You’d think that applesauce cake is a strange thing to eat, much less have a national food holiday for, but it’s far more common than you think. The habit of using applesauce as a binder in cake mixes is thought to have started during World War II, when such food items as eggs, oil, and milk were being rationed for the war, but fruits like apples were plentiful. Applesauce acts as a replacement for these wet mix ingredients and also adds extra natural sugar to the mix. Some bakers claim that applesauce keeps the cake moist better than the other binding ingredients, and others like it because it contains much less fat and more fiber than oil or butter. It’s been a baker’s best-kept secret for decades, but more recently, cakes made with applesauce have become more popular, thanks to the rise in popularity of vegan cooking. What better way to substitute animal products like eggs and butter–and leave out the artificial products that are more than just ethically taboo–than safe, sweet, delicious, vegan applesauce?

While the Little Pie Company isn’t a vegan bakery, and their own version of an applesauce cake uses butter and eggs (and all those lovely animal products I’ve personally grown fond of), their applesauce cake transforms the applesauce from a simple replacement ingredient to the star of the show. With a dense shredded carrot base, the carrot-applesauce cake is super moist, thanks to the applesauce, and the natural sweetness is complemented by a slightly sour cream cheese frosting. While they may be best known for their single-serving pies, the cakes at the Little Pie Company–especially the carrot applesauce cake–are not to be overlooked.

Little Pie Company
424 W 43rd St (between 10th Ave & 9th Ave)

“The sour cream apple pie has a butter-cinnamon crust that would be please even without the filling; non-pie treats such as dense applesauce-carrot cake and tart lemon-poppy bread rival a fantasy Grandma’s best efforts. All the bakery’s goods are prepared without preservatives or canned, pre-mixed or otherwise adulterated ingredients; berries and cherries are flash-frozen to appear in winter months, long before their season.”–New York Magazine

Some reviews from

“Their carrot applesauce cake. AHA! Finally a bakery knows how much moister a cake can be with applesauce mixed in! They don’t skimp with their cream cheese frosting either. All in all, one of the best carrot cakes in the city.”–Masha M.

“CARROT APPLESAUCE (mini) CAKE: one of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever eaten…and c cake is my favorite cake so believe me when I say I try it as often as I can in as many places as I can.”–Victoria G.


Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!