This recipe was originally published September 18, 2018 and updated September 1, 2022.
This apple cake recipe was passed down to me from my ex's grandmother years ago. Everyone who tried it said it was the best apple cake they had ever had. Then I lost the recipe! For 10 years, I assumed my ex had taken the recipe card when he moved out. Then one day, I was flipping through a cookbook and found it tucked between the pages. So, I recreated it in a gluten free and dairy free version to share with you!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's a traditional apple cake made with simple ingredients.
- It doesn't require any frosting.
- 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.
How to make an apple cake
- WHISK together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- CREAM together butter and sugar with an electric mixer.
- ADD the eggs and vanilla and beat together.
- ALTERNATE adding the flour mixture and the milk until just combined.
- STIR in the nuts, coconut, raisins and apple chunks by hand until evenly mixed.
- SPREAD into your prepared pan and BAKE
What are the best apples to use?
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.
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.
Does homemade apple cake need to be refrigerated?
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
No, the chunky nature of this cake makes it a better candidate for a sheet cake than a bundt pan. If you don’t have a 9x13 pan, you can use two 8-inch round cake pans.
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.
If you love apples, check out these other great recipes!
Gluten Free Apple Dapple 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
- 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, which is totally optional, but makes it look pretty.1 Apple
- Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.