This Vegan Apple Cake tastes like Fall and is sure to become a staple dessert recipe come apple season! Best of all, it’s super easy to make in 1 bowl. Full of fresh diced apples with an optional caramel drizzle.
We are taking a quick detour from all of the pumpkin recipes I’ve been posting lately to celebrate apples. While I’m sad to see Summer go, Fall and Winter foods are my absolute favorite. Comfort foods like soups and potatoes are the best, as well as Fall flavored desserts like this Apple Cake.
This Vegan Apple Cake is like no other cake I’ve had. It is almost more apples than cake and it’s very rich! A small piece will satisfy your sweet craving. It’s the kind of cake your kids and grandkids will remember, and want you to make every year at least once.
You are going to love this apple cake! It’s:
- Full of fresh diced apples
- Moist and rich
- Easy to make in 1 bowl!
- Topped with a simple caramel drizzle that seeps into the cake
How to make vegan apple cake:
It’s so easy! First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Then pour in some melted coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla. Mix with a large spoon; the batter will be very thick, not like regular cake batter. This is because the apples add a ton of moisture when the cake bakes.
Fold in the apples and walnuts, using your hands if needed to incorporate them. Then press into your pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
All that’s left to do is make the optional caramel drizzle and pour it over the cake.
(SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR FULL INGREDIENTS AND INSTRUCTIONS)
How long will apple cake keep?
Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. At room temperature it will only last about 2 days.
Can it be frozen?
Yes, you can freeze apple cake. Freeze individual pieces or the whole cake. Just make sure to let it cool completely first, and wrap well or place in freezer friendly containers.
- Whole wheat pastry flour can be used instead of white flour
- Too sweet? Cut back the sugar to 1 or 1 1/2 cups.
- Another oil or melted vegan butter can be subbed for coconut oil, such as canola oil
- You might be able to sub gluten free flour mix for the white flour, but I haven’t tried it myself
- Nut allergy or don’t like nuts? Just leave them out, no problem.
Want more Fall dessert recipes?
Recipe adapted from Southern Kitchen.
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1 Bowl Vegan Apple Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup melted coconut oil*
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups peeled and diced apples
- 1 cup chopped walnuts*
Optional Caramel Drizzle
- 4 tablespoons melted vegan butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons non-dairy milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- Now pour in the melted coconut oil, applesauce and vanilla and stir until combined. The dough will be very stiff, not like most cake batters. This is because the fresh apples will provide a lot of moisture as the cake bakes.
- Fold in the diced apples and nuts. Use your hands if needed to get them incorporated.
- Press the cake batter into the pan, evenly. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool while you prepare the caramel drizzle.
- Make the caramel drizzle: In a small pot on the stove, add the vegan butter, brown sugar and non-dairy milk. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts. Bring to a boil and stir constantly, being careful not to let the mixture overflow. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring, then remove from heat.
- After the cake has cooled for about 20 minutes, drizzle the caramel sauce over it. Let cool for 10 more minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Instead of coconut oil, you may use another oil such as canola or melted vegan butter. If you do not like coconut flavor, make sure to use refined coconut oil.
- You could substitute whole wheat pastry flour for the white flour, if desired. This may work with a gluten free mix, but I haven't tested it.
- You can use walnuts or pecans, or leave the nuts out entirely.
- Serve with a dollop of vegan whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Family said this was best vegan apple cake yet!
Thank you for posting.
You are welcome, Amanda! How awesome the cake was a hit with the family! Thanks for your fantastic feedback!
An excellent recipe! The flavors are perfectly balanced (I used 1/4 cup less sugar).
Thanks for sharing your great feedback! Glad you loved the cake and found your right sugar balance!
Easy to make and delicious!
Glad you love the cake! Thank you for great feedback and review!
This cake is delicious! It’s been 24 hours since I made it and there’s none left. I made no changes but didn’t have quite enough coconut oil so I supplemented with vegetable oil.
I didn’t make or add caramel drizzle. It really doesn’t need it. It’s so incredible as is.
I’m guessing it would be unreal with plums. I may try that one day.
Thanks so much, this recipe’s a keeper!
How fabulous you loved the cake! I’ve never considered plums, let me know how it turns out if you try it! Thanks for your wonderful feedback and review!
I did make some minor changes with this one. I used one cup whole wheat flour and two cups of all purpose. I used a tad less sugar and 1/2 was brown half white. The end result was incredible! Better than my old non vegan German apple cake recipe which I’ve been missing soooooo much!
Thank you for sharing such a fantastic recipe! I will be making this often, and will probably try to reduce the oil, but flavor wise this recipe is perfection as is!
I’m so glad it worked out for you, Sammy! Thank you for your wonderful review 🙂
I just made this cake and oh my goodness it’s delicious! My family won’t even know it’s vegan. Thanks for the recipe!
You are welcome, Robin! Thank you for your terrific feedback!
Hi Nora, can you make this cake into cupcakes? How long should I bake it?
I have never made cupcakes with this recipe, however, other have commented they did and they turned out well. I would recommend baking around 30 minutes, or even less for cupcakes. Enjoy!
I only bake cupcakes from this recipe and they are amazing. Huge hit with friends and family. Baking time is between 25-35 minutes depending on how large the muffins are. Best and easiest recipe.
One of my go to sweet recipes when having guests at home. An all time favorite! Thank you Nora 🙂
You are welcome Rosina! Thank you for sharing your terrific feedback and enjoy the cake!
Nora, what type of apples do you prefer for this recipe? My mom used to use Granny Smith for baking pies but I don’t know if that applies to cake. Definitely making this for Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing!
Hi Emily. I prefer pink lady, honey crisp or Granny Smith. Enjoy!
Really nice cake – great fall dessert, and not super sweet (I used the full 2 cups of sugar, too). I loved how moist all the apple made the cake. I think I let my caramel get thicker than shown in the photos. It didn’t really soak into the cake, but I kind of wanted it to stay on top so it worked out. Even after refrigerating, the caramel wasn’t hard, just like a thick glaze. Highly recommend.
Hi Kelly. Your caramel covered cake sounds sooooo delicious! This cake is one of my mother-in-law’s favorites! I appreciate your wonderful feedback, it makes my day! I can just see your cake in my mind! Thank you!
Hi Nora, thank you for sharing this recipe!! This recipe is SOOO delicious, I made this for my mother, cause my mother has diabetes, so I made this recipe without any sugar, but still delicious!! My mother loved it so much!!! Next time I will make caramel drizzle for my father to add it, I was wondering can coconut oil be used instead of vegan butter? Cuz It is difficult to buy vegan butter in my country…
Coconut oil should work well. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, yay!
Absolutely lovely and delicious Fall treat! Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe! Definitely a keeper.
You are welcome, Kim. I’m so glad you loved the cake! I love this for a fall treat as well! Thanks for you great feedback!
Amazing! Best morsel of food I’ve ever tasted. Good shit.
So good and even better the next day!
I’m so happy you loved the cake! I agree that it is so delicious the next day! Thank you for your positive feedback!
Hi Nora! I love your recipes, this one included! Delicious! I had one suggestion – adding what size dice the apple pieces should be to the recipe (or did I miss it?). Mine were medium and I think I’d make them smaller next time.
Like others I put my own spin on the recipe – I used melted vegan butter for the oil and bloomed the cinnamon plus a half teaspoon of ground cloves in the melted fat. Milk Street Kitchen has a French apple cake recipe that uses solely cloves to season and it’s delicious – and it was here too. Thank you again for your innovative recipe!
Nora your recipes never disappoint and this one is delicious! I love everything you make. Thank you for always sharing!
Hi Bethe! You are welcome! I am so glad that you are loving my recipes! Thank you for your fantastic feedback!
This recipe is so delicious. I’m wondering if I can swap out half or 3/4 of the oil for applesauce? I tend to get acid reflux from the oil.
Hi Kari. I have not tried it, however, I think that should work! Enjoy!
This is a yummy recipe. I use whole wheat flour, cut the sugar to 1 1/4 cups and use apple sauce instead of the oil. It is delicious!! My family loves this recipe! Thanks Nora!
Hi Laura. You are welcome! I’m happy your family loves the cake! Thank you for taking time to to share your great ideas and feedback!
Delicious cake! Thank you for the recipe.
Should extra cake be stored on the counter or in the refrigerator?
Thanks for sharing, Laura! I’m glad you love the cake! It will be fine at room temperature for about 2 days. If it will be around more than 2 days, store it in the refrigerator. Hope this helps!
Okay…as a seasoned vegan who is a good baker, I just had this cake and Wow!!! My boyfriend is obsessed with apple pie and anything sweet with apples. He absolutely loved it as well. It’s so fluffy and delicious. The only thing is that it was a little bit too sweet for me. Also I replaced regular sugar with brown sugar for the caramel and it was sooo caramely! Highly recommend to make it to impress any non-vegan believers!
Does this cake need to be served warm?
Hi Julie. The cake does not need to be served warm. Happy baking!
I kept the peels on to save time and it worked out fine! Also halved the sugar like other people said, and that worked too! Otherwise followed exactly. The lesser amount of sugar makes it more of a breakfast cake than a dessert cake I think, which is what I was going for. Kudos, delicious recipe! I love the caramel sauce too.
Hi Kristen. Thank you for sharing you wonderful feedback and ideas! This is one of my favorite cakes! It is so good for breakfast! Wishing you happy cooking!
Hi Nora, just made this and it was fabulously delicious. I made it in a bundt pan. I put whole pecans and a bit of brown sugar. I replaced 2 cups reg sugar with 1 cuo dark brown sugar. Added a mix of chopped walnuts and pecans. I didn’t have apple sauce so I replaced with almond yogurt. I used whole wheat APF and left skin on the apples (red delicious). Lastly, I added extra cinnamon, a few sprinkles of nutmeg, and pumpkin pie seasoning. I also made just half quantity of caramel drizzle. It was just enough. Anyhow this was perfect and I can’t wait to make it again and I know this cake is going get eaten really fast!! Thank you!!
Hi Therese. I’m so glad the cake turned out great for you! Thank you for taking time to share you great feedback, ideas, and review!
So I randomly bought apples today. I googled “vegan apple…” and I came across this Nora Cooks recipe for Apple Cake. Everything I’ve ever made from Nora has been nothing short of amazing. And this apple cake did not ruin the streak! This cake made my heart smile. Something so beautiful and good, made from scratch. Simply wonderful!
I’m so glad you tried the apple cake! I absolutely LOVE this cake! I appreciate you taking your time to share your fantastic review and feedback! Thank you for using my recipes!
This is my favorite fall recipe! Have you tested making this in a Bundt pan?
I haven’t used a bundt pan, but it should work! The cake will just need to be baked for a few minutes longer.
Hi Nora, can I turn this cake into a loaf cake? If not how can I adapt the recipe? Thank you so much, Christine
Hi Christine. Yes, it can be made into 1 or 2 loaf cakes! They should only need 40-55 minutes in the oven but check them after 40 just to be safe.
Yum!!!! Super good apple cake! You’ll want to make it again and again!!
I am not vegan but my daughter is. I made this using only 1 cup of sugar and using melted vegan butter instead of coconut oil. I also made the glaze using dark brown sugar. I was surprised by how good it was. A lot of times I am unhappy with vegan baking but this tasted great. I will definitely make it again.
I’m so glad you loved the cake! Thank you for sharing your fantastic review!
Diane I just want to say that Nora is my favorite vegan baker. She has the best recipes. My daughter is vegan for 20 + years. Whenever I bake now that I live close to her it’s always vegan & I’ve never been disappointed. Nora is awesome!
Your kind words made my day! Thank you! I appreciate your wonderful feedback and review!