Years ago, my ex's father gave me his mother's favorite fresh apple cake recipe and asked me to make it for him. Everyone who tried it said it was the best apple cake they had ever had. So naturally I wanted to adapt it into a gluten free apple cake, so I could continue to eat it.
The only problem is, I lost the recipe! For 10 years, I assumed my ex had taken the recipe card when he moved out and I cursed him many times for his devious recipe card theft. Then one day, I was flipping through a cookbook and found it tucked between the pages. So, I've created this perfect recreation to share with you.
This recipe is very similar to a an old fashioned apple dapple cake that is normally made in a bundt pan. You can prepare this recipe in the bundt pan too, I've included notes at the bottom of the recipe. Hopefully you'll love it as much as we do!
Every year, my son and I go apple picking and I love using all of the fresh apples in my recipes. If you have a lot of apples on hand, try out my gluten free apple muffins, this amazingly easy gluten free apple crumble or my favorite gluten free dutch apple pie.
Why You'll Love This Apple Cake Recipe
- It's an old fashioned fresh apple cake made with simple ingredients.
- It doesn't require any frosting but it would be perfect with a drizzle of my dairy free apple cider caramel.
- Since it is made as a sheet cake in a 9x13 pan, it's perfect for potlucks.
- It's gluten free and dairy free!
- Gluten Free Flour Blend - I use Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Flour for all of my baking. You can use your favorite blend, just ensure it contains a binder like xanthan gum or you will need to add it.
- Baking Powder - to help the cake rise
- Vegan Butter - I use Country Crock Plant Butter for this recipe. If you're not dairy free, you can use regular butter in the same measure.
- Non-Dairy Milk - I used coconut milk or oat milk in all of my baking. You can use the non-dairy milk or your choice. If you're not dairy free, regular milk will work fine in the same measure.
- Pecans - The traditional apple dapple cake uses walnuts, but Southerners typically make it with pecans instead. You can use whichever nut you prefer.
- Golden Raisins - The raisins provide a little extra texture and sweetness, making it more like a fruit cake.
- Shredded Coconut - Use unsweetened coconut since there is already enough sweetness from the other ingredients.
- Apples - I use 2 apples cut into cubes for the inside of the cake and like to cut a third apple into thin slices to decorate the top. If you don't want big chunks of apple inside, you could also grate the apples with a box grater.
See the recipe card for full ingredient list with measurements.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not Dairy Free - use dairy butter and milk in the same measure.
- Make it Vegan / Egg Free - This cake uses 2 eggs, which I would replace with a combination of a baking soda + vinegar egg and some applesauce.
- No pecans - Replace the chopped pecans with walnuts, which is used in the traditional apple dapple cake.
- No Raisins - If you don't have raisins or don't like them, you can omit them entirely. If you're looking for a replacement, I'd suggest dried cranberries.
How to prepare your apples
Use two apples for the inside of the cake. Peel the skins and cut them into small chunks, about ¼" inch thick.
For the top of the cake, I prefer to leave the skins on because I like the color contrast of the skins against the golden brown color of the cake. Cut the slices very thin, close to ⅛" thick.
How to make a gluten free apple cake
STEP 1: Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it's light and fluffy.
STEP 2: Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to beat until combined, about 60 seconds.
STEP 3: Combine the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and whisk to mix well. Turn your mixer to the lowest setting, alternate adding half of the dry ingredients then half of the milk. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
STEP 4: Add the apples, coconut, raisins, and pecans to the cake batter. Stir them in by hand with a rubber spatula.
STEP 5: Spread the batter into a lined 9x13 pan (it will be thick). Place some thinly sliced apples on top of the batter and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, then bake.
Apple cake is very dense and moist. Because of the fresh apples baked into the cake, you will definitely want to store it in the refrigerator. I have a 9x13 baking pan with a plastic lid, like this one.
If your pan doesn't have a lid, cover with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container before storing. Apple cake should keep for 3-4 days, if it lasts that long. 🙂
Frequently Asked Questions
Any time I make an apple dessert, I always try to use a variety of apples. Some are better for cooking or baking and others have better flavor. For this cake, I used a combination of Granny Smith, Gala and Golden Delicious apples.
Yes, but if you prefer this in a bundt pan I would cut the chunks of apples very small or shred them with a box grater.
Some apple dapple cakes have a caramel drizzle over the top. I think this cake is sweet enough on its own that no frosting is required. It’s a more rustic cake, similar to a fruit cake. If you want you can sprinkle the top with a dusting of powdered sugar to give a more finished look.
More apple recipes to consider:
If you try this recipe, please leave a 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below.
Gluten Free Apple Cake
- 2 Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend
- 3 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 10 Tablespoon Vegan Butter room temperature
- 2 Cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 6 Tablespoon Non-Dairy Milk
- 1 Cup Pecans roughly chopped
- 1 Cup Golden Raisins
- 1 Cup Shredded Coconut
- 2 Cup Apples chopped into ¼” cubes
- 1 Apple thinly sliced for topping
- 1 Tablespoon Turbinado Sugar optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir well and set aside.2 Cup Gluten Free 1-to-1 Flour Blend, 3 teaspoon Baking Powder, ½ teaspoon Salt, 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes.10 Tablespoon Vegan Butter, 2 Cup Sugar
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing for 60 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla. Scrape down bowl.2 Eggs, 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk. When it is about half incorporated add in the pecans, raisins, coconut and apples. You may have to stir the remainder by hand.6 Tablespoon Non-Dairy Milk, 1 Cup Pecans, 1 Cup Golden Raisins, 1 Cup Shredded Coconut, 2 Cup Apples
- The mixture will be very thick and chunky, not like normal cake batter. Turn it out into the prepared pan and spread it evenly covering the whole pan. I topped mine with coarse sugar and thinly sliced apples and sprinkle with turbinado sugar, which is totally optional, but makes it look pretty.1 Apple, 1 Tablespoon Turbinado Sugar
- Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.
Tiffany is the recipe developer, stylist and food photographer behind Well Fed Baker. As a lifelong baker who had to go gluten free and dairy free in 2016, Tiffany strives to share allergen friendly recipes that never feel like they are free from anything.