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2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups applesauce (or make your own here)
5 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8 or 9 inch square pan, and line with parchment paper (if you have a non-stick pan, you can skip the parchment paper).
For the Cake:
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined.
The batter will look uneven, but
that’s what you want.
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely.
For the Frosting:
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.