Here's a delicious way to enjoy apple time of year. If you're looking for recipes with apples, try this delicious apple cake. Slices of apples and chopped nuts tucked into cake batter spiced with cinnamon. The baking cake fills the house with an irresistible aroma. Plus, my recipe is both gluten-free and dairy-free. No one would ever guess.
This moist cake recipe was a big hit with a group of girlfriends so I decided to post it for you. The crumb is tender, and the baked apples with cinnamon are lovely for fall. It's a perfect snack or dessert cake and you can sneak a piece in for breakfast. See serving tips at the end.
What is Apple Cake?
Apple cake is a single layer cake served as a snack or dessert cake across many cultures. You'll find recipes for Irish apple cake, French apple cake, and German (Polish or Austrian) as well as Jewish apple cake. There are lovely, delicious nuances to each cultural tradition.
I've made this recipe with both chopped and sliced apples and I like the sliced apples a little better. I do use cinnamon, and prefer it with a little softly whipped heavy cream if serving for dessert.
For your shopping list:
- All-purpose gluten-free flour blend (like Bob's Red Mill 1:1 blue bag)
- Almond flour
- Granular monk fruit blend or natural sugar
- Baking powder (buy aluminum-free)
- Baking soda
- Olive oil or coconut oil
- Golden brown sugar
- Vanilla extract or paste (here's my favorite)
- Almond milk or dairy milk
- Chopped pecans or walnuts
- 2 large apples (Honeycrisp, Granny Smith or Pink Lady)
For measurements please see the recipe.
Sugar: Following a low-carb or reduced sugar diet? Use white or golden monk fruit blend for part or all. If not, a natural sugar is great.
Another sugar option is Sucanat, a whole unrefined cane sugar. It retains all of the cane's natural molasses and has a distinct, natural molasses flavor that is particularly nice in baking. Or use unrefined raw coconut sugar.
Spices: Cinnamon is traditional but Chinese Five Spice is a nice twist.
Oil: Coconut oil is a good swap for olive oil if preferred. Don't use standard vegetable oil. If you have it, toss it. It's terrible for you.
What kind of Apples
For the best apples, choose a variety that is firm and crisp. Honeycrisp apples is what I had on hand. Granny Smith apples are another great option and classic for baking. Other crisp-tart-sweet apples good for baking are Pink Lady and Jazz. For more apple variety information read here.
As they ripen, apples emit a plant hormone called ethylene gas. It hastens the spoilage of ethylene gas-sensitive fruits and vegetables like lettuce, berries, kale, green beans, and carrots.
The tip: store apples in a plastic bag with a few holes in it alone in the crisper drawer. Don't store other vegetables in the same drawer.
For the cake pan, you need a 9" springform pan and parchment paper. Springforms are not expensive and available online, at cooking stores, even Target. Find parchment at the grocery store, cooking stores and online. You can even buy handy pre-cut round pieces.
To Peel or Not
I tested the cake both ways. While I like the idea of leaving the skin on for more fiber and nutrition, it looked nice without the peel. The lead photo was baked without the peel.
The photo above shows apples with the skin on, and two teaspoons of extra, coarse brown sugar (Demerara or Turbinado) for sparkle after baking. It's optional if you want to reduce sugar.
Pre-heat the oven and prep your pan by spraying with a little non-stick and placing a parchment round on the bottom of the pan. Mix dry ingredients in one medium bowl, and wet ingredients in another. Stir both bowls together and fold in nuts by hand with a flexible spatula. Pour the thick batter into the prepared pan.
Peel apples and core. This is easiest with an apple corer tool, either a round one or a straight one. If using the straight corer, slice the apple into eights. Then slice each eighth into 3 slices each for 24 slices.
Arrange apple slices in a circular overlapping pattern starting at the outside edge of the pan. Slightly overlap apple ends and tip the bottom of the slices (the thinner end) a bit down into the batter. See photo above for example. Bake, cool and serve warm or room temperature.
Pro Tip: You will know cake is done when the edges of the cake are golden and just pulling away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
Serve alone or with a dollop of whipped cream. Sweeten heavy whipping cream with a bit of sugar and vanilla extract (called Chantilly cream) and whip stiff with a hand mixer.
If serving after dinner, serve it a la mode with a scoop of ice cream or sweetened French sour cream (creme fraiche) It's nice with a cup of coffee or tea.
Cinnamon Apple Cake
- 9" springform pan
- Parchment paper
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend 4 ½ ounces, I use Bob’s Red Mill
- ½ cup almond flour 1 ¾ ounces, Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder aluminum free
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup olive oil or coconut oil, melted or coconut oil, melted
- ⅓ cup sucanat or golden brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- ½ cup milk or almond milk
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts 2 ¼ ounces
- 2 large Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples
- 2 teaspoons Demerara or Turbinado sugar
- Pre-heat oven to 350º. Cut a parchment round to fit inside springform pan, spray pan with non-stick and add parchment.
Mix Dry Ingredients
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: all purpose and almond flour, baking powder and soda, spice and salt.
Mix Wet Ingredients
- In a large measuring cup or bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond milk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir well until smooth. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into the pan.
Slice Apples and Add to Batter
- Trim a thin slice off of the top and bottom of the apples. Core and peel apples. Cut into 24 slices. To do this easily, cut the apple into eights, then each piece into equal thirds. Arrange apple slices in a circular overlapping pattern starting at the outside edge of the pan. Slightly overlap apple ends and tip the bottom of the slices (the thinner end) a bit down into the batter. This will allow you to get more apples into the batter. Continue around the pan until you get to the center. For the small center, cut a slice of apple into smaller pieces and fit them in as best you can. You may not need all of the apple slices. If using, sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top to give the cake top a sparkle (optional).
Bake the Cake
- Bake cake at 350º for approximately 40-45 minutes. Timing will depend on your ovens. When done a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean but moist. Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the inside edge of the pan to free the cake, then pop the spring and remove the cake. Cool on a wire rack or serve warm. If serving later after cooling, wrap well and keep at room temperature.
This post was sponsored by Sub-Zero Wolf.