Gluten-Free Apple Cake

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This gluten-free apple cake is fluffy, moist and studded with tender apple pieces. Perfectly spiced with a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, this cake is a must-bake this Fall season. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of caramel sauce for an extra treat!
A close up of a round gluten-free apple cake with a wedge sliced from it.
A close up of a round gluten-free apple cake with a wedge sliced from it.

Why this recipe works

This gluten-free apple cake is a delicious gluten-free cake recipe that you’ll want to make all season long. It’s the epitome of fall! Tender apples are scattered throughout the cake, which is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. 

This apple cake is a single-layer snack cake with no frosting, making it as acceptable for breakfast as it is for dessert. Using simple ingredients you probably already have on hand, you can make the best apple cake!

You can jazz up the cake with a simple glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar, if you’d like. You can also dollop on some whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce if that’s more your speed. Or if you’re like me, a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a slice of cake is exactly what you need. Whichever way you choose to serve this cake, it’s sure to be delicious! 

You’ll love this recipe because:

  • It’s easy. All you need is two bowls to make this cake. One for the dry ingredients and one for the wet ingredients. No mixers, blenders, food processors are necessary. Just a spoon to mix it all up!
  • It’s one layer. If you haven’t mastered stacking cake layers, this recipe is for you! This is a single layer cake baked in a 9-inch springform cake pan, meaning it’s as easy as can be.
  • It’s gluten-free! This recipe was specifically formulated to be gluten-free using a gluten-free flour blend, but trust me… no one will be able to tell the difference! It’s so fluffy and moist! 
  • It’s tested. This recipe has been tested numerous times in different ovens so that you can be assured it will work for you. Just be sure to follow the ingredients and instructions as written, and weigh your flour for accuracy.

Ingredients

An overhead view of ingredients in bowls on a pink table to make gluten-free apple cake with text overlays over each ingredient.

Ingredient Notes

  • gluten-free flour blend – This recipe has been tested with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour and King Arthur Baking Gluten Free Measure For Measure Flour. Both of these flour blends already contain xanthan gum. If you do not have access to either of these blends, I recommend using a gluten-free flour blend that is meant to be used as a 1-for-1 swap with all-purpose flour. Please use the metric measurements for best results. 
  • xanthan gum – Xanthan gum is used as a binder in gluten-free baking and provides elasticity instead of gluten. If your blend does not already contain xanthan gum, use the amount as specified in the recipe. The flour blend I used and recommend already contains xanthan gum. 
  • unsweetened applesauce – Use unsweetened applesauce to provide moisture, sweetness, and more apple flavor to your cake. This also replaces some of the oil typically used in a cake. 
  • sour cream – Sour cream provides moisture and a fluffy texture to the cake. If you want to use milk instead, you can. However, the texture will change slightly as milk is thinner than sour cream. 
  • vegetable oil – Even though we used unsweetened applesauce, you will still need to add some oil to the recipe as it needs fat for moisture, rise, and texture. Oil gives this cake a tender crumb. 
  • fresh apples – Use a crisp apple for this recipe for best results. Honeycrisp, pink lady, granny smith, or gala are my favorites as they all hold their shape wonderfully when baked. 

Step-by-step instructions

This gluten-free apple cake recipe is incredibly easy to make. Follow the steps with matching photos to help you make this gluten-free cake perfectly every time.

For the ingredient list with measurements, full instructions, printable recipe, and additional notes, please scroll down to the recipe card.

A springform pan greased with butter and dusted with granulated sugar.
Grease the springform pan with butter. Then, dust the bottom and sides with granulated sugar, discarding any excess sugar.
A glass mixing bowl with gluten-free flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves before mixing.
In a medium bowl, add the gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Whisk together.
A glass mixing bowl with oil, brown sugar, eggs, sour cream, applesauce, and vanilla before mixing.
In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, eggs, sour cream, applesauce, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir until combined.
A glass mixing bowl with gluten-free flour on top of wet ingredients for making gluten-free apple cake.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
A glass mixing bowl with gluten-free spiced cake batter topped with diced apples in it.
Add the apples to the gluten-free cake batter. Stir until combined.
Gluten-free apple cake batter with diced apples in a springform pan before baking.
Pour the apple cake batter into the prepared pan.
A springform pan with a baked gluten-free apple cake in it surrounded by gala apples.
Bake the cake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, until cooked through.
An overhead view of a round single-layer gluten-free apple cake with one slice cut from the cake.
Let cool for 15 minutes before releasing from the pan. Slice and serve!

Recipe FAQs

What apples are best for apple cake?

You want to use an apple that is firm for apple cake so that it doesn’t disintegrate into the cake. You want to be able to see some apple chunks after baking. If you like tart apples, go with granny smith. If you like sweet apples, go with gala. If you like something in between, go with honeycrisp or pink lady. You can also use a combination of apples for a mixture of sweet and tart. 

Do you need to peel apples for apple cake?

Yes, peel the apples before you add them to the cake. The texture of the apple peel does not work well with this soft and fluffy cake, so it’s worth the extra few minutes to peel the apples. 

What gluten-free flour blend is best?

I’ve tested this recipe with King Arthur Baking Gluten Free Measure for Measure flour and Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour. Both contain xanthan gum and are meant to be substituted as a 1-for-1 swap with all-purpose flour. I cannot guarantee that other brands of flour will work in this recipe as I have not tested them myself. 

Can I use almond flour or coconut flour in this recipe?

No. Almond flour and coconut flour do not work the same way as a gluten-free flour blend does and the ratios are very different. Please do not use these flours in this recipe as you will be wasting your ingredients. Use a recipe that calls specifically for one of these flours. 

How long will apple cake keep?

Store this gluten-free apple cake covered at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. The apple cake will be fine at room temperature for a few days, but I find the texture starts to change after 2 days. You can also freeze the cake for up to 3 months when wrapped tightly.

expert tips

  • I like to use a springform pan for this recipe for easy removal, but you can use a regular 9-inch round cake pan if you prefer. If you do, make sure you grease and sugar the pan really well to help the cake come out cleanly. 
  • Peel and dice them just before you make the cake batter as they start to brown quickly. If you’re peeling your apples ahead of time, toss them with a tablespoon of lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
  • For a sweet cake like this, I like to grease my cake pans and then coat the bottom and sides of the pan with granulated sugar. It helps the cake come out of the pan perfectly every time and it also gives the cake a nice little crunch! 
A wedge of gluten-free apple cake topped with a scoop of ice cream with a bite taken out of it.

Serving suggestions

This cake is delicious plain, but there are so many ways you can serve it. It’s great for breakfast or dessert!

For breakfast, serve a slice with a cup of coffee or a pumpkin spice latte for a delicious Fall morning treat.

My brown butter cream cheese frosting would be delicious slathered on top of this apple cake. Brown butter and apples are a match made in heaven. 

A simple dollop of my chantilly cream on top of a slice of cake would keep this cake so light and yummy. 

A drizzle of caramel sauce, dulce de leche, or butterscotch is always a welcome addition to this cake. 

A scoop of vanilla ice cream, butter pecan ice cream, or salted caramel ice cream is sure to take this apple cake up a notch. 

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to know! Please rate it and leave a comment below. You can also share your pictures and tag @adashofmegnut on Instagram.

A close up of a round gluten-free apple cake with a wedge sliced from it.

Gluten-Free Apple Cake

This gluten-free apple cake is fluffy, moist and studded with tender apple pieces. Perfectly spiced with a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, this cake is a must-bake this Fall season. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a drizzle of caramel sauce for an extra treat!
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 340kcal
Author: Megan

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon butter (shortening or vegetable oil for coating pan, roughly 5g)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for coating pan, 25g)
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (250g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (if your flour blend does not already contain it)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (135g)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (120g)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (60mL)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (200g)
  • 2 large eggs (126g in shell)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (6g)
  • 2 cups apples (granny smith, gala, or honeycrisp (peeled, cored, diced in 1/2 inch chunks; 220g from 2 medium sized apples))

Instructions

  • Preheat an oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan or springform pan with butter and then add the granulated sugar and turn the springform pan moving the sugar around the pan until it is coated. Dispose of extra granulated sugar. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if using), baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the apple sauce, sour cream, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Beat with a mixer until combined.
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until no more streaks of flour remain.
  • Fold in the diced apples.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, until the cake is cooked through and when a toothpick is inserted into the middle it comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Notes

  • If you have celiac disease or are on a gluten-free diet, be sure to double check all of your ingredients to make sure they are gluten-free. Manufacturing practices change from time-to-time. 
  • I have tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour (in the blue bag) and King Arthur Baking Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. Both of these blends already contain xanthan gum, so you will NOT need to add it to the recipe. I can only recommend these two flour blends as it is all I have tested this recipe with. I cannot guarantee that other gluten-free flour blends will work in this recipe. 
  • For best results, use the metric ingredients, especially for the flour blend. The way that you scoop flour into a measuring cup can greatly affect the recipe. This is why I provide the measurements in grams, as you should have 250g of gluten-free flour for this recipe. A food scale is an inexpensive investment and will give more precise baking results. 
  • I use a crisp apple in this recipe so that it helps its shape well while baking, but remains tender enough to bite into after baking. Honeycrisp, gala, and granny smith apples are my favorite apple varieties in this recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 188IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @ADashofMegnut or tag #adashofmegnut!

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