This Old Fashioned Vegan Apple Cake features a deliciously-moist cake filled with apples and spices. It’s topped with brown sugar frosting.
Looking for the perfect dessert? This old-fashioned vegan apple cake recipe is a favorite. It’s like my vegan vanilla cake, except mixed with just the right spices, apple slices, and brown sugar frosting.
Real bits of apple throughout the cake add texture and flavor. And the caramel brown sugar frosting adds rich color and sweetness to every bite.
How to Make Vegan Apple Cake
You can find the complete printable recipe with ingredient amounts below. But first, here are some ingredient explanations and steps to help you perfect this recipe every time.
- Stir together flour, sugar, salt, spices and baking soda.
- In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil, water, applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla.
- Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture.
- First stir with a spatula.
- Then stir with a whisk to remove large lumps of flour.
- Fold in the chopped apples. Learn more about preparing apples for apple cake (and pie).
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
the main ingredient
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- flour — You can use all-purpose baking flour, whole-wheat flour, whole-wheat pastry flour, or even high-quality gluten-free flour (usually, they’re labeled for baking).
- sugar – You will need both granulated sugar and brown sugar.
- salt – A little salt balances the sweet taste.
- spices – I add cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for the best flavor.
- Baking soda — The baking soda will interact with the vinegar to create lift in this cake.
- vegetable oil – You can use canola oil, olive oil, or avocado oil.
- apple sauce – To add apple flavor, we’ll add a cup of unsweetened applesauce.
- Vinegar – Let’s continue the apple theme and use apple cider vinegar. You can substitute regular white vinegar or even lemon juice.
- Vanilla — We will add vanilla extract to enhance the flavor of the cake.
- apple – You will need two large apples. I like to use a tart Granny Smith apple for this recipe.
How to make this cake healthy
It’s an egg-free apple cake which means it’s a little healthier than anything “out of the box”. And if you like this cake, go for it. But if you want a healthy vegan apple cake, here are some ideas:
- Reduce granulated sugar by 25%
- Use whole wheat flour (either 100% or half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour).
- Add fiber by adding a tablespoon or two of ground flax seeds, ground chia seeds, or psyllium husk fiber.
- Skip the sugary frosting and go with something lighter, like aquafaba whipped cream. You can use my vegan meringue recipe as a guide.
Here are some great options for topping your apple cake:
- Sprinkle powdered sugar – A little powdered sugar sprinkled on top is a nice touch.
- Dairy-Free Whipped Cream — I love the texture of whipped cream on a cake (like my vegan pineapple cake), and this pairs beautifully with this one!
- Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Caramel Brown Sugar Frosting – As you see pictured in these photos. It is quite easy to make. Step-by-step instructions are on the recipe card below.
Why this recipe is a winner
- flavored — Spices and apples add so much flavor to every bite!
- Crowd favorite — Baked fresh apples in a cake topped with caramel frosting has something that touches everyone’s favorite food buttons.
- satisfactory — combined with spices, caramel flavor, and apple bits, makes this cake so rich, delicious, and utterly satisfying!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can this cake be gluten-free?
You can make a vegan gluten-free apple cake by replacing all-purpose flour with high-quality gluten-free flour for baking purposes.
What kind of apples are used for apple cake?
To offset the sweetness of the cake, I like to use firm, tart apples like Granny Smith apples.
Cover the cake and refrigerate. It will keep for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. You can freeze the cake or slices in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months.
Vegan Apple Recipe
If you love this vegan apple cake as much as I do, you’ll want more apple desserts. Like my vegan apple pie. Also try these yummy vegan apple recipes:
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Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C. Spray a 9×13 cake pan with vegetable spray.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, spices and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil, water, applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
Pour the water mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until combined. Fold in the chopped apples.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes A toothpick inserted in the center until it comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool almost completely 30 minutes before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle the top with powdered sugar or brown sugar frosting (see recipe below).
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Brown Sugar Frosting
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup plant-based milk or creamer
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Cook vegan butter, brown sugar and plant-based milk (or creamer) in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the butter melts. Then stop stirring and let it come to a boil. When it boils, keep boiling for 1 minute. Then reduce the flame and cook for another minute. Whisk in the powdered sugar and then remove from the heat. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle over hot cake.
Calories: 330kcal | Sugars: 52g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fats: 7g | Monounsaturated fats: 3g | Trans fats: 0.1g | Sodium: 382mg | Potassium: 94mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist consultation.