This moist and soft Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake is the best + easy sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert or an afternoon pick-me-up with elevated flavors of the Fall season. Made with a fluffy, dense base and covered with a perfectly sweet + crunchy topping, this cake is sure to be a new family-favorite. All dairy-free and vegan ingredients. Gluten-free option.
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When it comes to any kind of cake, I usually enjoy the classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate, funfetti, etc. However, there's just something about Fall flavors that make them the exception-----like this Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake. In the Spring/Summer, I thoroughly enjoyed making this Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake with Raspberry Compote which is a beautifully light rendition of this cake.
It's truly a time of all things apple and whether you have a ton of apples leftover from apple picking or cakes are usually a challenge, but you don't mind a 1-layer cake---then this one's for you!
This apple cake is really something delicious and the extreme softness from the cake itself along with the nice crunch from the topping makes it the best! It's almost like enjoying a nice cup of freshly made Apple Cider.
This recipe is definitely a great family activity and much like my son, your kids (or loved ones) can assist with the stirring together of the cake as well as the combining of the topping ingredients. It's just a simple, easy dessert recipe that works for everyone.
How to Make Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake
The components to this plant-based cake recipe are the cake layer, apple layer, and the cinnamon-sugar crunch topping. The 1-layer cake can easily be whipped together in just one bowl. Then you can make the simple crunch topping, assemble, bake, and cool! Wallah!
Ingredients for Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake
Here's what you need to make this apple cake batter and topping:
Apples. I love using Gala or Honeycrisp apples or you can use a firm, tart apple like Granny Smith for best results.
All-purpose flour. I use organic flour from Bob's Red Mill.
Baking powder for leavening.
Cane sugar. I use organic sugar.
Brown sugar. Again, using organic sugar ensures it's vegan.
Cinnamon, Nutmeg and allspice for that classic apple-cinnamon spice flavor pairing.
Olive oil. Choose a nice high-quality oil because you will be able to taste it in the cake!
Vegan butter. I like Earth Balance buttery spread for baking.
Vanilla extract for a bit of warmth.
Buttermilk. You can use dairy-free or regular (if you're not restricted to a vegan diet)!
Why You’ll Love This Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake
It's very easy to whip together and uses minimal staple ingredients.
Uses all dairy-free and vegan ingredients.
Ready in a little over an 1 hour and WORTH THE WAIT.
Warm and comforting apple sweetness + spices with every bite.
Comes with a gluten-free option for those with a gluten sensitivity.
Nice crunchy topping made from brown sugar + cinnamon that adds a beautiful touch!
Makes for the perfect sweet treat for the entire family.
Whether you choose to make the batter of this apple cake from scratch or with cake mix, you won't be disappointed. Simply implement a few teaks and you'll enjoy this cake as if you made it entirely without a mix! If using your favorite box of dairy-free cake mix, simply turn it into this vegan Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake by:
Replacing the eggs with a vegan substitute: creating flax 'eggs', using an egg replacement powder (Bob's Red Mill has a great one), applesauce, etc.
Instead of using vegetable oil, substitute with the olive oil as listed in this recipe.
Add a little baking powder to the mix (perhaps 1 teaspoon or so).
Use organic cane sugar instead of standard white sugar.
Add 1 cup of all-purpose flour to the cake mix to add more "body" to your cake.
Replace the water with milk.
Be sure to add the spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice) as the recipe states.
Make the brown sugar-cinnamon topping and add it to the top of the cake per usual.
Topping Ideas for This Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake
The beautiful brown sugar-cinnamon topping is truly the only topping you'll need on this perfectly sweet dessert. However, if you like, you can add a little additional flavor and flare to this cake for a nice switch up by adding any of the following:
However, I do occasionally use Super-Fine Cake Flour which adds a nice airiness and fluffiness to your cakes as well.
Can I Make this Apple Cake Gluten-Free?
If you would love to make this apple cake gluten-free, then substituting all-purpose flour with Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour is the easiest option. It’s a special blend of gluten-free flours, starches, and xanthan gum, which makes this cake just as soft, fluffy, and airy as the original! They also have a great All-purpose GF flour that works great as well.
How to Store Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cake
Keep leftover cake tightly wrapped using plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days. To store frozen, simply tightly wrap and cover cake and freeze for up to 2-3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature.
Can I Make Apple Cinnamon Olive Oil Cupcakes?
Sure! To turn this apple cake recipe into individual cupcakes, simply divide the batter between about 30 cupcake wells. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the centers are set. For the buttercream, you can always pair these apple cupcakes with a nice maple-infused frosting or chai spiced frosting.
Can I Make this Apple Cake Ahead?
You can always bake this cake the night or day before and let it cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, add your favorite topping, and serve each slice!
If making a dairy-free version: In a bowl or measuring cup, add together your favorite plant-based milk (I use unsweetened Almond milk) and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, stirring and allowing it to sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens. For a regular option, just substitute milk with regular cow's milk or heavy cream.
TO MAKE THE CAKE:
Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (w/ butter or spray) and line the bottom with parchment paper of a 9-inch round cake pan. NOTE: For greater ease, you can use a 8 to 9-inch springform pan as well so that you can remove it more easily once baked.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sea salt until combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add together the sugar and olive oil, mixing by using a hand-mixer on medium-high speed, until combined and "sand-like", about 1-2 minutes.
Add in the vanilla and the 'buttermilk', followed by the dry ingredients, mixing everything together until well combined, smooth, and lump-free, about 2-3 minutes.
Pour/scoop batter into prepared pan, spreading everything around for a perfect evenness.
TO MAKE THE APPLE LAYER:
In a bowl, add the cubed apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, mixing until combined and the apples are fully coated.
TO MAKE THE CINNAMON-SUGAR TOPPING:
In a bowl, add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and partially melted butter, stirring until combined. NOTE: The mixture should look 'crumbly-like' and easy to press when using your fingers.
Add the spiced apples atop the cake batter, evenly spreading until covered. Generously sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar topping atop spiced apples until everything is completely covered.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the center of the cake comes out clean when tested with a toothpick or butter knife.
Once done, remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely (about 1-2 hours) before carefully lifting it from the pan. NOTE: To best remove, I recommend gently turning your cake over and "shake" out of pan, flipping it back right side up once until cake stand or platter.
To serve, slice cake and top with your favorite dairy-free ice cream or coconut whipped cream and enjoy!
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Keep leftover cake tightly wrapped using plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 5 days. To store frozen (frosted or unfrosted), simply tightly wrap and cover cake and freeze for up to 2-3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature.
APPLE CINNAMON CUPCAKES: This recipe yields about 30 cupcakes which will be more cakey and fluffy. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean.
PLANT-BASED BUTTERMILK: Add 1 cup of Almond milk (or your fave plant-based milk) + 1 tablespoon lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes, until it slightly thickens.
FLOUR: You can always just use cake flour for this recipe.
MAKE AHEAD: You can always bake this cake the night or day before and let it cool, tightly wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, let cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, add your favorite topping, and serve each slice!