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 (72 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. loved this cake!! thank you for the wonderful recipe. i did 2/3 whole wheat flour, halved the sugar, subbed olive oil for coconut and used a mashed banana. instead of the apple sauce. it was so delicious. next time, i want to try even more apples- maybe 4 or 4.5 cups- do you think this would add too much moisture to the cake? thanks again!

    1. You’re so welcome! This cake is one of my personal favorites. 🙂 I’m glad to hear it turned out with the changes you made. You could try adding more apples but it may add a bit too much moisture.

  2. Great delicious easy recipe with everyday cupboard  ingredients .
    I only used half the sugar and found it cooked  in about 25 mins .Didn’t make sauce but didn’t need it 
    Thank you Nora 
    (Only yet made from this site choc cake in a mug  they were same easy and delicious)

  3. That cake was apple baked anything perfected. Even with our mistakes it was still good. We prepared it while caring for 2 littles and while one of us was in a Zoom meeting. Yet, the result was still amazing. Here are our well done mistakes/preferences:

    1. Baked it in a bread tin. We had to play it by ear to see if it was done. We ended up “over cooking” it but what that really meanst was the bottom became a familiar crust-kind of like the bottom of sweet potato pie.

    2. We didn’t put the caramel mixture in a pan. Didn’t see that step until after kids were in bed ☺️. We simply mixed it in a container and poured it over the cake. It was fine. But it didn’t need it.

    3. We committed the nuts entirely.

    Overall, we enjoyed it. Too sweet for is but we will use less sugar next time and maybe even a Graham cracker layer.

  4. This cake was so easy to make and simply delicious. I reduced the sugar a bit. It was otherwise perfect. Nora, do your kids eat all your vegan recipes? I have a hard time getting my kids to eat vegan (not the sweets of course. The cake is a huge hit). 

    1. Hi Karen! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I only cook vegan at our house, and it helps that my kids have never eaten meat, so they really have no interest in it. My older kids especially will eat dairy or eggs from time to time, and as they get older (12 year old twins) I want to empower them to make their own choices regarding what they put into their own bodies. I hope they will share my values. 🙂 My older two are pretty good about eating everything I cook these days, and they mostly like everything. The 5 year old however is a different story! I try to plan meals that I know he likes, and he relies a lot on vegan nuggets, vegan cheese sandwiches and such. But he loves fruit and oatmeal and lots of other kid friendly vegan foods. Best of luck! I know it’s hard. You might want to check out a post I wrote awhile back about feeding vegan kids. Thank you!

  5. I’m so excited to try this recipe!

    Do you think that this could be made in muffin tins for little individual servings?

      1. It will be fine at room temperature for about 2 days I’d say, but store it in the refrigerator for a few extra days. Thanks!

  6. A delicious and easy vegan cake! Had a ton of apples I couldn’t let go to waste. Subbed the applesauce for pumpkin puree, the coconut oil for olive oil (after eyeing another apple olive oil cake recipe) and divided the sugar up between white, brown, and honey for the perfect level of sweetness.

    Doubled the caramel sauce recipe (to have more for later!) and added a bit of pumpkin puree, vanilla, and sea salt. Such a yummy fall treat!

  7. Absolutely delicious- a perfect autumnal desert. The only thing I had to tweak was the amount of sugar used, I used 1 cup instead of 2 and the cake was still on the upper tolerance of sweetness for me! Next time I will cut it to 3/4 cups and I think that will perfectly hit the right sweet spot for me ☺️ 

    I also omitted the caramel sauce and rather served the cake with the plain yoghurt- perfection.

    Also forgot to mention, adding a layer of slivered almonds on top of the cake just adds that perfect crunch which takes this cake to another level!
    I think next time I’ll try and add some Amaretto or almond essence …

  8. This is the most delicious/easiest dessert! Even though I used walnuts, it so reminded me of the richness of pecan pie. A total winner!!!

  9. I absolutely love this recipe! I used gluten-free flour and it was just perfect! Since I was just baking for one  I cut the recipe in 1/2 and used an 8 x 8 pan. Delicious!

  10. This apple cake is perfect! The whole family loved it. The carmel sauce compliments the cake so nicely. I halved the recipe and used 1/2 cup sugar. I will make this again and again.

    Thanks Nora ?

  11. Thank you Nora. This cake is absolutely delicious. I didn’t make the caramel sauce and I don’t feel that the cake is missing anything. I am so grateful to you for a recipe that works exactly as it is supposed to.

  12. I made this today. I halved the recipe, swapped the flour 1:1 with gf flour, and added in a mashed banana and olive oil in place of the butter. So delicious! 

  13. Wow! Delish, and so easy! I omitted the nuts, but other than that I made as written. Another winner! Thank you, Nora!

  14. Nora,
    This is amazing. I made it with oat flour so added extra flour but otherwise true to your recipe! For the sauce, I had to use what I had on hand so did an oat milk with coconut sugar, vanilla, and brandy and then arrowroot to thicken it. AMAZING. Thanks so much.

  15. Absolutely delicious apple cake.  I’m not vegan, but my daughter is.  Every recipe I have made from Nora Cooks Vegan is excellent.  I love the variety of vegan recipes she creates.  I am a huge, huge fan.  Thank you Nora

    On this Apple cake, I shredded the apples because that’s my preference on any apple cake I have made.  So moist and flavorful. 

  16. This is delicious! I used just over 1 cup sugar and omitted the caramel sauce. Everyone loved it. Super easy too!

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