Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake with Cherries and Walnuts

Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake with Cherries and Walnuts

Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake

Applesauce Cake with Cherries and Walnuts

This sweet, dense gluten-free applesauce cake with cherries and nuts – not to mention the raisins and spices that flavor it – has been a holiday favorite of ours as long as I can remember.  When I started cooking gluten-free, it was among the first cakes I tried to adapt.  My Aunt Mac could probably have told the difference, but this recipe of hers converted very well.  In fact, when I bake it for a general crowd, it disappears fast.

With the maraschino cherries, you’ll have bright color in the slices, which is especially nice around the holidays.  I have never substituted any other type of cherries, but if you try it, be sure to allow for the syrup as well, since that contains a significant proportion of the liquid and the sweetener in this gluten-free recipe.

Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake with Cherries and Walnuts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Makes 12 – 16 servings


  • 1/2 Cup Shortening, like Crisco or Earth Balance
  • 1 Cup Sugar, or half as much agave nectar or honey
  • 1 Extra Large Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Applesauce, chunky or smooth
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Hot Water, approx.
  • 1-1/2 Cups Gluten-free Flour Mix, like Bob’s Red Mill
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Xanthan Gum
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder, gluten-free, like Rumsford
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
  • 1 Teaspoon Allspice, ground
  • 4 Ounces Maraschino Cherries, with Syrup (about a dozen cherries with syrup to cover — stems removed)
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins, optional, plumped in hot water for 5-10 minutes, then drained
  • 1/2 Cup Walnuts, optional, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or if using a glass pan 325 degrees F.

If using raisins, put them in a bowl or measuring pitcher and cover with hot water to plump. Drain them well before adding to batter.

Oil and line a 9×4-inch loaf pan or oil a small Bundt pan or stem pan.

Remove stems from cherries, if needed, and cut in half (scissors make this easy).

Chop the nuts.

Cream shortening and sugar until light in texture; beat in eggs.

Stir in applesauce.

Dissolve baking soda in a little hot water — 1-2 teaspoons or so — and stir into the batter in the mixing bowl.

Stir together the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder and spices.

Add to batter and beat on low until just mixed, scraping bowl often.

Stir in cherries and syrup, drained raisins and walnuts.

Bake in greased pan at 350 degrees F. (325 degrees F. for a glass pan) for 1 hour, or until done.

As always, be sure you always check all your ingredients each time you buy them to make sure that nothing contains any gluten.



Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake...almost gone

…Almost gone

Posted in:

Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Gluten-Free Wednesdays

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday

Frugal Follies’ Frugal Food Thursday



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  • Mary @ Fit and Fed

    October 26, 2012

    I like the idea of this one, cherries and walnuts in the cake sound like a winning combination. Plus I just bought 10# of IQF Montmorency cherries through our farm connection. I know I’d have to adjust the recipe for the unsweetened, no syrup cherries (though I might not adjust the sugar– I don’t need things to be all that sweet). As the Montmorencies thaw they generate a fair amount of juice so that might work out. If I get to making it I’ll let you know how it works out!

    • Pat

      October 26, 2012

      This recipe is a family classic adapted from my pre-celiac days, which was when I also used more sugar than I do now. I’d like very much to hear what you think of it when you make it with those unsweetened cherries. Thanks for your comment!

  • Susan Little

    January 2, 2012

    I haven’t tried the gluten-free version of this, but the original is one of my all-time favorites!

    • Pat

      January 2, 2012

      Isn’t it so good for the holidays? It is easy to carry if you’re taking food somewhere, and it also keeps well…I mean, you can make it ahead and it won’t be stale the next day. It even freezes well.

  • Miz Helen

    December 22, 2011

    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

  • Miz Helen

    December 19, 2011

    Hi Pat,
    I would just love your Applesauce Cake with Cherries and Walnuts, some of my favorite flavors and with a cup of tea that would be awesome! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  • Kim,USA

    December 14, 2011

    I love cakes with fruits on it. Awesome recipe thanks for sharing!

    Sweet & Sour Fish

  • Linda

    December 14, 2011

    This sounds really good with the cherries, raisins, nuts, and applesauce! Thanks for sharing it, Pat.

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