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.

slice of vegan apple cake with apple and red towel

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
  • Cinnamon-y
  • Moist and rich
  • Easy to make in 1 bowl!
  • Topped with a simple caramel drizzle that seeps into the cake

cut in pan vegan apple 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.

Possible substitutions:

  • 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.

very close up of apple cake with apple in background

Want more Fall dessert recipes?

vegan apple cake with a fork taking a bite, red towel in background

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Recipe adapted from Southern Kitchen.

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.

cut in pan vegan apple cake
4.98 stars (67 ratings)

1 Bowl Vegan Apple Cake

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.
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Cooling time: 30 mins
Total: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. You can use walnuts or pecans, or leave the nuts out entirely.
  4. Serve with a dollop of vegan whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 125mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 154IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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…
        Thank you!!!

    1. 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!

      1. I’m so happy you loved the cake! I agree that it is so delicious the next day! Thank you for your positive feedback!

  3. 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!

  4. Nora your recipes never disappoint and this one is delicious!  I love everything you make.  Thank you for always sharing!

    1. Hi Bethe! You are welcome! I am so glad that you are loving my recipes! Thank you for your fantastic feedback!

  5. 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. 

  6. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

  7. 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.

    1. 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!

    2. 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!!

      1. 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!

  8. 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!

    1. 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!

  9. Hi Nora, can I turn this cake into a loaf cake? If not how can I adapt the recipe? Thank you so much, Christine 

    1. 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.

  10. 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.

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