This gluten-free vegan apple cake is perfectly spiced, fluffy, light and easy to make. Made with a secret ingredient, this upside down cake has the perfect texture and is the ideal cosy treat for fall. Serve with a scoop of vegan ice cream for ultimate deliciousness!
I don’t know about you, but I love fruity desserts a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I can never pass on something chocolatey. But, oftentimes, a tangy, refreshing treat with an undertone of tartness is exactly what I need. Furthermore, it’s super easy to increase your daily fruit intake if you add fruit to your desserts!
Apple-based desserts are some of my favourites. Everything from apple crumbles to caramelised apples, it reminds me of cosy, rainy afternoons and enjoying a warm treat with a cup of tea. The addition of cinnamon makes things even better.
And this apple cake is no exception. It’s gluten-free, but the addition of a secret ingredient makes it super fluffy and moist. Regardless of what season it is, you will love with with a scoop of dairy-free ice cream. But if you’re like me and prefer the warmer seasons, a treat like this cake can make fall and winter seem much better.
Upside down vegan apple cake
Upside down desserts are soo much fun! Who agrees?! They are really easy to make when you don’t have a lot of time, and taste delicious too. When it comes to this apple cake, I love the contrast between the fluffy, soft dough and the sweet apples that practically melt in your mouth.
This apple cake is made with a secret ingredient, which is aquafaba. If you’ve never heard of aquafaba before, it’s basically the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Sounds weird, but it makes a great egg white substitute in vegan baking. When you whisk it for a long period of time, it turns super soft and fluffy, and then you can add it to whatever.
And the function of aquafaba in this recipe is exactly that: giving the cake volume, fluffiness, and an irresistible texture that’s the furthest thing from dry or crumbly. Trust me, no one will believe that your gluten-free vegan apple cake contains no eggs and no gluten-containing flour either!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Granny smith apples. I love this apple variety! It works so well in baking recipes, given its delicate and unique flavour. You can, however, try out different apple varieties and see how you like them.
- Aquafaba. Simply drain a can of chickpeas over a bowl and retain the liquid. You can use the chickpeas to make something like my vegan butter ‘chicken’ or a massaged kale salad with roasted chickpeas.
- Coconut sugar. Make sure to set some aside for dusting the pie dish.
- Lemon juice. I would not recommend removing this as it does help improve the flavour.
- Cinnamon. Because after all, apples and cinnamon is one of the best combos!
- Self-raising gluten-free flour.
How to make the best gluten-free vegan apple cake
Firstly, peel and chop your apples until you have around 1.8 lbs apple slices in total. Sprinkle some coconut sugar over a pie dish and arrange the apples in a circular pattern, starting from the outside and working in. Repeat, creating layers, until you have used up all the apples.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 F. Meanwhile, whip the aquafaba using a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form. This usually takes around 10 minutes, so be patient with it.
Once stiff peaks form, continue whisking and gradually add in the coconut sugar. Next add the lemon juice and cinnamon. Once they are well-combined, stop the mixer and gradually add the flour, mixing using a spatula or a spoon.
Pour the batter into the pie dish and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. When the cake cools down fully, flip it by holding the bottom of the cake while wearing oven gloves, placing a plate or a cake stand on top of it and flipping it over carefully.
Tips and tricks!
- Make sure to whip the aquafaba for long enough. This is essential for a light, fluffy and soft texture.
- Wait for the cake to cool down fully before flipping it. You can then reheat the slices on a microwafe-proof plate before serving.
- For extra texture and crunch, you can add around 1/2 cup nuts (walnuts in particular work well) into the batter after mixing in the flour.
Other vegan pies and cakes that you might love
- Cherry pie
- Vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting
- Lemon poppyseed cake
- Easy gluten-free chocolate cake
- Berry and almond polenta cake
Let me know: what’s your favourite fruity dessert? If you give this gluten-free vegan apple cake a go, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@earthofmariaa) so I can see your creations, and leave your feedback in the comments below so I can see your creations.
Gluten-free Vegan Apple Cake
- Cake tin (8 inch diameter)
- Conventional oven
- Mixing bowl
- Handheld mixer
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar (plus more for sprinkling over the cake tin)
- 1.8 lbs Granny Smith apples peeled and chopped (weigh after preparation)
- 1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid from 1 can chickpeas)
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp self-raising flour
- Prepare the cake tin by either lightly greasing it or lining it with parchment paper (see recipe notes for instructions). Sprinkle some coconut sugar over the cake tin and arrange the apples in a circular pattern, starting from the outside and working in. Repeat, creating layers, until you have used up all the apples.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 F.
- Meanwhile, whip the aquafaba using a handheld mixer until stiff peaks form. This usually takes around 10 minutes, so be patient with it.
- Once stiff peaks form, continue whisking and gradually add in the coconut sugar. Next add the lemon juice and cinnamon. Once they are well-combined, stop the mixer and gradually add the flour, mixing using a spatula or a spoon.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown. When the cake cools down fully, flip it by holding the bottom of the cake while wearing oven gloves, placing a plate or a cake stand on top of it and flipping it over carefully.