If you’re looking for a healthified treat, move on. But, if you’re seeking a sweet, decadent cake layered with tender cinnamon apples, then stop your journey. You have arrived. This perfectly imperfect cake transitions from light and fluffy to moist and dense in the middle for a delicious experience. It’s fancy enough for gatherings, but has a taste, texture, and unapologetically messy vibe that shouts homemade.
Cinnamon Apple Cake is Fluffy, Moist, and Amazing all in One
This cake has a fairly simple, naturally dairy free, totally butterless recipe, but I do have answers to a few FAQs for this type of cake.
- To Grease or Not to Grease? When using a springform pan, it’s best not to grease the sides. This allows the cake to “crawl” up the sides without sliding back down. When you release the nonstick springform, the cake should easily separate from the sides. But you can grease the bottom, or better yet, cut a parchment paper circle to fit the bottom.
- Can I Use the Apples I Have on Hand? Google them first! Make sure it’s a baking or pie friendly apple. Many types of apples can turn mushy when baked. And I don’t think you want an applesauce cake. Honeycrisps are the recommended apples, for taste and texture, but many other types hold up well.
- Can I Bake this Citrus Free? Yes! The orange juice adds a little zest to the taste, but it isn’t completely needed. You can substitute milk beverage or even water, in a pinch.
For other free-from cinnamon apple cake tips, see the Special Diet Notes below.
Special Diet Notes: Cinnamon Apple Cake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and vegetarian. We haven’t tested this recipe without gluten, but it might work well with your favorite gluten-free flour blend. I’ve heard King Arthur works very well.
For an egg-free and vegan apple cake, I recommend making Hannah’s Vegan Rosh Hashanah Cake. It is delicious with the apple filling in the recipe below, and can be baked in a round springform pan.
- 3 cups Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups + 6 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup oil
- 4 eggs, beaten
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Dairy-free icing (optional; see below)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the apples, cinnamon, and 5 tablespoons sugar until the apples are evenly coated.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, 2 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined. Form a well in the middle of the dry mix. Add the oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
- Pour half of the batter into a springform pan. Add the apple mixture evenly atop the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the apple mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar evenly over batter.
- Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the cake comes out clean and dry.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before releasing the pan.
- Serve drizzled with icing, if desired.