Gluten-Free Apple Cake
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:
- 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.
For best results, use a food scale and follow the metric measurements stated in the recipe card. Baking with a food scale is far more accurate for dry ingredients, especially gluten-free flour that can vary easily depending on the way you scoop it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More gluten-free cakes & cupcakes to try
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Gluten-Free Apple Cake
- 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))
- 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.
- 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.