This vegan apple cake recipe is loaded with delicious apple and cinnamon flavor. It creates a soft, fluffy cake that’s simple to make! No complicated steps or fancy ingredients required.
There are plenty of ways to make apple cake, but this recipe is exactly like the one I grew up eating. It’s perfectly sweetened without being sugary and is a great way to enjoy apples any time of year.
Get the Veg Out newsletter for vegan recipes + nutrition content!
This post contains affiliate links (including Amazon Associates) and I earn from qualifying purchases.
Is Apple Cake Vegan?
Most apple cake recipes use dairy and/or eggs meaning they’re not vegan. Luckily, it’s extremely easy to replace these non-vegan ingredients in most vegan baking recipes.
For this vegan apple cake, you’ll simply replace milk with a plant-based alternative and leave out the eggs. The result is a soft, fluffy cake, overflowing with delicious apple and cinnamon flavor!
Apple Cinnamon Cake Ingredients
The ingredients for this recipe are quite simple and should be found at any typical grocery store. While a couple ingredients are flexible, as this is a baking recipe, follow it closely for best results.
- Plant-based milk: This recipe skips the dairy in favor of a plant-based milk. Any unsweetened option should work but I recommend soy milk for best results.
- Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar curdles milk and creates a quick buttermilk alternative. For a rich and delicious apple cake, I like to use apple cider vinegar.
- Sugar: All cakes need to be sweetened, and this one is no different! Use regular, granulated sugar for an easy and perfectly sweetened cake.
- Apple sauce: Apple sauce is a great choice in many vegan baking recipes to help reduce how much sugar and/or oil you need. In this recipe, it adds even more apple flavor!
- Vegetable oil: Some oil helps create a soft, luxurious cake that’s moist, soft and delicious! Any neutral-tasting vegetable oil should work (I don’t recommend olive or coconut oil for this recipe).
- All-purpose flour: Regular, all-purpose flour is perfect to create a soft cake texture that holds its shape while staying perfectly tender.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Together, these ingredients let the cake rise, creating small air bubbles for a lighter cake texture.
- Salt: A pinch of salt helps to round out the flavors in any recipe, including baking!
- Ground cinnamon and nutmeg: Cinnamon and apple pair together for a delicious cake and nutmeg rounds out the flavor for a perfectly spiced cake. While I highly recommend using cinnamon, nutmeg is optional, and you can use more (or less) of either spice.
- Apple: Of course, our apple cake needs apple chunks throughout! I like to cut the apples quite small to get a piece in every bite, but you can cut them into large chunks if you prefer. Use any apples you have on hand for this recipe. Some apples have higher water content and may increase the baking time, but I’ve found any type of apple works just fine.
- Walnuts: For a crunch that perfectly compliments apple flavor, I love adding walnuts. This is optional and you could use any type of nut. Pecans are another tasty option.
How to Make Vegan Apple Cake
This is a very simple cake to make, and it easily comes together in one bowl. I often make cakes and muffins in a single bowl. While this isn’t “technically” correct, I’ve never run into any issues and it saves dishes!
Step 1: Mix Liquid Ingredients
Start by adding plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk these together and let it sit for about 1 minute. This creates a quick and easy buttermilk alternative.
Soy milk works best as it has a high protein content, and protein in milk curdles to create that thick texture. I love using tangy, thick buttermilk in baking for added richness and to help the final recipe not taste as sweet.
After the buttermilk is ready, add the remaining wet ingredients, including granulated sugar, apple sauce, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
Whisk these ingredients together until they’re well-combined.
Step 2: Stir in Dry Ingredients
If you like, whisk all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before stirring into the wet mixture. However, I like to bake in a single bowl, so I simply add the dry ingredients directly on top of the mixed liquid ingredients.
At this point, add all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Mix dry ingredients into the wet ones with a large spoon until it’s mostly combined but there’s still some large clumps.
At this point, add the chopped apple and walnuts. Continue stirring until the apple and walnuts are evenly mixed throughout the batter and there are no large or visible clumps of dry ingredients.
Try to not overmix the batter or your cake texture may become tough and chewy.
Step 3: Bake and Serve
Preheat your oven to 350 °F.
Then, grease a 9-inch round cake pan using vegan butter, margarine or a non-stick cooking spray.
Scrape all the cake batter into your pan. I use a spatula to do this. The batter is quite thick, so you’ll also need to spread it into an even layer.
Bake for 35-37 minutes. Your cake is done baking when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
When the cake is done, remove it from your oven and let sit for a few minutes. Then, carefully remove the cake from its pan and place onto a wire cooling rack (or serving platter).
I typically flip the cake onto a cutting board (upside down) then flip it again onto the cooling rack (right-side up).
You can serve right away or let the cake cool to room temperature.
Apple Cake Variations
There are endless ways to make apple cake. As I mentioned above, this recipe is close to the one I ate as a child.
If you’re looking for some apple cake variations, why not:
- Top the cake with cinnamon streusel before baking. This adds a fantastic crisp and crunchy texture to the top of the cake.
- Sprinkle the top of the cake with coarse sugar before baking. Like the streusel, this is a very simple way to add light crunch and touch of extra sweetness.
- Add a vegan caramel drizzle to the cake. Do this once the cake is out of the oven and fully cooled, or onto each slice right before serving. Apple and caramel are delicious combination. I love to make peanut butter “caramel” by mixing powdered peanut butter with maple syrup instead of water. This makes a mouth-wateringly amazing topping for this apple cake.
- Top with your favorite icing and/or glaze. Do this after fully cooking your cake.
- Make a spiced cake by adding ground allspice, mace, cloves and/or ginger to the cake batter. Up to ½ teaspoon dry ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice or ⅛ teaspoon ground mace or cloves should be plenty.
Let me know if you try out any of these variations!
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Leftover Cake
Cool your cake to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container. You can store leftovers on the counter for one day. After that, refrigerate for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze this cake in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 5 months. Remove the cake from your freezer and let it thaw in a fridge overnight before serving. If you want to serve the cake warm, microwave it for 5-20 seconds first.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Apple Cake
- Large spoon/ wooden spoon
- ½ cup plant-based milk (I use soy milk)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (130 g)
- ½ cup apple sauce (120 g)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (230 g)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1 ¾ cup apple , peeled and finely diced (about 3 small apples) (210 g)
- ½ cup walnuts , chopped (50 g)
- Preheat your oven to 350 °F.
Step 1: Mix Liquid Ingredients
- Add plant-based milk and apple cider vinegar to a large mixing bowl. Whisk together and let sit for 1-2 minutes.½ cup plant-based milk, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Next, add the remaining wet ingredients to the milk: granulated sugar, apple sauce, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.⅔ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup apple sauce, ½ cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk to combine.
Step 2: Stir in Dry Ingredients
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl: all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Using a large spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the wet until they’re almost combined; there will still be some clumps of dry flour at this point.
- Add chopped apple and walnuts.1 ¾ cup apple, ½ cup walnuts
- Stir until just combined; this means until there are no visible clumps of dry ingredients remaining. Stop stirring at this point.
Step 3: Bake and Serve
- Grease a 9-inch round cake pan using vegan butter, margarine or a non-stick cooking spray.
- Scrape the cake batter into your pan. It’s a very thick batter.
- Spread the cake batter into an even layer in the pan.
- Place into your preheated oven (350 °F) for 35-37 minutes; a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire cooling rack or serving dish.
More Vegan Dessert Recipes
Like this recipe? You should also try:
About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.