next week, perfect timing!

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  • Lynn
    April 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I have never before heard of apple sauce cake until my husband brought it up. Said his grandma use to make it and he really missed it. I love to bake and create so this will be easy and fun.

  • Debra
    February 10, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    I’ve been looking for an applesauce recipe for an hour.Out of them all, the picture of your Nana’s cake caught my eye, then after reading your how your family always requested it, I thought THAT’s THE ONE! Now I start

    • Chris
      February 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Enjoy!

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