This gluten free apple cake with dairy free caramel frosting is amazingly delicious. You will LOVE it!
It’s perfect for October and the holiday season. And it’s definitely special enough to serve to guests.
Because this gluten free apple cake recipe is gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, AND paleo – it’s perfect for any friends or family members that may have allergies.
In fact, you could even leave out the walnuts if you needed it to be nut free. You’d be sacrificing a little crunch, but it would still be one heck of a gluten free apple dessert.
What Makes This Apple Cake Gluten Free?
This gluten free apple cake is made with coconut flour. Coconut flour is naturally gluten free and it just so happens it’s a pretty tricky flour to work with – which is one reason I love it!
I love a good challenge, and I’m extra excited when I can nail a coconut flour recipe. And let me tell ya, I nailed this gluten free apple cake!
Almond flour is a great gluten free flour to work with as well, but unfortunately it won’t work as a 1:1 sub for this apple cake. So don’t try it. You’ve been warned. 🙂
Here’s what you’ll need for this dairy free gluten free cake:
Ingredients For Gluten Free Apple Cake
- Coconut flour
- Baking powder (not baking soda!)
- Pure maple syrup
- Full fat coconut milk
- Vanilla extract
- Shredded apples (peeled and cored)
- Avocado oil or coconut oil
- Finely chopped walnuts
For this paleo apple cake recipe, I like to use Gala apples. We usually buy Gala apples because they’re affordable where I live, sweet, and crisp. However, I think that any apple will work in this gluten free apple cake.
How To Make Gluten Free Apple Cake
In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. The dry ingredients include the coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.
Next, add in all the wet ingredients and stir until evenly combined. The wet ingredients include the eggs, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract, and coconut milk. I use avocado oil, but melted coconut oil would work well too.
Then, let the cake batter sit for 5 minutes while you peel, core, and grate the apples with a cheese grater. I love the texture of the shredded apples in this gluten free apple cake, but if you’d prefer to finely dice them, that is totally acceptable!
Finely dice the walnuts, and add them to the mixing bowl along with the shredded apples. Mix well until combined, and pour into a parchment lined 8×8 glass baking dish.
If all you have is a standard metal cake pan, that’s okay. Just keep in mind it will probably take less time to bake. So just keep an eye on it. I wouldn’t recommend a bundt pan for this recipe.
Place into a 350℉ oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the middle feels bouncy when touched and a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cake cool to room temperature before frosting. I actually like to stick the cake in the fridge and serve it cold! So delicious!
What Do You Put on Top of Gluten Free Apple Cake?
Caramel frosting of course!
Now, this frosting requires a batch of my easy dairy free caramel sauce. Which, while incredibly easy (we’re talkin’ throw some coconut milk and honey in a pot and simmer it) it does take about 45 minutes.
I know, I know, who’s got time for that? Well, I recommend making the caramel the night before you’re planning on making the cake. That way, it’s all ready to go the next day.
So throw the ingredients in a pot, turn on your fave Netflix show, and in no time at all you’ll have homemade dairy free caramel sauce. Easy!
Because this gluten free apple cake is full of apples and nuts, it’s a little more on the dense side.
However, the creamy, light and airy caramel frosting balances it all out and together they make a perfect bite!
If you don’t want to make the caramel sauce a day in advance, don’t you worry. Just make sure you leave yourself enough time for the caramel sauce to fully reduce down and come to room temperature before mixing up the frosting.
Speaking of frosting – Let’s get to it! It has an amazing consistency and would be delicious topped on any cake, cupcake or cookie. It definitely takes this dessert to the next level.
How to Make Caramel Frosting
In a medium sized mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to combine 3/4 cup homemade caramel sauce with 1/2 cup coconut cream. For the best texture, you’ll want both of these ingredients to be cold.
Next, add in the vanilla extract and ground cinnamon and give it a whirl one last time with the hand mixer.
If you don’t have a hand mixer, a whisk will do. The end result may not be quite as light and airy, but it will still be delicious. And that’s it! Slather that caramel frosting all over the cooled apple cake and dig in!
Now I want to know – what’s your favorite apple dessert? Gluten free apple crisp? Apple muffins? Apple pie? Tell me below! Actually, now that I think of it, who says we have to pick just one?
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Gluten Free Apple Cake
For the Cake
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
- 1/2 cup grated apple (peeled and cored) Or finely chopped if you prefer. About 1 medium apple.
- 1/2 cup finely diced walnuts
For the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a glass 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Add in the eggs, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract, and coconut milk.
- Let the cake batter sit for 5 minutes while you peel, core, and grate the apples with a cheese grater.
- Finely dice the walnuts, and add them to the mixing bowl along with the shredded apples. Mix well until combined, and pour into a parchment lined 8x8 glass baking dish.
- Place into a 350℉ oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the middle feels bouncy when touched and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature before frosting. (See notes)
For the Frosting
- Add the cold coconut cream (the solid part of a can of full fat coconut milk), caramel sauce, ground cinnamon and vanilla into a mixing bowl.
- Use a hand mixer to thouroughly mix all the ingredients together until smooth and airy.
- If you don't have a hand mixer, a whisk will do. Please note that it may not be as light and fluffy as it would be if you used a hand mixer.
Hungry for more? Try some of my favorite recipes!
Sautéed Asparagus with Ghee and Garlic
Paleo Spice Cake with Cinnamon Maple Glaze
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pancakes
Crunchy Almond Butter Cups
Coconut Lime Date Balls
Pineapple Chicken Fajitas
Paleo Whoopie Pies
Paleo Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies