Spiced apple pecan coffee cake fills the house with an irresistible aroma while baking. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free and reduced in sugar. Just a small indulgence to be enjoyed on occasion. Fall, baking, and apples just go together just beautifully.
Spiced Apple Pecan Coffee Cake
While I enjoy baking, I don’t do it often to keep temptations down to a minimum, but once in a while it’s a nice treat. I wanted to bake a fall apple cake to take to my bible study. They are one of my test groups for new recipe ideas, and this recipe was a hit.
For the flours, I used Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free baking blend and their almond flour.To make it dairy-free, I used almond milk (homemade) for the liquid and olive oil instead of butter for the fat. You could also use coconut oil.
Choose apples for baking that are firm and crisp with not bruised flesh. Our favorite apples are Honeycrisp. It’s our favorite for eating raw, so that’s what I had on hand. Go with your favorite apple, or try a tart apple like a Granny Smith which is often used for baking.
Storing Apples: Ethylene Gas
As they ripen, apples emit a plant hormone called ethylene gas. Yes, even plants have hormones. What a crazy thought. This gas hastens the spoilage of other ethylene gas-sensitive fruits and vegetables (like lettuce, berries, kale, green beans, carrots and many others). So apples are best stored by themselves in your refrigerator.
To Peel or Not to Peel?
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. It may depend on the apple that you use and the color of the skin. The lead photo was baked without the skin. 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.
Adding Sweetness – Reducing Sugar
For sweetening, I used 1/3 of a cup of organic light brown sugar and 2 1/2 tablespoons of granular stevia to reduce sugar. For Stevia, be sure to buy the whole leaf kind. You can use 2/3 cup of brown sugar if you don’t like stevia.
Another option for baking is called Sucanat, which stands for Sugar Cane Natural. Sucanat is a whole unrefined cane sugar. It retains all of the cane’s natural molasses, has a deep brown color and a distinct, natural molasses flavor that is particularly nice in baking. Another option is unrefined raw coconut sugar, which is like brown sugar, so experiment when you bake.
Apple Pecan Coffee Cake
- 9" springform pan
- Parchment paper
- 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend 4 1/2 ounces, I use Bob’s Red Mill
- 1/2 cup almond flour 1 3/4 ounces, Bob’s Red Mill
- 2 1/2 tablespoons granular stevia
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder aluminum free
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon spice of choice cinnamon, pumpkin pie blend, Chinese Five Spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup sucanat or golden brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans 2 1/4 ounces
- 2 large apples such as Honeycrisp
- 2 teaspoons Demerara or Turbinado sugar for top optional
- 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, stevia, baking powder and soda, salt and spice.
- 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 until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour batter into the pan.
- 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 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.