This vegan apple cake is wholesome and rustic. It’s moist and slightly spiced with a deliciously crunchy nut streusel topping.
We love to celebrate the arrival of apple season with a big wedge of this cake! It’s perfect for using up those wonky looking and windfall apples that you don’t want to waste.
The cake is not overly sweet, uses wholemeal flour and plenty of apple so it’s got a wholesome feel to it. I’ve just enjoyed a slice for breakfast!
The recipe is based on the first ever vegan cake I learnt how to make from the Vegan Society, but with a lot of changes over the years. The best being the crumbly, nutty German inspired streusel topping that covers the cake. We hope you enjoy it!
Here's what you’ll need to make the cake batter:
- Cooking apples - we usually use Bramleys. Granny smith would be a good alternative. Most of the apples are used to make applesauce, and the rest are cut into chunks to be mixed into the batter. We usually leave the peel on, but it's up to you!
- Vegetable oil - choose a neutral tasting oil such as sunflower or canola/rapeseed oil.
- Sugar - you can use caster sugar or a light brown sugar
- Wholemeal flour
- Bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- Cinnamon - because no apple cake is complete without some!
- And mixed spice - pumpkin spice is a good alternative for our US friends.
And for the streusel topping:
- Demerara sugar - it gives a great crunch to the topping
- Vegan butter
- Some more flour
- And a spoonful more cinnamon!
Step by step
Here's an overview of making this yummy vegan apple cake:
Step 1 - Place the apples for the sauce in a saucepan with a splash of water. Cook on medium heat with the lid on, until soft and tender (depending on your apples this takes about 10 minutes). Puree until smooth with an immersion blender.
Step 2 - In a mixing bowl, combine the oil and the sugar, then add the applesauce and whisk in the baking soda. It will fizz up at this point.
Step 3 - Next mix in the flour and spices until you have a light, but quite thick batter.
Step 4 - Gently fold in the apple chunks, but don't overmix. Transfer into a 8 inch/20cm greased springform tin, and level out the top with a spatula.
Step 5 - For the topping, combine the finely chopped walnuts, demerara sugar, flour, cinnamon and vegan butter. I often use my fingertips for this, but you can also just give it a good mix with a spatula.
Step 6 - Cover the cake batter with the streusel topping, and gently firm it down all over the cake. Then bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 40-50 minutes.
Variations & substitutions
If you have canned sugar free applesauce you can use it instead of making your own. You’ll want around 1 ½ cups or 375g apple sauce for one cake.
We’ve found it really handy to make a big batch of applesauce and freeze it in individual portions. Simply defrost before use.
Instead of walnuts, you could use pecans, hazelnuts, almonds or other nuts. And if you want a nut free streusel topping, then try pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead.
Serving and storage
You can simply enjoy a slice of this cake on its own at teatime.
But if you want to make it into more of a dessert, then it's nice served with some custard or some vegan vanilla ice cream.
Keep leftovers in a tin and use within three days.
We hope you like our vegan apple cake! Check out these other tasty apple recipes:
Try our French inspired Vegan Apple Tart
Learn how to make a Vegan Apple Strudel from scratch
Or have a go at this Apple Curry!
Vegan Apple Cake with Streusel Topping
- 3 ¼ cups (400 g) cooking apples sliced for applesauce
- ¾ cup (100 g) extra apples diced
- ½ cup (100 g) caster sugar
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda baking soda
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 ¾ cup (225 g) wholemeal flour
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp mixed spice or pumpkin spice
- Place the apples for the sauce in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Cook on medium heat with the lid on, until soft and tender (about 10 minutes, depending on your apples). Puree until smooth with an immersion blender.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a mixing bowl, combine the oil and the sugar, then add the applesauce and whisk in the baking soda. It will fizz up at this point.
- Next mix in the flour and spices until you have a light, but quite thick batter.
- Gently fold in the diced apple chunks, but don't overmix.
- Transfer the batter into a 8 inch/20cm greased springform tin, and level out the top with a spatula.
Nut streusel topping
- For the topping, combine the finely chopped walnuts, demerara sugar, flour, cinnamon and vegan butter. I often use my fingertips for this, but you can also just give it a good mix with a spatula.
- Cover the cake batter with the streusel topping, and gently firm it down all over the cake.
Baking the cake
- Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 40-50 minutes.
- To test if the cake is done, insert a cake tester, toothpick or skewer into its center. If it comes out clean, without batter stuck to it, it is done. Keep in mind that there are apple chunks, so it will retain more moisture than other cakes.
- When ready to serve, remove the cake from the tin by running a knife around the edge of the cake, release the springform, gently loosen the cake from the base and slide onto a serving plate.