This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
This easy vegan apple cake is the perfect addition to your Fall baking list! It’s soft, fluffy, filled with hints of cinnamon, bits of fresh apples, and a delicious cinnamon streusel topping! Made in one bowl and there’s no mixer required!
There’s just something about apple desserts, isn’t there? Not to alarm you, but I’ve never been huge on apple pie. Whenever I feel like making something warm and cozy, my go-to recipes are either an apple loaf or this vegan apple cake!
In my opinion, it tastes even better than pie, and the cinnamon crumble topping on the cake is probably my favorite part! It’s so delicious and loved by vegans and non-vegans alike!
Why This Vegan Apple Cake Works
- It’s made using fresh apples and you can use pretty much any variety you’d like!
- It’s moist and soft, and bursting with warm, cozy spices.
- It’s dairy free and eggless, but I’m willing to bet that your guests won’t even be able to tell 😉
- The recipe can be made in an 8 inch round pan, a 9 inch round pan, or in an 8x8 square cake pan.
- It's easy to make and comes together so quickly! You just need one bowl (plus a small bowl for the cinnamon crumble)
- The cinnamon streusel is baked onto the cake, giving it warm brown sugar flavors. You can also drizzle the cake with warm vegan caramel, top it with vegan ice cream, or top it with coconut whipped cream!
- Oil: you can use any neutral oil - sunflower oil, canola oil, vegetable oil are best. For oil-free, you can substitute for unsweetened applesauce or melted vegan butter.
- Flour: this cake recipe works best with all-purpose flour.
- Milk: You can use any unsweetened vegan milk you have. My favorites to use are soy, almond, or oat.
- White vinegar: White vinegar is combined with the milk to make vegan buttermilk. You can also use an equal amount of lemon juice.
- Apples: Any apple variety works great! I like to use Gala, Honey Crisp, or Granny Smith.
Step By Step Instructions
Note: Full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare an 8 or 9 inch round cake pan, or an 8x8 square baking pan. Spray the inside with cooking spray, then cut a round (or square if using a square pan) piece of parchment paper so that it fits in the bottom of the pan. Set the pan aside.
STEP TWO: Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Pour vegan milk into the cup until it reaches 1 cup (you’ll have one cup of liquid, total). Let it sit until it looks curdled. Chop the apple into small cubes, roughly 0.5”, measure out 1 ½ cups, and set aside.
STEP THREE: Combine the ingredients for the cinnamon streusel in a small bowl and use a fork to mix until combined, then crumble it with your hands if needed and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
STEP FOUR: Add in the oil, vanilla extract, and buttermilk, and mix until combined. Fold in the apples.
STEP FIVE: Pour the batter into your prepared pan, then sprinkle cinnamon streusel over the cake batter. Bake for 24-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
FAQs and Expert Tips
This vegan apple crumble cake can be served as it, or you can top it with warm vegan caramel, vegan vanilla ice cream, or coconut whipped cream (store-bought or homemade).
Gala, Honey Crisp, or Granny Smith apples are my personal favorite to use in this recipe, but you can also use Fuji, Pink Lady, or others. Red Delicious apples can be quite mushy, so I don’t recommend using those.
Yep! Just replace the vegan milk and vegan butter with regular milk and regular dairy butter.
- Properly measure your flour: Too much flour in this cake will make it crumbly and dry. For best results, I always recommend using a kitchen scale. If you don’t have a scale, you should measure using the scoop and level method.
- Don’t over-mix: Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they are just combined, no longer.
- Keep an eye on the baking time: You definitely don’t want the cake to be over-baked, and since oven temperature can vary so much, start checking on the cake early.
- Don’t remove the cake from the pan until it’s no longer warm: And be careful! Because it has a light crumb and apple chunks, the cake is fragile, so you want to be sure that the cake doesn’t break when removing it from the pan. Let it cool, then run a butter knife around the outside of the cake a few times. Gently turn the cake upside down onto a plate, then repeat onto another plate so that the streusel is on top.
- Don’t skip the parchment paper lining! Lining the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper makes it sooo much easier to remove the cake from the pan later.
- Ideally, you should serve the cake within one, or maximum two days of making it. As with any baked goods that have fruit in them, the sugar in the fruit starts to go bad fairly quickly. I recommend serving this cake as close to making it as possible.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
The apple cake can be stored covered for around 2-3 days at room temperature. If it’s very hot where you live, it should be stored in the fridge after 1 day because the apples will start to ferment (although putting cakes in the fridge will dry them out much faster!).
To freeze the cake, just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then repeat with aluminium foil. It can be frozen for up to 3 months, then thawed at room temperature.
Pin it for later!
Easy Vegan Apple Cake
Vegan Apple Cake
- 1⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar (or lemon juice)
- 1 cup vegan milk of choice
- ⅓ cup oil
- 1 ½ cup chopped apples (you can leave the peel on) (roughly 1 ½ apples)
- 2½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2½ tablespoon light brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoon vegan butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8 inch or 9 inch round cake pan, or an 8x8 square baking pan. Spray the inside with cooking spray, then cut a round (or square if using a square pan) piece of parchment paper so that it fits in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- Add the white vinegar to a liquid measuring cup. Pour milk into the cup until it reaches 1 cup (you’ll have one cup of liquid, total, so you'll need just under 1 cup of vegan milk). Let it sit until it looks curdled (this is your vegan buttermilk!).
- Chop apple into small cubes, roughly 0.5”, then measure out 1 ½ cups, and set it aside. Prepare cinnamon streusel by combining butter, sugars, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Mash with a fork/crumble with your hands. Set it aside.
- In a large bowl, add flour, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the oil, vegan buttermilk, and vanilla extract into the bowl of the dry ingredients and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Fold the apples into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, then crumble the cinnamon streusel on top of the batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool completely in the pan before removing it. Because it has a light crumb, you have to be careful that it doesn't break! Once cooled, run a butter knife around the outside of the cake a few times. Gently turn the cake upside down onto a plate, then repeat onto another plate so that the streusel is on top. Serve with vegan vanilla ice cream, vegan whipped cream, or enjoy as it!
The calorie information provided for this recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.