A warm and cozy gluten-free spiced applesauce cake spiced with a combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom, sweetened just with a bit of maple syrup, and balanced by a lovely trio of gluten-free flours.
Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake
This is a beautifully fluffy, not-too-sweet cake that satisfies both as dessert or a morning snack. I love using fruit when possible to sweeten cakes. The natural sugars in the fruit allows us to lower the additional sugar content (bananas are also stellar for this purpose, as shown in this banana-walnut cake). Applesauce is lovely here as it sweetens naturally and brings a bit of additional moisture to the gluten-free flours.
Using apple cider (or white vinegar if that’s all you have) in the batter creates a reaction with the baking soda to create a wonderfully high crumb in the cake. In my opinion, you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s gluten-free!
Gluten-Free Flours Needed
The gluten-free flours you’ll need are familiar ones: oat, sorghum, and sweet white rice flour. The whole grain oat and sorghum flours bring flavor and structure.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
It’s not too sweet. I used maple syrup and unsweetened applesauce in this recipe to let the fruit flavor and natural sweetness work together to lightly sweeten the cake without making it too sweet.
The apple flavor really shines. Applesauce plus the option of using apple juice instead of milk make this cake full of the homey apple flavor we love.
It’s super cozy and comforting. Four spices are essential here as they balance each other to bring interest and warmth to the cake.
Ingredients in Gluten-Free Spiced Applesauce Cake
- Sweet white rice flour
- Oat flour
- Sorghum flour
- Applesauce: Use unsweetened applesauce
- Maple syrup
- Milk or apple juice: Use whole milk or a non-dairy milk of choice. Apple juice will bring even more apple flavor!
- Eggs: Large eggs
- Warming spices: Ground cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg
- Baking powder and baking soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Fine sea salt
How to Make Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake
For the full instructions, see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Prepare the pan. This recipe works best in an 8-inch pan but you can also use a 9-inch pan, although your cake won’t be as thick. Make sure to line with a circle of parchment paper.
- Combine wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, maple syrup, olive oil, milk or juice, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the apple cider vinegar until smooth.
- Combine flours and spices. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Fold the flours into the applesauce mixture. Stir well to combine.
- Rest batter. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes so flours can hydrate. Then preheat oven to 350° F.
- Bake cake. Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a rack. Cool in pan for 20 minutes then turn out on the rack to cool completely. Serve warm or room temperature.
Hint: You can use classic white vinegar interchangeably with the apple cider vinegar.
- Oat flour – try millet flour
- Sorghum flour – try almond flour
- Sweet white rice flour – try tapioca flour
- Sweetener – try honey in place of the maple syrup or half a cup of brown sugar
- Make dairy-free – substitute your favorite non-dairy milk of choice, water, or apple juice
Store the cake, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for 5 days. To serve, bring to room temperature. You can also eat cold, straight from the fridge!
Use unsweetened applesauce in this recipe so you can better control how much sugar you’re adding. I like to use homemade applesauce but any store-bought plain, unsweetened, pure applesauce is fine here.
Gluten-Free Spiced Applesauce Cake
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup whole milk, non-dairy milk of choice, water, or apple juice
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup/80 g sweet white rice flour
- ¾ cup/90 g gluten-free oat flour
- ¾ cup/90 g sorghum flour
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- Grease an 8×8-inch round baking tin with olive oil and line with a piece of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the applesauce, maple syrup, olive oil, milk or water/juice, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the apple cider vinegar until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.. Pour into the prepared pan and let rest for up to 30 minutes. With about 5 minutes left, preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Place the cake in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a rack; cool for 20 minutes then turn out on the rack to cool completely.
- Cake will keep, tightly wrapped in the fridge, for 5 days.