Open Jars: Whole Wheat Spiced Applesauce Bread

October 29, 2010(updated on July 1, 2022)

spiced applesauce bread

This bread is one of those things that was born out of necessity and turned out to be far better than the sum of its parts. My refrigerator was bursting with half full jars and my sister and her friend were coming to town the next day. I needed to have something to feed them for breakfast (they are touring folksingers and so I like to have something yummy, healthy and homemade for them when they show up) and I really wanted to use up what I had instead of running out for ingredients.

applesauce and peach butter

I took my standard banana bread recipe (from the sixties edition of the Joy of Cooking) and adapted wildly. I reduced the butter by half and substituted peach butter for the missing fat. I replaced the mashed banana with two cups of chunky, homemade applesauce and I used one cup whole wheat pastry flour and one cup toasted wheat germ (again, because I happened to have an open jar of the stuff).

quick banana bread

The resulting loaf is sweet, moist and so, so good toasted and spread with butter. If you don’t happen to have wheat germ on hand, feel free to just use the whole wheat pastry flour. You could switch out the fruit butter with anything you happen to have open (I’m curious how the blueberry butter would work in this). You can also swap out the applesauce for any gently pureed canned fruit (peaches, pears or even plums).

spiced applesauce bread

Now, if you’ll excuse me, this bread is calling (I have to get at least one more piece before Raina and Rebecca finish it off). And the recipe is after the jump.

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Whole Wheat Spiced Applesauce Bread


  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • ¼ cup peach or any fruit butter
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chunky applesauce
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter one regular loaf pan or a muffin tin with a dozen cups.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peach butter and sugar (I do this in the bowl of my stand mixer, but you can also use human power). Add the eggs and applesauce and beat to combine.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Integrate the dry ingredients into the wet ones in several batches, until totally combined.
  • Scrape the batter into your buttered pan or tin and place them in a hot oven. Bake 45-50 for a loaf, 20-25 minutes for muffins, until a skewer comes out mostly clean.
  • Cool on the counter. If there’s anything left after 24 hours, store remainder in the fridge.

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15 thoughts on "Open Jars: Whole Wheat Spiced Applesauce Bread"

  • I want to try this with the blueberry butter! I wonder if I should decrease the spices a little, since the butter is spiced? I have to say I’m relieved, from your picture I was afraid there was mustard in this bread…

  • I love how you say you “adapted wildly”! That is an adequate description for how I cook EVERYTHING, haha.

  • I have a 1975 Joy of Cooking and I love it! The older editions are so much better. I’m a bit more timid when it comes to adapting baking recipes, though. It sounds terrific!

  • This looks wonderful! I appreciate your posting the options. I don’t have peach butter, but I have apple butter and applesauce. I like the concept of pureeing any available canned fruit, too. Yum!

  • Love quick breads. Creative ones like this are what the fruitcake gift impulse really wants to give. Thanks for the recipe!

  • I made this this morning, in the form of muffins, for our usual (when we’re home) Saturday morning brunch in bed listening to NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!” We used apple butter and apple sauce, and I have to say this is definitely a winner!

  • i’m tempted to make this recipe this weekend (if i have time).

    The girls found the Red Delicious apple sauce I made too bitter so I have to use it up somehow, right?

    Thanks for the idea!!

  • I just made it with fresh frozen apples, some plum sauce and substituted flax seeds for wheat germ. It came out great! very sweet, yet spicy yet tart with a nice crunch from the flax seeds. oh and I also added walnuts. good for me too!