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Replacing Oil with Apple Sauce in Cake

I am going to make Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cake. I'd like to replace the oil with apple sauce. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup of oil so should I also use 1/4 cup of apple sauce? Or do I use more or less? I've never substituted apple sauce for oil before but I heard that it works out just fine. Please Help! Thank you!

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  1. I've done it with exact substitutions. It makes a slight difference in taste and texture but not huge. Since it's pumpkin cake, you might be able to use pumpkin instead of applesauce.

    1. you use a 1:1 ratio, so what you said is correct.

      However, bear in mind that some recipes are better for the apple sauce substitute than others. I've done it for cakes and brownies and it's been fine. Good luck!

      1. When I substitute applesauce for oil, I generally keep the volume the same and use half oil and half applesauce to keep the texture closer to the original otherwise I think the cake or bread can become kind of "chewy" (for example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup oil, I would use 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce).

        1 Reply
        1. re: LauraB

          That's my take on it as well. Although, for a recipe that only calls for 1/4c oil, i would probably just leave the recipe as is and use oil. Not sure, however, what Lotus7's goal is in making the switch, so that might not be appropriate.

          But, bottom line, subbing fruit puree for oil does result in a change in texture (to me).

        2. great suggestions-thank you! I'll go ahead and try the apple sauce since I already bought a jar. Next time may try the pumpkin--i think the added flavor of canned pumpkin would be really great!

          1. I used to work for Mott's at the time that the applesauce replacing oil thing was being heavily touted. The general consensus in the office was that it really only works for some recipes and there is, without question, an alteration in taste and texture. Some baked good will turn out downright leaden. However, if you're good with the differences and your health requires the substitutions, it's a pretty good choice.

            1. I sub equal parts apple sauce for sour cream in recipes and it works great...banana bread, choc cake etc..and sometimes do the partial sub with oil... I suppose if you did a side by side comparison you could tell the difference, otherwise I don't think you would notice a huge difference

              1. I'm sure most of you chowhounds already know this, but just in case, I thought I'd mention...the applesauce for fat substitution is NO GOOD in cookies. Teehee...learned the hard way, before I really knew anything about baking :-D

                Now, for my own personal knowledge, I just want to make sure I have the rule straight...applesauce can only be substituted for OIL (and I guess sour cream, according to Lena?), right? It can't be used as a sub for all kinds of fat (i.e. butter), correct?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Aloo0628

                  I've found you can use it in mixes but for home made things, I might use half applesauce/half oil or butter but not all (use silpat mats or parchment paper in case it sticks). Most mixes are pretty forgiving and hard to mess up. Normally I don't do the substitution when I'm baking from scratch. I love the buttery feel/taste of the real thing.

                2. Since you are making pumpkin cake, why not substitute with more pumpkin instead of apple sauce.
                  I do this with pumpkin cake/bread and also with bannana cake/bread... just more pumpkin or bannana instead of the oil.

                  1. I just made some teriffic carrot muffins and sub'd 1/2 applesauce for half the oil (the recipe called for 1 cup oil) and it turned out great --I really don't think they'd be better with all oil. Since it was 16 muffins, that's 1 tsp per muffin, not bad at all. For a cake calling for 1/4 cup oil, I would not sub because a) that's such a small amount for a whole cake and b) a little oil really helps the texture and the shelf life.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: coconutz

                      Just an update on my original post. I made the Trader Joe's pumpkin cake today, replacing the oil w/ apple sauce. It acutally called for 1/2 cup of oil, so I used 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of Trader Joes unsweetened apple sauce. It's delicious!!! Not dry at all, and full of flavor. Next time I may add canned pumpkin, and some shredded carrots or zucchini for something different...