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. I had to make this with gf flour, so that made mine a little dense & gritty, but that’s not the recipe’s fault. I also halved the oil, doubled applesauce, and halved sugar (but made half of that brown sugar), so I’m sorry for all the changes!  But the flavor – with the diced apples and walnuts – is amazing. Not oily, plenty of sweetness and texture. Thanks Nora!

    1. Hi Angie! I’m so glad that you loved the apple cake! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review and comments! I appreciate you using my recipes!

  2. My anti-vegan-baking mom loved this as much as I did! 🙂
    Thank you for the head’s up in terms of the batter’s texture which is really more like dough… it worked out fine, but without the instructions, I would have thought I did something wrong.

  3. Wonderful, easy recipe. Came together quickly once I had done all the peeling/chopping. Used a combo of coconut oil and vegan butter. Timing was perfect. Thanks for another hit recipe, Nora!

  4. Thank you for the lovely recipe! The cake was great. I used half the sugar, half the oil and twice the applesauce as recommended in the notes and by some of the other commenters.

  5. Thank you so much for the recipe. This cake came out incredible! I added only half the sugar and substituted the apple sauce with vegan yogurt. Absolutely delicious!

  6. THIS CAKE IS AMAZING. I used half the sugar and oil and it was so great. Everyone ate it up so quickly I’ll have to make two next time. 

    1. Hi Alex! I’m glad the cake was a hit! Thank you so much for sharing your great review and comments! Isn’t a great time of year for an apple cake!?

  7. Made it, it was awesome. Used less sugar than called for by half. Really didnt measure the sauce ingredients. Really must use your hands to incorporate everything into the dough. Added 2 vegan eggs too. Just great!

  8. I’ve made this wonder-cake numerous times (using half the sugar), and it’s always perfect. This time I used GF flour, and it came out just as great.
    Maybe a bit more oily than usual. I don’t usually bake with gluten free flour, so it could be it doesn’t absorb the oil as well. Next time if I use GF I’ll also reduce the oil. Thanks!

  9. Made this cake today. It was so amazingly delicious! I didn’t have all purpose flour so I used bread flour. And I cut the sugar by 1/2 cup. Everything else was exactly the same.  Thanks for such a great recipe!

  10. This recipe is excellent! It gets devoured right away every time I make it.

    Like others have suggested, I cut the sugar in half and it’s still plenty sweet for my crowd.

    Some have asked about making it as cupcakes. I tried this in a 12-cup pan and it came out very nicely. While I reduced the cook time to about 35-40 minutes, that still might have been a little on the high side—the bottoms were burnt slightly, but it was hardly noticeable. I would recommend around 30 minutes or even less for cupcakes.

    Thank you for this fantastic recipe!

    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing your experience about making them with cupcakes! I appreciate you taking your time to share your wonderful review and comments!

  11. This was a hit with everyone!  What a great recipe. I used half the sugar in the cake, but kept the glaze and it was perfect amount of sweetness. 

    1. It might work, but I haven’t tried it. I’m afraid it might be too dense and heavy in a bundt pan, and it would probably take an hour or more to cook.

  12. Nora,

    This cake was great. I made a couple of alterations. I used 1/2 cup of canola oil and increased the applesauce to 1 cup. I also used whole wheat flour instead of white flour. This cake was a big hit. I a, going to make it again. Thank you for all your great recipes!

  13. Best recipe ever! I added less sugar and it is absolutely amazing ? love it! Thank you so much for this recipe.

  14. I made this with half the sugar like some people recommended. It was delicious but a bit dry – FYI for anyone planning on doing the same thing. Going to try making it exactly as the recipe next time! 

  15. I have made this recipe four times in the last two weeks! It’s so good! I cut down the sugar and skipped the drizzle and it still dazzles every time! Thanks Nora for this awesome 1 bowl recipe!

    1. Hi Sarah! This cake is one of my mother in law’s favorites! She loves it without the drizzle as well! I’m so glad you love the cake, and I appreciate you taking your time to share your terrific review!

  16. This recipe is amazing! The only thing I did differently from the recipe is I only used half the sugar for the cake, which was perfect since there’s plenty of sweetness from the apples and applesauce! This one’s going right into our Favorite Recipes book!

  17. This is an excellent recipe. It is not difficult and comes out delicious. I didn’t use the full two cups of sugar and skipped the drizzle and it was perfectly sweet for me. Thank you!

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