This vegan apple cake has a light and fluffy texture and moist crumb. It’s topped with fresh sliced apples and cinnamon sugar for a beautiful yet easy-to-make cake!
My family and I go to the apple orchard every autumn to pick bushels of apples. When we get home, I implement those apples into my favorite seasonal recipes like homemade applesauce, vegan apple butter, baked apples, and more. Today, I’m making one of my favorites: vegan apple cake with cinnamon sugar!
This version is a take on a traditional Dutch apple cake. It is easier than an apple pie but just as delicious. It’s a layer of light, fluffy vanilla cake, topped with slices of apples that are gently placed on top of the batter and then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
When it bakes, the apples soften, and the cinnamon sugar browns and bubbles for a caramel-like topping.
You’ll love this plant-based dessert any time of year, but it’s a must during apple season!
💗 Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Easy and simple recipe
- Uses pantry ingredients
- Light and fluffy texture
- Moist crumb
- Sweet chunks of apples
- Caramelized cinnamon sugar topping
- Full of fall flavors
- Perfect for the holidays
🥣 Ingredients and Notes
All-Purpose Flour: Used to create a light and fluffy texture. You could also use white whole wheat flour, but the cake will have a more dense texture.
Baking Powder and Salt: Used as a leavening agent for this cake.
Coconut Oil: Creates moisture in this bake. You’ll also need a touch to grease the cake pan. Use the type in its solid form, not liquid.
Organic Cane Sugar: Creates a light-colored cake. You could substitute coconut sugar or brown sugar, but just be aware that it will have a darker color.
Vanilla Extract: This brings out the natural flavors of the apples and gives the cake a vanilla flavor.
Banana: Used as an egg replacer in this recipe. It also adds a touch of natural sweetness. Use a browning banana for the best results.
Soy Milk: Adds moisture with a neutral flavor. Be sure to use unsweetened soy milk. Or use another non-dairy milk of your choice, such as almond or oat.
Apples of Your Choice: I used prime gold since that was what we picked at the orchard. However, any other baking apple would also work well. I suggest Granny Smith, Jonagold, or Honeycrisp.
Cinnamon Sugar: Combine to create a caramelized topping for the apples.
📖 Variations and Substitutions
Make it Gluten-Free: Use 1:1 gluten-free flour. I don’t recommend using almond flour, as it is not dense enough to create a fluffy cake.
No Coconut Oil: You can use melted vegan butter if you don’t have coconut oil.
More Apples: Add some diced or shredded apples to the batter to make it even more full of apple flavor.
Double the Recipe: Make twice as much and add the batter to a springform pan for a thicker cake slice.
📋 How to Make Vegan Apple Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350° F, line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with coconut oil.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla.
- Add one banana cut into slices. Cream together until combined and light and fluffy.
- Add the flour to the wet ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the soy milk. Fold it together until it is combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin.
- Slice and core apples into eight pieces each or 16 pieces altogether using an apple corer. Place the apple slices on top of the batter in a circular pattern, lightly pressing the edges into the batter.
- Stir together cinnamon and ¼ cup of organic cane sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of the apples.
- Bake for 55 minutes at 350 F, or until apples are soft and a toothpick is inserted in the cake clean.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Run a thin, sharp knife or an offset spatula around the edges of the cake. Place a serving plate on top of the cake and flip it so that it releases from the pan. The will be upside down. Take another plate and flip it again; it will be right side up. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.
📝 Expert Tips
- Choose a good baking apple such as Granny Smith, Prime Gold, Jonagold, or Honeycrisp. Some apples, such as red delicious, don’t have firm flesh and break apart when baked.
- Use unsweetened soy milk or other unsweetened dairy-free milk. This cake is sweet enough with sugar, banana, and apples, so you don’t want it to be overpoweringly sweet by having the milk be sweetened.
- Banana is used as an egg replacer. It also adds more sweetness to the bake. If you choose, you can reduce the added sugar to ¼ cup if you prefer a less sweet taste.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Vegan cakes can sometimes be dense due to the absence of traditional animal-based ingredients like eggs and dairy. Eggs provide structure and moisture, while dairy adds richness and tenderness to cakes. Vegan substitutes such as flax eggs, applesauce, or plant-based milk may not replicate these functions perfectly, leading to a denser texture if the recipe isn’t carefully balanced or if leavening agents like baking powder are insufficiently used. Proper ingredient selection and ratios and appropriate leavening are crucial in achieving a light and fluffy vegan cake.
Vegan cakes can turn out gummy in texture when there’s an excess of certain ingredients like flax eggs or starches such as cornstarch or tapioca starch, which can create a sticky, gluey texture. Additionally, overmixing the batter can overdevelop gluten in wheat-based flour, leading to a gummier consistency. Properly balancing ingredients, using suitable egg and dairy substitutes, and avoiding overmixing can help prevent the gummy texture in vegan cakes, resulting in a more desirable crumb.
🍽 How to Serve
Serve this cake as a vegan dessert for Thanksgiving or the holidays! Top with coconut whipped cream or dairy-free vanilla ice cream. Or eat it plain! It’s absolutely delicious, all on its own!
How to Store and Keep
Place leftover cake slices in an airtight container or wrapped them in plastic wrap. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
😋 Check out these other vegan cake recipes!
⚖️ Serving Size
This cake makes eight slices of cake.
Vegan Apple Cake
- 2 medium apples sliced into 8 pieces each
- ¼ cup raw sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper, and grease the sides of the pan with coconut oil.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl cream together coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla using a hand or stand mixer.
- Add one banana cut into slices. Cream together until combined and light and fluffy. Add the flour to the wet ingredients a little at a time, alternating with soy milk.
- Add batter to the prepared cake pan and spread evenly across the top.
- Slice and core apples into 8 pieces each or 16 pieces all together using an apple corer. Place apples in a circular pattern on top of the batter, lightly pressing the edges into the batter.
- Combine cinnamon and ¼ cup of raw sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of the apples.
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes. Run a thin, sharp knife or an offset spatula around the edges of the cake. Place a serving plate on top of the cake and flip it so that it releases from the pan. The will be upside down. Take another plate and flip it again; it will be right side up. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving.
- Choose a good baking apple such as Granny Smith, Prime Gold, Jonagold, or Honeycrisp. Some apples, such as red delicious don’t have firm flesh and break apart when baked.
- Use unsweetened soy milk or other unsweetened dairy-free milk. This cake is sweet enough with the sugar, banana, and apples, that you don’t want it to be overpoweringly sweet by also having the milk be sweetened.
- You can reduce the added sugar to ¼ cup if you prefer a less sweet taste.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Serve with coconut whipped cream or dairy-free vanilla ice cream.
- Use a good baking apple such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Prime Gold, or Jonagold.