Gluten & Dairy Free Scrumptious Apple Spice Cake

Cheri Moore

Written by Cheri Moore

September 23, 2021

It is apple picking season! If you have some freshly picked apples in your kitchen, then you need to make this mouth-watering recipe! While the taste reminds me of fall, this gluten & dairy free apple spice cake is scrumptious throughout the year.

gluten and dairy free apple spice cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting on a glass cake platter sitting on a round wooden lazy susan. There is a white tablecloth underneath of it and a vase in the upper right hand corner with orange and yellow marigolds.

Apple spice cake has the perfect balance of natural sweetness from the apples and applesauce but also the savory flavors of fall from the cinnamon and nutmeg. In order to maintain that scrumptious balance, I like to keep my frosting layers relatively thin.

Apple Spice Cake Ingredients

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup of Applesauce
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
  • 2 Cups of All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I like to use Kind Arthur or Namaste)
  • 1 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Apple Peeled and Diced (I like to use Honeycrisp)
Apple spice cake on a crystal cake platter. One slice has been taken out of the cake. The cake is golden brown with apple chunks. The icing is a creamy white with flecks of cinnamon. The platter is sitting on a tree slice which is on white linen.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Softened Butter (I use Country Crock’s Plant Butter)
  • 4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Milk (any dairy-free milk variety will work)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
One slice of cake on a small light blue plate sitting in the sunlight. The plate is sitting on white linen. The linen stops at the edge of the plate and the background is black in a triangular shape in the upper right corner.

How to Make a Gluten and Dairy Free Scrumptious Apple Spice Cake

Step 1: Prep the Pans and Preheat the oven

To start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray or wipe them down with olive oil. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper to prevent sticking and make it easy to remove your cakes.

9-in cake pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.

Step 2: Fluff the Eggs

Using a mixer, beat four eggs on high for about a minute. Slowly add the 1 cup of sugar while the mixer is going and continue to beat until it is thick and fluffy (3-5 minutes).

four eggs sitting on the counter in front of a stainless steal mixing bowl.
one cup of sugar in a stainless steal measuring cup sitting on the counter in front of a red mixer stand.

Step 3: Finish Mixing Wet Ingredients for the Apple Spice Cake

Turn the mixer to low. Then, add 1 cup of melted coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 cup of applesauce to the bowl. Mix until just combined.

In the foreground there is a stainless steal 1 tsp measuring spoon next to a container of vanilla. Behind them is a glass liquid measuring cup with 1 cup of melted coconut oil.
1 cup of applesauce in a glass measuring cup sitting on the counter.
stainless steal mixing bowl filled with wet ingredients for an apple spice cake with the whisk attachment.

Step 4: Mix Dry Ingredients for the Apple Spice Cake

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt:

On the left there is a large empty glass bowl. On the right is a bag of Namaste gluten free flour with a stainless steal 1 cup measuring cup sitting in front of it.
1 cup of brown sugar in a stainless steal 1 cup measuring cup sitting on the counter.
A container of baking powder on the left and a container of baking soda on the right with a measuring spoon sitting on the counter in front of them.
Three small glass bowls sitting on a black surface in a vertical line in descending size. The top bowl has cinnamon, the middle has nutmeg, and the bottom has salt.
Large glass bowl filled with all the dry ingredients for apple spice cake.

Step 5: Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

Remove the bowl from the mixer and pour it over the dry ingredients. Then, use a spatula to fold all of the apple spice cake ingredients together. Use the folding technique to preserve the fluffiness you achieved from beating the eggs. I like to treat the batter like a sponge cake batter.

All the ingredients for a gluten and dairy free apple spice cake mixed together in a large glass bowl minus the apple chunks. There is a red spatula leaning on the right side of the bowl with a wooden handle.

Step 6: Cut the Apple

Peel and dice one large apple. In my opinion, a Honeycrisp apple is perfect for this recipe, but use whatever you have on hand. Gently fold the apple pieces into the batter.

Step 7: Pour the Apple Spice Cake Batter

Next, pour the apple spice cake batter evenly into the two prepared pans.

Apple spice cake in a baking pan ready for the oven.

Step 8: Bake the Apple Spice Cake

Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes until they are golden brown. Test with a sharp knife in the center to see if the apple spice cake is cooked through.

Baked apple spice cake in the pan sitting on a cooling rack.

Step 9: Cool the Cakes

Cool the cakes on a wire rack in the pans for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to cool completely before icing. (roughly an hour)

Two apple spice cake layers that have been removed from their pans sitting on stacked cooling racks. They are sitting on the counter.

How to Make Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Using an electric mixer, add 1 cup of softened butter and two cups of powdered sugar to the bowl. Mix on high until creamy.

two sticks of dairy free butter in a stainless steal mixing bowl.

Add the third cup of powdered sugar and mix on high until creamy again.

A one cup measuring cup sitting on the counter in front of a mason jar of powdered sugar. Behind them on the left is a red mixer stand. On the right are cooling racks with a yellow tea towel draped overtop.

Lastly, add the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and last cup of powdered sugar. Mix on medium until completely combined and creamy.

In a stainless steal mixing bowl, there is a base layer of creamed butter and powdered sugar. On top is more powdered sugar, some vanilla, and some cinnamon.
cinnamon buttercream frosting in a stainless steal mixing bowl with the flat beater attachment.

If you happen to have canned goat milk on hand, use it as the milk component in the frosting. It acts as more of a cream and creates a delicious frosting.

Tips on How to Frost a Cake

Frosting a cake can be tricky. Especially a gluten free cake because they tend to have less structure and be a bit more crumbly than your average cake. This apple spice cake however has great structure!

When frosting with buttercream, use a piping bag or a zip lock bag with a small hole in the corner. To prevent waste and a mess, lay down a large rectangle of plastic wrap on the counter. Scoop most of your frosting onto the plastic wrap and then roll up your frosting. Fold one end over the roll and cut the other end close to your frosting log. Then you can easily place your frosting into your piping or ziplock bag.

Frosting rolled up in plastic wrap on the counter.
frosting in a diy zip lock bag piping bag.

Before placing your cake on your platter, put a dollop of frosting in the center to keep your cake from moving. Once that is done, place the bottom layer of your apple spice cake on your platter. Using your piping bag, squeeze out the frosting in a circular pattern over the top of the cake. Then use a knife to gently smooth out the frosting.

One layer of apple spice cake on the crystal cake plater with cinnamon buttercream frosting smoothed over the top. The platter is on a wood tree slice surrounded by white linen with the mixing bowl of frosting in the background.

Place your second layer of apple spice cake on top and gently press down. Then repeat the same process to cover the top of the cake. (Place your base layer correct side up and your top layer upside down to give your cake a nice edge on top)

Two layers of apple spice cake on a crystal cake plater each topped with cinnamon buttercream frosting smoothed over the top. The platter is on a wood tree slice surrounded by white linen with the mixing bowl of frosting in the background.

To frost the sides, pipe a generous amount of frosting along the top edge of the cake and gently spread it down over the sides of the cake.

Apple spice cake with two layers with icing on the top and sides. It is sitting on a crystal platter on a wood tree slice.

Fill in any gaps or holes on the sides of your cake using the piping bag and a knife. Clean off your knife as needed to prevent frosting from falling on the platter or going where you don’t want it to go.

Gluten and Dairy Free Apple Spice Cake Recipe Card

Printable gluten and dairy free apple spice cake recipe card. text is in black. Title of the recipe is written in white on top of a dark green rounded edge rectangle. The background image is the apple spice cake on a crystal platter sitting on a wooden tree slice. The background is white linen and there is a vase of orange marigolds in the upper right hand corner.

Click below to download the printer-friendly copy

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Gluten free all-purpose flour: You can find Namaste’s gluten free flour at most specialty grocery stores. You can also order it online on their website or on Amazon.

Coconut Oil: When baking, it is best to use refined coconut oil. However, virgin coconut oil will be okay with this recipe because it is baked at a moderate temperature. Refined coconut oil has a high smoke point therefore if you are baking something at a high temperature or frying something, that is what you want to use. Nutiva has a great post on the top 5 things to know about coconut oil.

Leave a Comment

When my daughter had to remove gluten from her diet, baking became a whole new challenge. We were already a dairy free household and the additional restrictions meant I needed to find or create new recipes once again.

Undoubtedly, there were lots of failures in the beginning. However, over the course of a few years, my recipe box began to fill up again. Hooray!

Finding gluten free products we trusted and enjoyed was certainly one of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome. Not all gluten free flours create the same taste or texture. There was a lot of trial and error, but we now have a pantry full of products we love and trust!

Leave a comment below with your favorite gluten free baking products to help those who may just be beginning their gluten free journey.

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