about 1 hour
13x9 pan, 18-24 pieces
Spanish Bar Cake is a family favorite: a moist applesauce spice cake, studded with raisins, with a light vanilla buttercream frosting. It's sturdy enough to tote to a picnic or a potluck, it will keep well on the counter in a covered dish, and doesn't go stale. If you want a smaller cake, halve all ingredients and use an 8x8 pan.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ cup (4 ounces) neutral flavored vegetable oil
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plump raisins (optional)
  • vanilla icing - makes a thin coat, double for a thick one
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9-inch x 13-inch pan. Get out a big mixing bowl.


one-bowl dump and mix

Put the dry ingredients in the bowl first, and stir well to mix them. Add the oil, applesauce, and eggs; beat until well combined. Add the raisins last, and stir them to distribute them evenly.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350˚ 35-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted toward the center of the cake should come out without any crumbs.

Let the cake cool on a rack.



The cake must be completely cool before you put icing on it (buttercream will melt on a warm cake!) A quick check: if you can rest the cake pan on your open palm and it doesn’t feel warm, the cake is cool enough.

Mash the butter, add powdered sugar (if you’re feeling fancy sift the sugar first). Add vanilla extract, beat again. We prefer a thin glaze, rather than a thick coat of frosting. If you like a fluffier thicker frosting, double the amount.




6 Responses

  1. First time I made it I loved it! I’m along it again tonight. It’s the besssst!

    • I’m glad you like it; it’s a family favorite here.

  2. Made this cake, it’s like a carrot cake without the carrots. Not sure about the cake tin size, is this imperial or metric. I cooked it in a loaf tin, 9 cm x 13cm and it took almost 1 hour to cook, so I think it may be inches, as there is excessive topping.

    • You’re right that 9×13 is measured in inches! I’ll amend the recipe to note that clearly. Thanks for finding this omission!

  3. The cake sounds (and looks) delicious!

  4. Love this recipe. Haven’t had this cake for years, but I’ve always loved it. Thank you.

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