A delicious and easy apple cake that’s free of dairy, eggs, and refined sugar. Also includes a gluten-free alternative.
My hubby loves all things apple. I wasn’t always a big fan, but it seems your tastes begin to evolve the longer you live with someone. Not with everything, of course, because I still won’t eat mussels and you can keep your stinky cheeses, please and thank you. But apple-y treats are pretty delicious, I’ll give him that. 😉
Several years ago, our German neighbor made us the yummiest apple cake. It was a very simple vanilla cake with fresh apples placed on top before baking. I was surprised to see the cake didn’t contain any cinnamon at all. Like, is there such a thing as apples without cinnamon?! But the cake is good on it’s own and allows the apple flavor to shine.
I had posted the photo above of a cake I made last week using the last of my pink pearl apples. They’re a beautiful variety that has a bright pinkish-red flesh. The downfall is that they have such a short season, which only lasts a couple of months. I’d bought a bagful towards the end of the season and had been keeping them in the back of my cold fridge so they’d last a while.
Since pink pearl apples are difficult, if not impossible, to find this time of year, I came up with a simple, all-natural glaze using strongly steeped hibiscus tea, to add that same pretty pink color to this cake. Of course you could also just use the plain apples and omit the hibiscus glaze. The cake alone is just as delicious, whether it’s dyed pink or not.
This cake is soft and fluffy, with tender bites of apple throughout. Because it’s not overly sweetened, it makes a yummy addition to tea or coffee, and would even suffice for breakfast! Please let me know if you get a chance to make this and don’t forget to tag me on social media too (@wifemamafoodie) if you post a pic! Enjoy, friends!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or for gf: 1½ cups gluten-free cup for cup blend + ½ cup almond flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup melted butter or coconut oil (use refined coconut oil for less coconut flavor)
- ⅔ cup maple syrup or honey (I used a combo of both)
- ¾ cup almond milk or other milk of choice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large or 4 medium apples, peeled, cored, halved, and sliced thin
- turbinado sugar or raw sugar, for sprinkling on top of cake (optional)
- ¼ cup loose hibiscus tea or 2 hibiscus tea bags, or more as needed
- ½ cup water
- 3–4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
- Mix together flour(s), baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add melted butter, sweetener, milk, and vanilla. Beat 2-3 minutes or until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Scoop batter into the springform pan and smooth evenly throughout the pan.
- Core apples and cut in half. Slice each half thinly and arrange slices onto the batter in the pan.
- Place springform pan onto a baking sheet and place on the middle rack in the preheated oven.
- Bake for 40–50 minutes or just until cake is lightly brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
- Let cool slightly and run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Remove the outside of the springform pan and carefully separate the bottom of the cake from the metal bottom with an offset spatula. Carefully transfer to the serving plate. Yields 8-10 servings.
- Boil water and steep tea for several minutes, until desired color is reached. Should be deep red. Strain loose tea/ bags, pressing out as much water as possible.
- Place tea in a shallow dish and add peeled apple slices. Let soak for 10–15 minutes, or until apples are dyed pink.
- Lightly shake off apples and place on top of cake batter in the pan. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar, optional. Bake cake for 40–50 minutes or until center is set.
- Meanwhile, boil remaining tea until liquid is reduced and more concentrated (I added a little more loose tea to depend the color) Add sweetener and continue to boil for a few minutes, until thickened. Remove syrup from heat and cool. Brush syrup over cooled cake and serve.
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