Apple Spice Birthday Cake



Dan turned 25 on Thanksgiving. Twenty-five! Why is it that 25 sounds so much older than 24?

It seems that a 25th birthday is one of the last “milestone” birthdays. At 16, you can drive. At 18, you can vote and enlist in the army. At 21, you can legally drink. And at 25? You can rent a car without paying nearly double in “under 25 fees.”

You can also apparently run for Congress. Dan is already hard at work preparing for his campaign. Or not.

Okay, I lied. Twenty-five isn’t the last “milestone” birthday. At thirty, you can run for Senate; President at thirty-five. But if you’re an engineer and more technically-inclined, I don’t know if those really count.

Whether he’s celebrating a “milestone” birthday or a regular birthday, I make applesauce spice cake for Dan’s birthday every year. This year, his birthday was even on Thanksgiving and we were celebrating the holiday with my uncle who had a birthday 2 days prior, so we cut back to 1 pie and replaced the second with a cake. As usual, Dan requested apple spice cake for dessert.


Apple Spice Birthday Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 1 9″ round cake

Apple Spice Birthday Cake

This birthday spice cake can be made with either 4 egg whites or 2 whole eggs. If you want to serve it with maple pecan ice cream, go for the egg whites; the ice cream recipe conveniently calls for 4 egg yolks so no whites or yolks go to waste.


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs or 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9″ round cake pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and beat until all the sugar is incorporated into the butter.
  4. Beat in the eggs or egg whites, one at a time.
  5. Mix in half of the flour, then beat in the applesauce and vanilla. Add the rest of the flour and mix just until there are no dry spots left in the batter.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and use a spatula or knife to smooth out the top.
  7. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before running a knife around the edges and turning the cake out onto a wire rack. Carefully reinvert the cake so that is upright on the wire rack, and allow to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving (optional).


  1. Elisabeth says

    That cake sounds delicious – like the perfect fall birthday treat! Let me tell you, at 29 (and turning 30 in May…), I’d love to be 25 again – he’s just a lil’ guy 😉

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