This Gluten Free Apple Cake is sweetly spiced, nut-free and egg-free. It’s super easy to throw together with pantry ingredients. Like all good apple cakes, it smells amazing while it’s baking in the oven.
The cake starts with a cake batter spiced with cinnamon and allspice. Cinnamon is a no-brainer with apples and allspice has become one of my new favourite spices. If you don’t have any ground allspice at home, a pinch of nutmeg or cloves would also be delicious with the cinnamon.
Then we stir fresh apples into the batter. I like to use red apples in this recipe, but any apples will work. Peeling the apples before chopping them up is optional. However, I personally like to peel the apples for this apple cake recipe because it helps the apple pieces meld better with the cake batter.
I’ve been using unsweetened oat milk in my baking recipes lately. In this recipe, you can use any milk that you like. If using a non-dairy milk, I like to make sure it’s unsweetened. Have a read of the ingredients list, since some brands tend to add quite a lot of sugar!
Healthy apple cake recipe
I love using buckwheat flour in healthy cake recipes like this apple cake. It’s naturally gluten-free and arguably more nutritious than most gluten-free flour blends. You can find buckwheat flour at most major supermarkets these days. It’s usually placed in the baking section, or sometimes in the health food section.
Just remember that when baking with flour, it’s always best to measure your flour in grams on a digital food scale. If you use cup measures, you can end up with very different results depending on how you ‘pack’ or ‘scoop’ the flour into the cup. You can find affordable digital food scales in most department stores and some supermarkets.
To sweeten the cake batter, I use coconut sugar in this recipe. It has a delicious caramel-like flavour that goes so well with the spices. Like all natural sweeteners, it is still sugar at the end of the day. But my general philosophy on nutrition is to focus on eating nutrient-dense foods, without getting too obsessive.
I have only used 1/2 cup, or 70 grams, of coconut sugar in the whole cake. For me, this is all that is needed since the fresh apples also provide sweetness. You can buy coconut sugar in the health food section of most supermarkets or at health food stores.
Ingredients for Gluten Free Apple Cake
Apples: Red apples are my favourite for this cake. But any variety of apple will work.
Unsalted butter: The traditional option for an apple cake. I like to use unsalted butter and add my own salt to the cake batter so that I can control the salt level.
Coconut sugar: Adds a delicious caramel-like flavour to the cake. You should be able to use brown sugar or raw sugar instead of coconut sugar. I haven’t tested the recipe this way but would love to hear if you try it out.
Buckwheat flour: To keep the cake gluten-free. If you don’t need the cake to be gluten-free, it should work with plain, all purpose flour. I haven’t tested this but would love to hear if you do.
Milk of choice: I used unsweetened oat milk. But any milk will work. If you’re using a non-dairy milk, opt for an unsweetened variety if you want to keep the sugar content down.
Baking powder: To give the cake batter some lift. Make sure your baking powder is within its best before date because it stops working properly when it gets stale.
Ground cinnamon: A must with apples, in my opinion! You could use ground ginger instead for a gingerbread vibe if you don’t like cinnamon.
Ground allspice: Works perfectly with the cinnamon. You can substitute a pinch of nutmeg or cloves instead if you don’t have allspice at home.
Fine sea salt: To enhance the flavours in the cake. Highly recommended!
Vanilla extract: Blends well with the spices. Vanilla paste would be even better if you have it. If you don’t have any extract or paste, you can just leave it out.
More buckwheat flour recipes
Check out these Buckwheat Jam Thumbprint Cookies if you have leftover buckwheat flour. They are one of my all time favourite cookies, with a shortbread-like texture.
These Buckwheat Pancakes are also a great gluten-free alternative to regular wheat flour pancakes. That recipe also includes a quick blueberry compote, which is a delicious alternative to sugary syrups.
For a savoury option, I like to make these Buckwheat Zucchini Muffins. They are great for breakfast or a snack if you’re trying to cut back on sugar.
- 1/3 cup / 76g unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup / 70g coconut sugar
- 14oz / 400g / about 2 large apples (see Note 1)
- 1 cup / 120g buckwheat flour (see Note 2)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 cup / 180ml milk of choice (I used unsweetened oat milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1Preheat your oven to 160°C fan-forced / 180°C / 350°F and line the base and sides of a 20 cm / 8 inch round cake tin with baking paper.
2Place the butter and coconut sugar into a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool.
3Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces about 1 cm / 0.5 inch thick.
4Place the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder and sea salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the cooled melted butter and sugar mixture, milk and vanilla and fold everything together until just combined. Fold through the chopped apples. Don’t over mix.
5Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the preheated oven on the middle rack for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
6Allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a serving plate. Sprinkle a pinch of coconut sugar on top before serving if desired.
Note 1 – You should end up with about 300g chopped apple pieces after peeling, coring and chopping the whole apples. I peel the apples so that the apple pieces meld better with the cake batter. However, feel free to leave the skins on if you prefer.
Note 2 – I recommend weighing your flour in grams on a food scale to make sure you don’t add too much, which will dry out the cake. If you only have measuring cups, 120g of flour should be 1 US cup (240ml) with the flour gently spooned into the cup, not scooped or packed.
Serving size: 1 slice
Energy: 663kJ (158Cal)
Total Fat: 6.9g
Saturated Fat: 4.1g
Total Carbohydrate: 22.5g
Dietary Fibre: 1.2g
Nutrition information is an estimate only. It may vary depending on the brand of ingredients used.