Spiced Apple Cake

As a kid, I had this love/hate relationship with apples. They were my parents quick solution to tide-over a hungry child. For the record, I was still hungry. My lunchbox always included the same – bologna sandwich (no, thank you – tradesies), a fruit rollup, and an apple. The apple was the ONE item I couldn’t trade or give away, so I ate it. When I purchased my first home nearly 4years ago, you guessed it!…it came with a HUGE apple tree. I inherited more apples than I knew what to do with.

Today, that’s not a problem. I LOVE putting all of my apples to good use. Just like this Spiced Apple Cake!! It took me 3 attempts (within days) to get the recipe exactly how I had hoped…donut-esque top, gooey cinnamon apple filling, and tender base. All of those tasty juices melt into that bottom layer creating buttery perfection.

When creating recipes, it’s not always the ingredients that leave me scratching my head, but how to ‘structure’ the ingredients – layers in this case (see recipe). The batter that lines the bottom of the pan absorbs a lot of the juice from the apples + melted butter&sugar. Although it’s the same batter throughout, much of the bottom layer resembles a tender pie crust (yum), while the top layer is airy and fluffy (also yum). During my trial bakes, I also prepared the apple filling in different ways including…minced (tossed with almond flour – tasted doughy), sliced, and finally – roughly chopped. I found the latter cooked up the best with the butter&sugar.

Overall, I would say that the ‘final’ attempt at this Spiced Apple Cake was a HUGE hit. Everyone that tried it in my crew (of 12 that day) either had a big smile on their face while eating, or gave it rave reviews. I’m happy to say I can add this recipe to the FALL roster once my apples are ripe for picking – but really, there’s nothing stopping me from picking up some fresh organic apples from the local grocer year round and getting my bake on!

Spiced Apple Cake
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 10 mins
Resting Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins

This Spiced Apple Cake is light in texture, filled with gooey cinnamon apple pieces, and spiced to perfection. The bottom layer of batter absorbs ALL of the juices baking into a creamy crisp layer, while the top remains fluffy/donut-esque. 

Course: dessert, sweet treat
Cuisine: plant based
Keyword: spiced, apple, cake
Servings: 9
Author: thecrimsonsink
  • 1/2 cup light spelt flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp plant based butter, refrigerated *I use 1tbsp, but feel free to add more if too dry
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 2&1/2 cups crisp organic apples (about 2 med/large apples) – sliced, then roughly chopped into nickel-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp plant based butter, refrigerated
  • 1&1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, room temp.
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup oil – walnut, coconut (melted), grapeseed, or alternative
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups light spelt flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1&1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F. Grease a 9x9inch (deep) baking pan or stoneware.
  1. To prepare the topping, add all ingredients but the butter to a small bowl. Stir well. Add the cold butter to the bowl and use a fork to blend all of the ingredients together until crumb-like. *The butter should be evenly blended throughout the mixture (will appear darker in colour). Refrigerate until ready to use.

  1. In a bowl, add the filling ingredients except the butter. Toss to coat. Roughly chop the cold butter into pea-sized pieces and add to the bowl. Gently fold so the butter is throughout. Place the bowl into the refrigerator.

  1. Combine the almond milk and lemon juice. Stir and let it rest for a few minutes to curdle. Add to the curdled milk the apple sauce, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl, add the flour, baking powder + soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, and sea salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the centre of the well. Whisk just until combined – some lumps are fine; you don’t want to over mix. Let the batter rest for about 5mins.
  4. Take the prepared pan or stoneware, and add a few scoops of batter (about a healthy 1/3rd of the batter), so it lines the base of the pan – it doesn’t have to be even throughout.

  5. Next, remove the apple mixture from the fridge and add scoops of it to the awaiting batter in the pan. *Add the apple pieces in varying sized clusters, or mounds. This cake is not about having ‘even’ layers – varied is best. *However, once the last of the batter has been added, the cake should be roughly the same height throughout – balance the apple filling height with the batter height (see photos in post).

  6. Once all of the apple mixture has been added, scoop on top the remaining batter. *Add the batter around any high apple mounds, so the apple is still peeking through the top of the cake – not totally covered by the batter.
  7. Lastly, sprinkle the topping overtop.

  8. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 60-70mins, or until golden in colour, firm to touch, and fragrant.

  9. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before serving. The cake will sink a little.
  10. Store any leftovers in the fridge. Best if eaten within 3days of baking.

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