Gluten-Free & Vegan Spice Apple Coffee Cake
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Best Gluten-free & Vegan Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

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Vegan & Gluten-free Spiced apple coffee cake

This has to be the best vegan apple cake that I have ever had. This Spiced Apple Coffee cake recipe makes for a delicious fall staple to be enjoyed as a snack at any time of the day. Enjoy with tea or coffee as a snack or if you prefer as a dessert with the icing. The icing glaze transforms this delicious snack into a decadent dessert.

Vegan & Gluten-free Spiced apple coffee cake

So what is a coffee cake anyways? Essentially a coffee cake is just a regular cake that is not sweetened as much as a regular cake so in all honesty, this might as well be a spiced apple cake or even an apple and walnut cake especially when the icing in on top.

I prefer desserts/treats that are not too sweet, but just enough that they satisfy that sweet tooth. I had seen many coffee cake recipes and these seemed like the perfect treat during the day and given the time of year where apples are right in season, I figured I would make my own spiced fall coffee cake version with apples. The tart apples are the perfect fit for this dessert giving it a good balance between sweet, tart, and spicy. This combination of flavors really awakens your palate without necessarily given you that sugar rush. However, if you top it with the icing, it does make for a delicious and decadent dessert. I’ve tried it both ways and I can’t decide which one I like best.

This Vegan Spiced Apple Coffee cake is:

• Sweet
• Spicy
• Tart
• Moist
• Seasonal
• Versatile enough as a snack or dessert

Vegan & Gluten-free Spiced apple coffee cake

Picking the Apples for this Recipe

Picking the right apples is more important than you would think for this recipe. The wrong apples will change the taste and texture of cake. I chose granny smith apples because I like tart apples in my spiced apple cake but you could use any type of stewing apples for this recipe depending on how sweet or tart you would like. I would however stay away from apples that are too soft because they will just disintegrate once you bake them.

Here is a list of apples that keep composure when baked that could also work well in this recipe:

  • King
  • Braeburn
  • Honey Crisp
  • Cortland
  • Pink Lady

Making a Gluten-free and Vegan Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

The recipe is so easy to make. Start by preheating the oven to 350˚F (175˚C) and greasing your 8×8” tin and/or lining it with parchment paper. I like to do both because parchment paper really makes for easy removal from the tin and slicing without destroying this beautiful cake. Just leave two little tabs on each side for easy removal.

Start by making the crumble. Mix all of your crumble ingredients into a medium-sized bowl and thoroughly mix until you have a nice crumbly mixture (see image below). If you like coconut oil, I would highly suggest using that because once it cools, it really makes for a nice crunchy crumble on top. I wouldn’t recommend using margarine mainly cause when it cools, it won’t give that same hardened texture that the coconut oil will provide you. If you don’t like the taste of coconut oil, then I would suggest using a vegan butter that is appropriate for baking like Miyokos or one that hardens well in the fridge.

Next would be to work on your cake portion. Start by mixing in all your wet ingredients; grapeseed oil, vanilla extract, milk of choice, and apple cider vinegar. In a separate bowl, mix in your dry ingredients; sugar, baking soda and powder, flaxseed, gluten-free flour, spices, and salt. Mix till well combined and create a well in the center of your dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and use a stand mixer till well incorporated. Alternatively, if you have a good solid pair of arms, you can just mix it by hand. I actually don’t have a stand mixer and just used a fork. Just make sure you get rid of all those flour clumps before pouring the batter into the tin. Depending on the brand of flour that you used, the thickness of the batter will vary. The density should be just barely pourable. If it is too liquid, add in more flour, or if it is too dense to pour, add in a little more milk. Stir in the apples.

Pour your batter into the 8×8” tin and scrap the sides off with a spatula. Next, pour in your crumble topping and try to spread it evenly over the top. Pop it into the oven and bake for 45-55 minutes testing it at the 45-minute mark because baking times will vary. Once a toothpick comes out dry, your cake is done.

While the cake is baking, if you decide you want to make it with the icing glaze, now would be the time. It’s quite simple, take a cup of sifted icing sugar, because there is nothing worse than lumpy icing, and add a tablespoon at a time of your milk of choice, mixing it in between with a whisk till it is well incorporated. Depending on how thick you would like it, I would suggest 3 tablespoons, which is just thick enough to pour.

Once your cake is ready, let it cool off for at least 15 minutes. Then, take it out of the pan by pulling out the tabs of the parchment paper and onto a cooling rack. If using the icing, drizzle on as much icing as you would like and cut into 9 even squares. Enjoy hot or cold for about 3 days.

Making it with Almond flour and refined sugar-free

This is a nice alternative for those who are looking for a lower carb version of the same recipe. Quite a few people had requested it and someone came back to me to excited about how delicious it was telling me that the recipe worked really well, so, I’m going to include it :-). Simply replace the regular flour with 3/4 cup of almond flour and add an extra 1/4 cup of tapioca starch. You could also replace the sugar with coconut sugar making it a lower-sugar option and refined sugar free.

Spiced apple coffee cake
Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

Gluten-free & Vegan Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

This Spiced Apple Coffee cake makes for a delicious fall staple to be enjoyed as a snack at any time of the day. Enjoy with tea or coffee as a snack or if you prefer as a dessert with the icing.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 472kcal
Author Happy as a Yam Recipes


  • 8×8" baking tin


Walnut Crumble for topping:

  • ¼ cup Gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup walnuts finely chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup coconut oil or vegan butter melted
  • cup granny smith apples cubed

Wet ingredients:

  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 ¼ cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp of flax seed
  • 2 cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon power
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp clove powder
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granny smith apples peeled and chopped into small cubes

Icing glaze

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp plant-based milk


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 8×8 in. baking pan or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Mix all of the ingredients for the Walnut Crumble together in a medium bowl and set aside. Don’t overmix.
  • In a small bowl, add wet ingredients and whisk until well combined.
  • In a large bowl, whisk dry ingredients until well combined.
  • Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Using a stand mixer or by using a fork, combine until well-incorporated. Stir in chopped apples.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Top with walnut crumble and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 45-55 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on it. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • In a medium bowl, mix in the icing sugar and plant-based milk and mix until you have a uniform mixture. Set aside.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to slightly cool for at least 15 minutes before drizzling icing sugar on top. Slice and serve.


*Alternatively you could make this with almond flour. Simply add 3/4 cup of almond flour and  1/4 cup tapioca. 
**For a refined sugar-free option, replace with coconut sugar.

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  1. Hi Katia – whilst I am not vegan I really like the look of this cake and love apple cake too. I am inclined to make as is but do you think this would adapt to me using eggs instead of chia seeds? If so how many eggs do you think would be good?
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Sandra, I’m so glade you would like to try this. I think this recipe would work well with eggs too. I would use 2 eggs for this. Let me know how it works out, I might include it as an alternative.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve recently needed to go gluten-free and have missed homemade baked goodies, but this looks like a perfect recipe to get started up with them again. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Hi Jay,
      You could also use any all-purpose gluten-free flour. I used the Kinnikinick but I found that one a little denser that what I would have liked it but it was still very delicious and I am extremely picky when it comes to these things and you might totally disagree. But, if I were to make it again, I would probably choose rice flour instead because the added starches in the kinnikinnick gives it a lot of denseness. I would stay away from bob’s red mill 1 to 1 for this because that one is notoriously dense and more for yeast based doughs. Hope this helps!

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