Whole grain & low sugar recipes

Sugar free baking

Recipes featuring whole grains and no refined sugar

Low Sugar Irish Oatmeal Apple Cake

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a moist and delicious low sugar Irish Oatmeal Apple Cake. The whole wheat flour and oatmeal provide fibre, while the applesauce, grated apples and buttermilk create a moist base that is similar to a coffee cake.

I wanted to bake something to honour my Irish heritage, but was hoping to forego the green food colouring. While flipping through my copy of the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts looking for inspiration, I came across this recipe for Irish Oatmeal Cake and decided this would be perfect.

In the Mildly Sweet recipe, I substituted unsweetened applesauce for the brown sugar, and also added a cup of grated apples for extra sweetness and moisture.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: 1 bundt cake

Mildly Sweet Recipe


Low Sugar Irish Oatmeal Apple Cake 2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup grated apple (about 1 medium apple)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour the bundt pan.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

  3. Place the oats in a blender and process until they are the consistency of cornmeal. Whisk into the flour mixture and set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the applesauce and continue to beat until incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

  5. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk.

  6. Add half of the flour and half of the buttermilk mixtures to the butter mixture and blend well. Add the remaining flour and buttermilk mixtures to the batter and continue to mix until well blended.

  7. Use a spatula to gently fold the apples into the batter until evenly distributed.

  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

  9. Bake for approximately 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Gently run knife along edges of pan to loosen the cake, place a wire rack over the top of the pan and invert to release the cake onto the rack.

I used a Golden Delicious apple for this cake. It had just the right amount of sweetness for my taste, but you can use whatever you happen to have on hand.

Low Sugar Irish Oatmeal cake nutrition

Sweeter Option

For a sweeter cake, replace the cup of unsweetened applesauce in the Mildly Sweet recipe above with 1/2 cup brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugar together in step 4 before adding the eggs, Omit the unsweetened applesauce.

If you would like to experiment with other sweeteners, see About Sweeteners for more information and nutrition facts on honey, maple syrup, stevia and other sweeteners.

Most of the recipes on Sweet Smart are adapted from my favourite cookbooks and websites. The Sweeter Option usually calls for about 1/4 to 1/2 of the sugar used in the original recipe.

Low Sugar Irish Oatmeal cake nutrition

Adapted from: Irish Oatmeal Cake from Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.

Recipe Sweetness

Sweet Smart recipes offer 2 sweetness levels:

1. Mildly Sweet
For those looking to enjoy baked treats with low sugar content. Recipes are designed to:
  • Minimize potential blood sugar spikes
  • Reduce cravings for sweets

2. Sweeter Option
For those who want a bit more sweetness in their baked goods, but are still looking for a lower sugar option.

These recipes are not meant to replicate traditional recipes, they are meant to provide a less sweet alternative.

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