This Vegan Apple Cake is soft and fluffy with a tender crumb and features plenty of juicy fresh apples. It’s easy to make and is perfect for snacking or dessert.
Pumpkin everything tends to get all the love this time of year, but this vegan apple cake is the perfect fall treat when you want something quick and easy.
Just like my Banana Snack Cake, this apple version takes just minutes to put together. It’s fluffy and moist and just sweet enough with juicy bits of apple in every bite.
We love it and think you will, too!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
Flour ~ All-purpose flour results in a soft, fluffy cake. White whole wheat flour may be used if you prefer. Spelt flour should also work, but I haven’t personally tried it.
Sugar ~ A combination of light brown sugar and cane sugar is the perfect amount of sweetness with hints of caramel, which is a perfect complement to the apples.
Spices ~ Cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg bring the warm fall vibes. You can add dried ginger, allspice, and/or cloves if you like those flavors as well. The more spices you add, however, the less the apple flavor will come through.
A dash of salt balances the flavor.
Apple cider ~ Apple cider is big on flavor and adds extra sweetness. This cake is definitely best made with the cider. But, if you don’t have cider, apple juice or even water will work. The final result will be a more mild apple taste, but still really yummy!
Oil ~ Oil adds necessary fat to keep the cake moist. I like grapeseed oil or canola oil for baking, but melted coconut oil can also be used.
Vinegar ~ Vinegar helps the cake to rise. I tend to always use apple cider vinegar and because we are making a fresh apple cake, it’s the perfect choice here. But, white vinegar may be used instead.
Apples ~ You’ll need two average size apples. As long as they are crisp and juicy, they will work. Nothing with a mealy texture. I like to use one tart and one sweeter apple, but you can use two of whatever you have.
Extras ~ Feel free to throw in some chopped walnuts or pecans if you like a little crunch in your snack cake.
How to make the recipe
Please scroll down to the recipe card for exact ingredient measurements and instructions.
Add all of the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl (1) and whisk together well (2).
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the liquid ingredients (3).
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine (4). No white flour should be visible, but a few lumps are fine.
Add the diced apples (5) and gently fold in until evenly distributed (6).
Pour the cake batter into a prepared baking dish (7) and bake in a preheated oven until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (8).
Allow to cool completely before slicing.
I like to slice this cake into 16 small squares, but you could cut it into 9 bigger slices if you prefer.
We love this cake plain just as it is. It’s perfect for snacking, next to a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast, or served with a dollop of vegan ice cream or dairy-free whipped topping for dessert.
To really drive home the apple flavors, try sipping an Apple Crisp Oatmilk Macchiato with your next slice of apple snack cake!
To make this vegan apple cake recipe worthy of holiday entertaining, top it off with a crumbly streusel, sticky glaze, or creamy frosting.
- streusel topping like on this vegan pear cake
- vegan peanut butter frosting
- cashew cream cheese frosting like on this vegan carrot cake
- simple sugar glaze like on this blueberry breakfast cake
- cinnamon buttercream like on this pumpkin layer cake
- dusting of powdered sugar like on this vegan gingerbread cake
Counter: Store this vegan apple cake in an air-tight container on the counter at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Fridge: To keep this cake fresh longer, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezer: You can even freeze this apple cake! You can freeze the whole cake or cut it into slices first. Wrap the cake or individual slices in parchment paper and then place in a freezer-safe plastic bag or container and freeze. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
To thaw: Transfer to the fridge to thaw overnight or place on the counter for several hours until softened. Keep the parchment wrapping on the cake while it thaws so it doesn’t dry out. A whole cake will take longer to thaw than individual slices.
Pro tips and tricks
~ Measure the flour using the spoon-and-level method. Fluff up the flour with a spoon, lightly spoon it into a measuring cup, and then level off the top with the back of a knife. Do not scoop the measuring cup directly into the flour and do not pack the flour into the measuring cup – both of which will result in too much flour used.
~ Apple juice or water may be used in place of the apple cider. I have done this several times and the cake is still delicious. The apple flavor will just be less pronounced.
~ Do not over mix the batter. Whisk the dry and wet ingredients together just until no visible white flour remains. A few lumps are fine and expected. This will ensure a light, tender crumb.
~ Dice the apples fairly small or, alternately, shred the apples. Apple chunks too big will make it hard for the cake to stay together.
~ Allow the cake to cool before slicing.
This cake is so easy, it can accommodate almost any type of apple. It’s sweet enough to handle tart apples like Granny Smith apples, but not too sweet that Honeycrisp apples would be inappropriate. I like to use one tart apple and one sweeter apple to get the best of both worlds. Use what you have on hand. Just make sure they are juicy, crisp and without bruises and blemishes.
While it’s not 100% necessary, I recommend peeling the apples to ensure the most tender texture.
Sure! Although, I haven’t tried it personally, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Please note that cupcakes/muffins don’t take as long to bake as a full cake. I suggest checking for doneness after about 20 minutes. You can use my Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes recipe as a guide.
Yes! I think this cake is actually even better the second day! Allow the cake to cool completely before transferring to an air-tight container. Store it at room temperature on the counter for up to 2 days. For longer storage, transfer to the fridge for up to another 3 days. Note: If using a frosting or glaze, wait to add the topping until right before serving.
More vegan apple recipes
- Stovetop Cinnamon Apples
- Pumpkin Apple Baked Oatmeal Cups
- Kale Apple Slaw
- Caramelized Onion and Apple Quesadillas
- Strawberry Apple Smoothie
- Apple Pie Smoothie
- Vegan Apple Crisp
- Apple Cinnamon Bread
- Whole Grain Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Porridge
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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Vegan Apple Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup apple cider or water
- ½ cup cane sugar
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup grapeseed or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 apples peeled and diced (about 1 ½ cups)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the cane sugar, brown sugar, oil, apple cider, vinegar, and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir just until no visible white flour remains. A few lumps are fine and expected.
- Stir in the diced apples until evenly distributed.
- Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Transfer the pan to a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes then remove the cake from the pan and place it back on the cooling rack to continue cooling completely.
- Once the cake has cooled, slice and enjoy!
Nutrition values are calculated using online calculators and are estimates only. Please verify using your own data.