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Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake Recipe

by Jeanette on September 12, 2012 · 29 Comments
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Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake

Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake

My youngest son read a lot of books this summer, including a few books about kids entering middle school. I wanted him to get a feel for what it might be like since he’s entering middle school this year. One of the books (we can’t remember the name) had a recipe for Jewish Apple Cake that the main character’s grandma made for him as an after-school treat. My son has been begging me all summer to make it.

Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake

Now that it’s apple season, I decided to give it a try. The recipe he found has no oil in it, so instantly, it was already on the healthier side. I made a few more alterations to make it not only gluten-free, but also a bit healthier. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of sugar; I chose to substitute applesauce for 1/2 cup of the sugar. Also, to add some more fiber and whole grain goodness, I used flaxseed gel (a mixture of ground flaxseed and water) to replace 2 of the eggs, and used King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour Blend for half of the flour (I used almond flour for the other half).

McIntosh Apples from the Farmer's Market

McIntosh Apples from the Farmer’s Market

Although the apples were supposed to be layered within the cake, I decided to chop them up and mix them into the batter since I made cupcakes instead of a single large cake (I looked all over but couldn’t find my tube pan or bundt pan). I did sprinkle the cinnamon sugar in the middle and top of each cupcake though.

Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake

This cake was chock full of apples – you will get lots of apples in every bite. My husband devoured one of these little cakes as he walked in the door the other day and declared them delicious – with no added fat and some added whole grains, I just smiled.

This week on Food Network’s Summer Fest, a group of talented bloggers are featuring farm fresh recipes using Apples that are in season. Each week, recipes using farm fresh produce will be featured on the Food Network website along with recipes by a group of fabulous food bloggers.

Be sure to check out the following recipes from all my friends participating in this week’s Summer Fest!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake
Virtually Homemade: Apple Pie Muffin
Chez Us: Baked Apples With Creme Anglaise
Daily*Dishin: Easier-than-Pie Creamy Apple Bake
Made by Michelle: Pear Apple Crisp
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Apple, Fennel and Cheddar Cheese Panini
From My Corner of Saratoga: Spiced Apple Dutch Baby
Thursday Night Dinner: Apple Bread Pudding
Devour: 7 Apple Desserts Beyond Pie
Healthy Eats: Marrying the Apple With New Flavors
FN Dish: Let’s Go Apple Picking

Gluten-Free Jewish Apple Cake Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from a children's story my son read. I made the recipe healthier by reducing the number of eggs in half and substituting flax seed gel, and reducing the amount of added sugar by using more unsweetened applesauce. I also made this gluten-free and added whole grain goodness by using almond flour and a gluten-free whole grain flour mix. If you wish to make a whole cake, use a 10-inch tube pan.
Serves: Approximately 12 cupcakes.
  • 4 large apples (I used MacIntosh), peeled, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup raw coconut sugar plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1½ cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • 1½ cups gluten-free flour (I used King Arthur Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour Mix)
  • 3½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice.
  3. Mix together cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, blend eggs and flaxseed/water mixture together. Gradually beat in sugar, then add applesauce and vanilla.
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to batter, alternating with orange juice. Add apples and mix well.
  6. Fill muffin tins halfway. Sprinkle on some of the cinnamon sugar. Add some more batter and end with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

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  1. My mom makes the most unbelievable Jewish Apple Cake – my son even requested it for his birthday cake lol! She will not let me share the recipe though – not even with friends!

  2. I love that your son found this recipe in a book and wanted to make it with you. Sweet :-) My own son is home with a tummy ache today, but as soon as he feel better, we’re making this for sure. Love your healthy additions too!

    • I love reading books that have recipes in them. I still remember reading The Waltons and making the applesauce cake at the end of the book. Hope your son feels better soon. Maybe some chicken soup? I had a stomach bug the last couple of days and have been having lots of soup.

  3. That is adorable your son was begging for the cake. So awesome that you made him an even better and healthier version, too. I cannot wait to try this recipe, looks like perfection!

    • Thanks Beth – my son was so cute – he was bugging me all summer to make it, but I wanted to wait until apples were in season. So glad this gluten-free version came out so well so he could enjoy it.

  4. Can this also be made as a cake instead of muffins?

  5. I live in a part of Rhode Island that used to be called Apple Valley, and I had a wonderful Jewish grandmother, so you know I’m going to try this recipe!

  6. Jeanette, these cakes sound great. I have a brunch coming up and am thinking they will be perfect served along side some fruit and eggs.

  7. Lydia – I never knew there was a place in Rhode Island called Apple Valley. You’re lucky to have had some real Jewish apple cake from your grandmother!
    Denise – I think these would be perfect for a brunch since they’re packed with apples.

  8. jeanette, these look and sound delicious. apples and cinnamon are already a delicious combo…i love how you made the original recipe “healthy”. food that tastes good and is good for you should be the norm…don’t you think?

  9. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    It’s so sweet your son wanted you to bake this. A healthier apple dessert that looks fantastic! I just adore apple sweets:)

  10. September is my favorite month to make apple treats and your mini-cakes would be perfect for a play-date at the park in the afternoon.
    Thanks Jeannette

  11. This sounds great and super healthy! I like that you used some apple sauce instead of some of the sugar.

  12. Jeanette, those looks delicious and so pretty! Love that your son read that book and wanted to make them so badly. It’s great to be enthusiastic about food and cooking/baking! :-)


  13. You said, “The original recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of sugar; I chose to substitute applesauce for 1/2 cup of the sugar.”

    But the recipe says to use:
    1 cup raw coconut sugar plus 2 tablespoons
    1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

    Is that correct? I know that applesauce for sugar may not be a 1:1 conversion, but 1.5 cups applesauce to replace 1/2 cup sugar sounds like too much (and too wet!)

    thanks, I want to make this for a party next week.

    • Thanks for your note Jessica – the original recipe actually calls for 1 cup applesauce and 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar, so I actually substituted 1/2 cup applesauce for 1/2 cup sugar, so the total amount of applesauce in the recipe is 1 1/2 cups applesauce. Sorry I wasn’t clearer. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  14. Lovely! Healthy and delicious!

  15. Thanks for sharing! Look forward to trying these :-)

  16. These look delicious, Jeanette. I’m saving the recipe to try soon! Thank you.

  17. We love apple cake. My husband’s favorite is unfortunately one we don’t even have the ingredients to make anymore since it’s loaded with white sugar! This would be such a nice substitute. Thanks Jeanette.

  18. Hi Jeanette,
    Fantastic recipe for gluten free! Even non-gluten free family members loved this cake. Thanks so much for posting it…I also love that there’s no dairy and only 2 eggs instead of 4 with flax seeds…it’s definitely going into my holiday favorites : )

    • Thanks Sue – so glad you tried it and your family liked it. I really appreciate you letting me know. I always love it when people try my recipes and leave me a note to tell me how it turned out.

  19. Stephanie says:

    This sounds delicious and I have over a bushel of apples right now on my table! Looking at these little delights, it seems that they are crumbly. Does the cake part fall apart or if baked in a tube pan, do you think it will stay together when sliced? I’m having company this weekend and I want to make this. It’s been so long since I’ve had a Jewish apple cake! Used to be a stock item in the fall! :) Thanks!

    • Stephanie – these were really good – there were a lot of apples in these muffins, so if you’re looking to make a cake that slices nicely, I would just make sure the proportion of cake batter to apples is more.

  20. I went online to search for a gluten free apple cake recipe made with almond flour and applesauce to give my daughter for thanksgiving, since she misses out on dessert because she’s gluten free. I went to images instead of websites as I thought if it looks good it would taste good! Out of hundred of images I chose your muffins. They looked appealing and full of flavour with the crusty cinnamon topping! Then when I read the story behind the recipe and saw the the exact ingredients I was looking for, I was elated !!! Looking out the window at the fall colours and leaves falling and my daughter helping in the kitchen it’s the perfect backdrop to a perfect thanksgiving weekend!


    • 1 tablespoon flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg, so you can replace the amount of flaxseeds in this recipe with 2 eggs, and that should work.

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