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Gluten-Free Fresh Apple Cake

This gluten-free apple cake is flavorful, moist, and easy to make with fresh fall apples. It's topped with my favorite dairy-free maple cream cheese frosting!

A slice of gluten free apple cake on plate with a forkful missing from the corner.

Consider this the ultimate gluten-free apple cake: bursting with fresh apples, apple butter, and applesauce for triple the apple goodness! It’s super moist and full of cozy fall flavors, thanks to a nice amount of cinnamon spice and an irresistible vegan maple frosting. This cake is gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free, and made with wholesome ingredients, including a hearty blend of gluten-free flours. Yep, this is a cake you can totally have for breakfast.

Why You'll Love This Gluten Free Apple Cake Recipe

  • Wholesome ingredients. I make this cake with a combination of gluten-free flours for a hearty and flavorful apple cake. It took some trial and error, but I've perfected the ratios and the cake turns out so moist and tender!
  • Full of fall flavor. Every bite of this soft gluten-free apple cake is bursting with cozy fall spice and fresh bits of apple, amped up with apple sauce and apple butter for triple the fall flavor.
  • Creamy frosting. I share my simple, dairy-free maple cream cheese frosting that's so good, you'll want to eat it straight from the bowl! It's free from refined sugar and tastes amazing next to the spices and fruity flavors in the cake.
Bags of three types of flours needed for gluten-free apple cake.

What You’ll Need

If you bake gluten-free cakes and muffins on the regular, you’ll probably find that you have a lot of the ingredients for this apple cake in your pantry already. Once you gather your ingredients, this cake recipe comes together lickety-split! Scroll down to the recipe card for printable ingredient amounts and recipe instructions.

For the apple cake

  • Flours – I use a combination of quinoa flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, arrowroot powder, and coconut flour from Bob's Red Mill. Make sure you're using almond flour, not almond meal, which has a coarser texture.
  • Coconut sugar – Coconut sugar has a nice caramel flavor, which is perfect for this fresh apple cake.
  • Baking powder and salt
  • Cinnamon – Ground cinnamon or nutmeg bring cozy flavor to the cake.
  • Eggs – I use organic farm-fresh eggs.
  • Almond milk – Use unsweetened, unflavored almond milk, or any other plant milk you like or have on hand.
  • Applesauce and apple butter – The combination of apple sauce and apple butter adds depth to the flavor. If needed, you can substitute apple butter with extra applesauce.
  • Oil of choice – I like coconut or olive oil.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Shredded apple – Choose any apple you'd like. My favorites are baking apples (see below), like I'd use in apple crisp. You can shred the apple using your food processor or do it by hand with a box grater.

For the frosting

  • Vegan cream cheese and butter – If you’re not vegan, you can use regular cream cheese and salted or unsalted butter.
  • Maple syrup – Be sure to use real maple syrup, not pancake syrup!
  • Arrowroot powder – Cream cheese frosting is usually loaded with confectioners’ sugar to thicken it, but arrowroot powder helps stiffen it without all the sugar.

Which Apples Are Best for Baking?

Granny Smith is usually the traditional choice for baking, but you can use any apple that’s firm and sweet-tart in flavor. For this gluten-free apple cake, I like Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Pink Lady, and Jonagold. 

A stack of four gluten-free apple cake slices on plate.

How to Make Gluten-Free Apple Cake

Like all of my cake recipes, this gluten-free apple cake is quite simple to make. I'll often make it on weekend afternoons, and it's out of the oven in under an hour. All you need to do is mix up the quick cake batter, fold in the apples, and bake the cake in a lined 9×9″ square pan at 350ºF for about 35 minutes.

Afterward, whip together your cream cheese frosting, and spread it over the cooled cake. I like to give the frosted gluten-free apple cake a finishing sprinkle of cinnamon. Voilà! For printable recipe instructions, scroll to the recipe card below the post.

Overhead view of assorted squares of frosted gluten-free apple cake.

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • Make sure there are no clumps in the dry ingredients. Sifting the flours isn't mandatory, but check to see if your almond flour is clumpy and if it is, break it apart with your fingers or pass it through a sifter.
  • Toast the quinoa flour. Toasting your quinoa flour will mellow out the flavor a bit and get rid of the bitterness. Here's a tutorial on how to toast quinoa flour if you’ve never done it before.
  • Cool the cake completely. Vegan cream cheese seems to have a lower melting point than regular cream cheese, so it’s super super SUPER important that your gluten-free apple cake is 100% cooled to room temperature before you frost it. 
  • Add raisins. Soak raisins in apple cider (or spiced rum!) until they plump up and fold them into the cake batter.
  • Add nuts. Stir chopped walnuts into the batter or sprinkle them on top of the frosting.
  • Lighten things up. Swap the frosting out for a dollop of coconut whipped cream on each slice of cake.
Overhead view of gluten-free apple cake frosted with vegan cream cheese frosting, cut into squares.

How to Store 

  • Refrigerate. This gluten-free apple cake should be stored in the fridge for best freshness. Cover it in the pan or transfer any leftovers to an airtight container; it will keep for about 5 days.
  • Freeze. You can freeze your apple cake for up to 2 months. Store it in an airtight container and let it thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

Gluten-Free Fresh Apple Cake

This gluten-free apple cake is perfect for breakfast or brunch! It has triple the apple flavor with fresh fall apples, applesauce, and apple butter, topped with the creamiest dairy-free cream cheese frosting.
author: Alyssa
yield: 16 squares
Overhead view of gluten-free apple cake frosted with vegan cream cheese frosting, cut into squares.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes


for the cake:

for the frosting:


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a square 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients.
  • In a separate bowl, combine your eggs, milk, applesauce, apple butter, and oil. Beat these into the dry ingredients until a very thick batter begins to form. Fold in the apple.
  • Transfer all the batter into the pan and smooth with the back of your spoon.
  • Bake in the center of your warmed oven for 35 – 38 minutes. Test with a cake tester by placing it in the center of the cake. If there is nothing on the stick when you remove it, the cake is ready!
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
  • For the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter and maple syrup using electric beaters or stand mixer with the whisk attachment (my preferred method). Once smooth, beat in the arrowroot powder.
  • Dollop the frosting on top of the cake and smooth it out with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired and enjoy!



* toasting your quinoa flour will mellow out the flavor a bit and get rid of the bitterness. not sure how to toast it? here's a tutorial on how to toast quinoa flour!
** if you want to reduce the sugar, skip the frosting!


Serving: 1square | Calories: 192kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg
cuisine: American
course: Baked Goods

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