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Applesauce Bars With Sour Cream Frosting

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The moist cakey layer of these applesauce bars combines deliciously with the soft creamy sour cream frosting. They are flavorful and autumnal with their cinnamon and apple notes.

Pieces of applesauce cake topped with soft white sour cream frosting with an apple in the background.

If you like pumpkin bars and apples, you are going to love these applesauce bars. They are an easy fall dessert that should be added to your repertoire.

I saw a recipe for applesauce bars on Frugal Hausfrau’s site a year or two ago and I was instantly intrigued. I love trying new apple recipes and the pictures reminded me of my grandma’s pumpkin bars but with apple.

It is basically a thin apple sheet cake topped with tangy frosting. What is not to love about that?

So I put them on my ever growing list of things to try. Somehow that list keeps getting longer, there just isn’t enough time to make everything.

Lifting piece of apple bars topped with sour cream frosting out of pan.

With fall around the corner, I figured it was time to make these apple bars. I am so glad I did.

The recipe below is a slight variation on what Molly made. It was adjusted to match our tastes and preferences.

Making These Tasty Apple Bars

Adding applesauce to the cake layer not only adds great flavor, but so much moisture as well. Add in some cinnamon and you are really in business.

The batter comes together really easily. The only key is making sure your butter is soft so that it is easily incorporated.

We prefer our bars as written. You could easily add a half cup of raisins and or walnuts if that is something your family would like.

You can also experiment with the spices if you want it to be a punchier spice cake. A little ginger or allspice would be tasty if you like those flavors.

Try making it our way first and then customize it to your heart’s content. That is one of the best parts about cooking, you get to make it yours.

The cake is done when the edges start to pull away from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Allow it to cool completely before frosting the bars.

Making Sour Cream Frosting

One of the things that intrigued me about Molly’s recipe was the sour cream frosting. It has a lovely slight acidity, similar to cream cheese frosting, but is even softer and has a different tanginess.

I adjusted the recipe to make a little more. I am the self proclaimed frosting queen after all.

Again, you want to make sure you butter is good and softened. Otherwise you will find yourself with lumps and nobody wants lumpy frosting!

This frosting would not work for piping or really even for layers, unless you put a buttercream dam around it. But it is fabulous for spreading over your apple bars or any simple sheet cake.

I can imagine it would be fabulous on a chocolate cake or of course pumpkin bars. Give it a try and see what you think.

Slice of frosted applesauce bar on plate ready to eat with apple in background.

Obviously you could use cream cheese frosting instead. Or add some caramel frosting for something different.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I store sour cream frosting in the refrigerator?

Yes. Due to the high dairy content, it is best if the sour cream frosting is stored in the refrigerator. This will also help it to firm up a bit allowing you to cut cleaner pieces. Allow the served cake to sit for a few minutes to come to room temperature for the best eating experience.

How long can I store my frosted apple bars?

These bars can sit on the counter for a couple of hours. More than that and they should be covered and put in the refrigerator. Chilled, they can be stored for 5-7 days.

More Recipes Using Applesauce

Slightly spiced and super moist applesauce cake goes perfectly with a soft and luscious cream cheese and caramel frosting.  This layered beauty is the stuff fall dreams are made of!

Applesauce oatmeal bread is a delicious sweet quick bread that’s perfect for breakfast, tea time, snack or even a light dessert. The vanilla honey butter helps take to the next level of yumminess!

Piece of cakelike applesauce bar on plate in front of pan of sour cream frosting topped dessert in background.

Or take some of that applesauce and whip up some homemade apple butter. Then use that apple butter on toast, to make apple butter pie and more!

Love this recipe? Give it a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review in the recipe card below!

Pieces of applesauce cake topped with soft white sour cream frosting with an apple in the background.

Applesauce Bars With Sour Cream Frosting

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
The moist cakey layer of these applesauce bars combine deliciously with the soft creamy sour cream frosting. They are flavorful and autumnal with their cinnamon and apple notes.
4.83 from 17 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


Applesauce Bars

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • cup applesauce

Sour Cream Frosting

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


Applesauce Bars

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Cream together butter and sugar.
    ½ cup butter, 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Add egg and vanilla, mixing until combined.
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 large egg
  • In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    1½ cup all purpose flour, ¾ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Mix ⅓ of the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Stir in ½ of the applesauce. Repeat with 1/3 of the flour, the remainder of the applesauce and finish with the rest of the flour. Each time stir until just mixed.
    1½ cup applesauce
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30-35 minutes or until the middle bounces back when lightly touched with your finger. Allow to cool completely.

Sour Cream Frosting

  • Beat butter until smooth and creamy.
    ½ cup butter
  • Add powdered sugar, sour cream and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
    2 cups powdered sugar, ⅔ cup sour cream, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Spread over cooled bars and chill until set.


You will want to use a full fat sour cream for the frosting.
You can use salted or unsalted butter. If using salted, omit the extra salt.
Store the frosted applesauce bars in the refrigerator for up to a week. 



Serving: 1pieceCalories: 386kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 3gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 256mgFiber: 1gSugar: 40g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating

Susan Erwin

Monday 6th of September 2021

Sweetened or unsweetened applesauce?


Monday 6th of September 2021

I used unsweetened, but I imagine either would work fine.

Andrea Nine

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Applesauce I have been anxiously waiting to make and I’ll use my homemade for these yummy bars!


Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Our local orchard opened last weekend, so it's getting to be that time!