Vegan Apple Cake – The Almond Eater


Fresh apples and the warm flavors of fall are baked right into this Vegan Apple Cake. It’s deliciously comforting, ultra moist, and, best of all, easy to make!

a slice of cake with icing on a plate beside an apple

If you need a quick and easy dessert for the holidays, this one-layer Vegan Apple Cake is surely the right fit. It’s a deliciously warm and moist cake made without any dairy or eggs. Best of all, it comes together easily and has a fuss-free presentation.

This apple cake is loaded with freshly grated apples and ground cinnamon. The crumb is tender and moist thanks to a handful of no-nonsense ingredients. Every bite will surely remind you of a classic apple pie and this ultra-warm Chai Spice Pear Pie, but in one simple sheet cake. 

And, of course, every cake needs the icing on top. You’ll find vegan maple buttercream here, made from vegan butter, maple syrup, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. It’s the last piece of the puzzle that will warm you from head to toe and make each slice of cake the perfect match for  a cup of tea or boozy hot chocolate.

Recipe features

  • Perfectly moist and every bite has just the right amount of sweetness and warmth. It’ll remind you of apple crisp!
  • This is a really simple one-layer vegan cake. It’s made with the baking staples you’re already familiar with and gets its charm from a rustic presentation.
  • For decoration, a maple and cinnamon vegan buttercream is spread on top.
slices of square cake with icing topped with apple slices

Ingredient notes:

Flour – I made this recipe with all purpose flour but a 1:1 mix of AP flour and whole wheat flour should also work.

Ground flaxseed – This is mixed together with water to make the flax eggs. If you don’t have flaxseed, chia seeds will work just as well.

Coconut oil – You could probably use any kind of neutral vegetable oil instead, but I’ve only tested the recipe with coconut oil. For oil free (and an extra layer of apple goodness), substitute it for applesauce.

Sugar – Both granulated brown sugar and cane sugar are needed to fill this cake with sweetness and molasses-like flavors.

Apples – The small apples of your choice are grated, then folded into the cake batter. I recommend packing the cake with seasonal fall apples fresh from the orchard, like Cortland, Macintosh, and Braeburn.

Almond milk – Any dairy free milk can be used instead.

Step-by-step instructions

Step 1: Make the flax eggs. Stir the ground flaxseed and water together in a small bowl. Set it aside for a few minutes while the mixture thickens.

Step 2: The dry ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.

Step 3: The wet ingredients. Whisk the milk, coconut oil, brown sugar, cane sugar, applesauce, vanilla, and flax eggs together in a separate large bowl. 

Step 4: Combine the two. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and gently stir the two together until just combined and no dry flour remains. To finish, stir in the apples and walnuts.

cake batter in a bowl and in a rectangle baking pan

Step 5: Bake. Pour the batter into your baking dish. Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. When it’s ready, let the cake cool in the pan before transferring it to a cooling rack.

Step 6: Make the icing. While you wait for the cake to cool, make the maple cinnamon icing. Mix the butter, maple syrup, and milk together using a handheld or standing mixer. Once it’s smooth, add the powdered sugar and cinnamon and mix until it’s a light and fluffy icing.

Step 7: Decorate, then serve. Smooth out dollops of icing on top of the cooled apple cake. Cut into 12 slices, then serve!

Tips and FAQS

  • It’s important that all of your ingredients are room temperature before putting the batter together. Allow the milk, coconut oil, vegan butter, and any other warm or cool ingredients to sit on the kitchen counter for at least 30 minutes first.
  • I like to chop the apples and pulse them in a food processor. It’s an easy and hands-off method that’s much quicker than grating them yourself.
  • Instead of using the maple buttercream, decorate the cake with vegan vanilla icing, vegan whipped cream, or a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce.

What kind of apples are best for apple cake?

Because the apples are shredded rather than cut into chunks, any kind of apple will work in this cake. I like to use small Cortland or Macintosh apples, but you can use Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or any other kind you like.

Can I make a layered cake instead?

Sure. Pour the batter into two 9-inch round cake pans instead and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Can it be made gluten free?

I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour. If you want to try, use an all purpose gluten free flour blend.

Storing

  • Room temperature: Wrap the frosted or unfrosted cake in plastic and keep it on the kitchen counter for 1 to 2 days. 
  • Refrigerator: It’ll stay fresh for up to 1 week when stored in the fridge.
  • Freezer: To really save some time, bake the cake as normal and let it cool completely. Wrap it in plastic and freeze for up to 3 months. When it’s time to eat, let it thaw at room temperature or in the fridge while you make the icing.
a slice of cake on its side

More vegan fall recipes

If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!

a slice of cake with icing on a plate beside an apple

Vegan Apple Cake

Fresh apples and the warm flavors of fall are baked right into this Vegan Apple Cake. It’s deliciously comforting, ultra moist, and, best of all, easy to make!

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 flax eggs (3 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 7 tablespoons water)
  • 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1 cup coconut oil melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups grated apples from 2 small apples
  • cup walnuts chopped, optional

for the icing:

  • 3 tablespoon vegan butter softened
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon almond milk or more as needed
  • 2 cups powdered sugar or more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray. I also recommend adding a piece of parchment paper on the bottom to ensure the cake doesn’t stick.

  • At this point, you should also make the flax eggs: Stir 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 7 tablespoons of water together in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

  • In a medium bowl, stir the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

  • In a large bowl, whisk the milk, melted coconut oil (make sure it’s at room temperature), brown sugar, cane sugar, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla together, then add the flax eggs. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet, then stir to combine, being careful not to over-mix. Last, stir in the apples (and walnuts, if using).

  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully run a knife along the edges and invert the cake onto a cooling rack. Wait for the cake to cool before icing it.

  • For the icing: use a hand or stand mixer to whisk the butter, maple syrup and milk together, then add the powdered sugar and cinnamon and whisk until smooth.

  • Use a large spoon to dollop the icing over the cake, then smooth it out. Cut the cake into 12 slices and enjoy!

Notes

*Calories are per slice and are an estimation
*Don’t want to use coconut oil? Try avocado oil instead. 
*You can grate the apples with a box grater, but I like to chop them into large chunks then add them into a food processor and pulse a few times 
*Storage: wrap the cake and store it at room temperature for 1-2 days, or store it in the refrigerator for up to a week

Nutrition

Calories: 505kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 357mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg

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