This Vegan Apple Cake is full of chopped apples and tastes like fall! Topped with a brown sugar and vanilla glaze, it’s a sweet dessert you can bring to the holiday dinner or enjoy after a trip to the apple orchard.
Hello, moisture! This one-layer Vegan Apple Cake is a moist and tasty treat that’s full of your favorite fall flavors and plenty of apples. A perfect Thanksgiving dessert or to serve after a trip to the apple orchard.
The extra moist and warmly spiced batter is easy to make in one bowl. Before the cake heads into the oven, it’s packed with chopped apples and walnuts for crunch and a well-balanced sweet and tart flavor profile. Top it off with the brown sugar vanilla glaze and enjoy!
This vegan apple walnut cake is particularly delicious with the sweet glaze on top, but there are many other options to choose from, from whipped cream to cream cheese frosting. Or, for extra crunch, add candied pecans on top! It’s sure to be a crowd-pleasing dessert to enjoy with more fall-flavored treats, like my Vegan Pumpkin Pie and a glass of Vegan Eggnog.
What kind of apples are best for apple cake?
When baking, you want to choose an apple that will hold its shape well under the heat. According to Bon Appetit, Granny Smith apples are the best for baking. They’re my top choice for this recipe, as well as my Vegan Apple Pie.
Granny Smith apples taste tart and sweet, which means they complement the warm spices and brown sugar in apple cake perfectly. You can also use Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Pink Lady apples in this recipe but avoid McIntosh or Red Delicious apples. They’re too soft and not as flavorful as the other varieties.
- Dark brown sugar - This is the best sugar for this cake recipe because it has deep, molasses-like flavors. Perfect for this fall-themed cake and the cinnamon vanilla glaze on top!
- Applesauce - Unsweetened applesauce adds moisture to the cake, helping it turn out moist and fluffy.
- Vegan yogurt - Use plain vegan yogurt, like coconut or soy yogurt.
- Oil - Any kind of neutral oil or melted vegan butter will work just fine.
- Vanilla extract
- All purpose flour - For a more rustic flavor, use a 1:1 mix of all purpose flour and whole wheat flour.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Nutmeg - You can grate the fresh nutmeg yourself for even deeper flavors.
- Instant coffee - Just like in vegan chocolate cake, instant coffee is used to enhance the rich flavors in every bite.
- Apples - You need about 2 small apples for the cake. Dice or chop them right before making this recipe or else they could brown.
- Walnuts - Chopped walnuts are the perfect pairing for warm spices and apples, and they also add a nice crunch! Instead of walnuts, feel free to use pecans or almonds.
- Powdered sugar - You need powdered sugar to make the brown sugar and cinnamon glaze.
- Plant milk - Any type of dairy free milk will work well here, like oat milk, almond milk, or cashew milk.
How to make vegan apple cake
My vegan apple cake is a one-bowl, one-layer cake recipe. In other words, it’s an easy fall dessert that’s ready in under 1 hour:
Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients. Whisk the brown sugar, applesauce, yogurt, oil, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl.
Step 2: Add the dry ingredients. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and instant coffee to the bowl with the wet mixture. Gently stir everything together until just combined.
Step 3: Fold in the apples. Finish the batter by gently folding in the chopped apples and half of the walnuts.
Step 4: Top with apples and nuts, then bake. Transfer the apple cake batter to a prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Step 5: Make the glaze. While you wait for the cake to bake, whisk the sugars, vanilla, milk, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Zap it in the microwave to dissolve the brown sugar.
Step 6: Decorate and serve. Drizzle the brown sugar glaze on top of the cake once it’s completely cool. Slice, serve, and enjoy! Full ingredients and instructions in printable recipe card below.
There are several customizations you can make here to make this cake allergen-friendly or to play with the flavors:
- Nut free - Simply omit the walnuts if you need the apple cake to be nut free.
- Oil free - Replace the oil with ⅓ cup of yogurt, applesauce, or 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of each.
- Gluten free - I haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flour, but a gluten free flour blend should work well.
- Instead of the glaze - Decorate the cake with a dusting of powdered sugar or top the individual slices with vegan whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
- Two-layer cake - You can easily make this a two-layer cake by doubling the recipe and baking it in two 8-inch cake pans. Add some Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting on top of one layer, place the second layer on top, and decorate the top and sides with the rest of the frosting. Decorate with apple compote, walnuts, or candied pecans, then enjoy!
Store: Refrigerate the apple cake or individual slices in an airtight container for 3 or 4 days. It will stay fresh at room temperature for about 2 days.
Freeze: To freeze apple cake, wrap it or the individual slices (without the glaze) in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
Looking for more vegan fall desserts?
Enjoy everyone! Happy Day! Please feel free to comment below and give this recipe a rating. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!Print