This is the most delicious apple crumble cake ever! It’s simple and easy to make yet super soft, moist, and fluffy with lots of juicy chunks of apples topped with lovely crumbles and more apple chunks. It’s one of the best autumn and winter desserts and perfect for any festive occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as for enjoying over a weekend tea time.
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Ever since it got cold outside, I’ve been baking all the cozy and comforting baked goods. And there’s a recipe that I’ve been developing for what seemed like forever – vegan apple crumble cake! Oh my, I cannot count how many apples I purchased in the past weeks to perfect this recipe. I tested it like 5+ times.. You can see my dedication here. I’m super excited to introduce this recipe to you after so many recipe tests. This is one of the best apple cakes I’ve ever baked!
Do you have lots of apples in the cupboard and not know what to do with them? Do you love a slice of cozy cake with lots of apples? You must try this recipe, it’s the best. The texture of the cake is on point – so soft, moist, and fluffy, just right for a hearty autumn/winter dessert. I added as much apple chunks as possible to make it full of juicy apple flavour in every bite which complements the texture of the cake and the crumble topping. How delicious!
This recipe is a thick single-layer cake, which means it’s super easy and simple to make! It’s so delicious with a drizzle of icing or fluffy vegan whipped cream on top(highly recommended, so good), or even with a scoop of ice cream. The combination is limitless!
Recipe overview – why you’ll love this vegan apple crumble cake recipe
- Level: Easy
- Taste: Sweet apple
- Texture: Fluffy and moist
- Diet: Plant-based, dairy-free, eggless, and can be gluten-free
- Time: 1 hour and 20 mins
- Occasion: Christmas, Thanksgiving, home parties, birthdays, and more
Want to learn more about baking with apples?
Read this Baking with Apples Guide with 14 amazing vegan apple recipes!
Main ingredients and substitutions
Apple: Obviously, a juicy apple! I used a whole medium-sized fuji apple which was about 150g(edible part only). Mine was sweet and slightly tart at the same time, but the tartness was actually pretty good with the sweetness of the cake. You can use any other type of apple of your choice in this recipe too.
Plain flour: The base of this homemade apple cake is plain flour. Plain flour is the one I use most of the time as I like the soft and fluffy texture it creates. You can try making it with 1:1 gluten-free flour if you are looking to make it gluten-free.
Ground almond: Ground almonds are one of my absolute favourite things to add to my recipes! It adds a lovely fragrance to anything from cakes to muffins. It’s NOT almond flour – almond flour is so much finer than ground almond and has a different consistency. I make my ground almonds by grounding them in a food processor. It’s not quite as powdery as flour but the texture should be coarse powder.
Sugar: I used half granulated sugar and half brown sugar in this recipe. Adding half brown sugar helps the cake become soft and moist. Do you want to know if your sugar is vegan? Read the Note section below to find out!
If you don’t have either sugar, you can replace it with whatever sugar you have in the cupboard. The more brown the sugar is, the more moist the cake will be. White sugar on the other hand creates a more crusty texture.
Vegan butter: I used melted vegan butter in this recipe. You can just mix it with the dry ingredients so there is no need for creaming or whipping the butter. How nice and easy! If you don’t have vegan butter, you can also use vegetable oil in place of it too. If using vegetable oil, the final product will most likely be slightly oilier as vegan butter has water content but oil has no water in it.
*I use bone char-free sugars for all of my recipes. I cover the topic in my article Vegan Baking 101. Go to the “Is sugar vegan?” section to learn more!
Recommended equipment for this recipe
Round cake tin: I used an 18cm(about 7inch) round cake tin for this recipe. It’s the optimal size for this recipe as the cake will rise to the top. You can use similar-sized tins too, but make sure that it’s no smaller than 18cm.
Wooden spoon/silicone spatula: Whenever I mix cake batter or any other batter that has gluten, I use either a large wooden spoon or a silicone spatula rather than a whisk. You can overmix the batter easily with a whisk and overmixing the batter will result in a tough, rubbery cake, which you don’t want to get. I find using a large wooden spoon or a silicone spatula the best to mix cake batters as you can mix them more gently.
Parchment paper: Parchment paper is useful even if you are using a non-stick cake tin. Mine is non-stick but lining the tin with parchment paper makes extra sure that the cake won’t get stuck to the bottom and the side of the tin. Simply cut a strip shape that’s the size of the side of the tin and a round shape that fits the bottom, then spread a thin layer of vegan butter or oil on the inside of the tin and line the parchment paper.
If you don’t have parchment paper on hand, greasing the inside will prevent the cake from sticking too.
*The ingredient list and measurement for this recipe can be found in the recipe card at the bottom.
How to make vegan apple crumble cake
Step 1: Make the crumble
Let’s start with making the crumble topping! In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients for the crumble and mix with a spoon, fork, or with your fingers. I usually use a spoon or fork as I have bad eczema on my hands, especially in winter but if you are comfortable mixing with your fingers go for it.
The dough should make chunky crumbles once they are all incorporated. Cover the mixture with a clean kitchen cloth or reusable cling film and set aside in the fridge to set.
Step 2: Make vegan buttermilk and cut an apple
Make vegan buttermilk by combining soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Mix well and set aside to curdle.
Cut a medium-sized apple of your choice into small cubes, about 1-2cm. You need about 150g of apple cubes in the cake and a medium apple should make about that. After you finish cutting the apple, preheat the oven to 180℃.
Step 3: Mix dry ingredients
In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, tapioca flour, ground almond, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon powder with a whisk until very well combined. It’s important to mix the dry ingredients very well so that the cake has an even flavour in each slice.
Step 3: Add the wet ingredients and apple, and mix gently
Add the melted vegan butter, vegan buttermilk you made earlier, and vanilla to the dry mixture and mix gently with a large wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. No overmixing! At this point, it’s ok to have little lumps of flour in the batter as we are mixing in the apples now.
Add 2/3 to 3/4 of the apple cubes you cut earlier and fold in gently with the same wooden spoon or spatula until they are covered in the batter. Again, try not to overmix the batter here.
Step 4: Pour the batter into a cake tin and top with the crumble
Pour the cake batter into a lined cake tin and smooth the top evenly. Top it with the crumble mixture. You don’t need to smooth the crumble or make it completely even, have fun and randomly dollop to create a unique crumbly look! Add the remaining apple cubes on top of the crumbles.
Step 5: Bake
Bake the cake for 60 mins in the preheated oven. This cake is a very thick one-layer cake, so you might need to bake for 5-10 mins more. The apple cake will rise pretty much to the top with the crumbles turning golden amber colour.
To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done! If it comes out with wet batter, bake for another 5-10 mins and check again.
If the top starts to look burnt after 30-40mins, place a sheet of foil over the cake and continue baking. This will prevent the top of the cake from burning. Do this only after 30-40mins of baking, if you do it too early the cake might not bake well.
Take the cake out of the oven and cool it down to room temperature, carefully take it out of the tin, then cool it completely on a cooling rack. Slice it and serve with icing, whipped cream, or ice cream. Enjoy!
Tips and tricks
Use a spoon or fork to mix the crumble mixture
This tip is for people like me who have dry skin or eczema on their hands! I have eczema on my hands which makes it very difficult to mix ingredients with my hands or fingers. For this reason, I used melted vegan butter so it’s easy to mix with a metal spoon or a fork(or ask your boyfriend to mix it for you!).
How to store this apple cake
This apple cake will store well at room temperature or in the fridge for 2-3 days in an airtight container. I prefer to keep baked goods in the fridge rather than at room temperature for the best freshness.
It freezes well too for longer storage so you can have a slice whenever you fancy a yummy slice of apple cake! To freeze, slice the cake first then put them in a freezer-friendly airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
Q & A
What is the best apple for apple cake?
Honestly, I think it greatly depends on your preference – I actually quite like an apple with a good balance of sweetness and tartness, it creates a lovely harmonious flavour in the mouth! Fuji apple has this kind of balance and I recommend you use it if you don’t know which apple to use. Jonagold is another great apple that has a good balance of sweetness and tartness.
If you want to create a beautiful contrast of the sweetness of the cake with the tartness of the apple, granny smith would be a great apple to use! For sweet on sweet apple cake, I love using gala apples. They are sweet and crisp, good for both baking and snacking.
Can I use any apples for this recipe?
Yes! As long as you have the amount needed in this recipe, you can use any type of apple you like. I used a fuji apple, it’s the most common apple in my neighbourhood. They are usually on the sweet side but the one I used had a combination of sweetness and tartness, which worked out to be surprisingly delicious!
My apple cubes sank to the bottom of the cake?
Because of the weight of the apple cubes, they can sink to the bottom while being baked in the oven. I personally don’t have that experience often and don’t mind a little bit of apples sinking in the cake, but if you want you can coat the apple cubes lightly in flour prior to mixing them into the batter. This should prevent them from sinking!
Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
I have not made this recipe gluten-free yet but you can try using a 1:1 gluten-free flour instead of plain flour to make it gluten-free. Everything else is gluten-free!
Can I make it nut-free?
I have not tried making this recipe nut-free unfortunately. I love the flavour the ground almond adds to this cake but if you are allergic to nuts and avoid almonds, you can possibly omit the ground almond and use slightly less amount of soy milk to adjust the consistency of the cake. Having said that, I cannot guarantee the taste of the cake without the ground almonds but it should taste good.
What can I serve this apple cake with?
You can serve a slice of this apple cake with so many things! I love it with a generous amount of vegan whipped cream(highly recommended as I said earlier!), a drizzle of icing, a scoop of vegan ice cream, or my vegan caramel sauce would be perfect.
Want to master the basics of vegan baking?
Check out Vegan Baking 101 – the beginner’s guide to vegan baking for you to become an excellent vegan baker and familiar with the basics of vegan baking, ingredients, and techniques with useful tips!
You will LOVE this homemade apple crumble cake because they are:
- soft and moist
- with deliciously crumbly crumble
- easy and simple to make
- super delicious
- cosy and comforting
Want more recipes like this?
Try my other delicious cake recipes you might enjoy!
Please leave a comment and rate this vegan apple crumble cake in the comment section below if you like this recipe! Let me know and tag me @thechestnutbakery on Instagram too, I would love to see your creation! Thank you for making my recipe, friends!