This vegan apple hazelnut cake is excellent in autumn, when seasonal apples are at their peak. With big pieces of tart apple, crunchy hazelnuts, and cinnamon, this is the perfect healthy coffee cake for cooler weather.
I’m so excited to share this easy healthy apple cake – it’s inspired by the one cake my Omi bakes, an apple rye. It’s a healthier spin on a traditional German apple cake and late-season apples and hazelnuts are in abundance at this time of year in Germany. It seemed like the right time to share.
How to cut the apples for an apple cake
The way the apples are cut in this recipe are how you’ll often see them arranged on this type of cake around here, almost like a hasselback potato. It means the apples cook all the way through without making them too soft. You get big pieces of apple in the slices and I mean, really, it just looks nice. The baking time is long enough that the apples become soft enough to cut through with a fork, perfect for afternoon coffee.
I prefer the flavour this way as opposed to ultra thin slices arranged in fans on the cake even though that’s arguably more attractive. Flavour over appearance, always. If you want to have a fan, check out how Heidi does her apple cake – still chunky slices, very important. P.S. That’s coconut flour, because I can’t resist the look of ‘powdered sugar’ on a cake but don’t want to eat the sugar. It works!
What’s in the cake?
This is a favourite flavour combination of mine, and I recently shared a hazelnut apple crumble too. I tend to use hazelnuts more than other nuts, like almonds, because they’re cheap and local. They also add a good bit of sweetness to this cake, which, by the way, is sweetened with coconut sugar and maple syrup for a nice caramel note.
The texture here is definitely more of a coffee cake than a sponge. It’s not super light and fluffy because there’s all that hazelnut flour mixed in to the batter, but it fits autumn, you know? It’s not sticky or heavy but certainly on the edge of dense. And those chunky apples, so good. There are piles of texture in this cake, with the crunchy nuts in the topping contrasting with the melt-in-your-mouth apples and soft cake crumb.
This vegan apple cake is adapted from the fig cake I posted just after we moved to Germany in 2016. I’ve replaced part of the coconut sugar with maple syrup, switched out olive oil for more neutral sunflower, and used lots of cinnamon in place of cardamom. I think the generous amount of cinnamon is what made the batter so much darker.
We had a rare sunny day when I took these photos, and I gave up on fighting the changing light. I did these at a friend’s studio and her dog is always trying to sneak food off the table – can you see her sniffing at the cake in one of the pictures?
- 280 grams / 2 cups light spelt flour
- 100 grams / 1 cup hazelnut meal
- 100 grams / 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 300 ml / 1 1/4 cup oat or almond milk
- 125 ml / 1/2 cup avocado oil*
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 apples, halved, cored, and sliced**
- Chopped hazelnuts for topping, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and grease a 20cm / 8 inch springform pan with coconut oil.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, hazelnut meal, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
- Add the milk mixture to the larger bowl and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and top with the halved apples. You can add a handful of hazelnuts as well for extra crunch if you like. Bake on the centre rack for 50-55 minutes or until golden.
- Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes before removing the outsides of the pan and cooling completely. Once the cake is almost cooled, you can remove the base of the pan. Serve at room temperature with nondairy yogurt or ice cream and more cinnamon.
* Sunflower, grape seed, avocado, and olive oil will all work well here.
** To slice the apples, halve them and carefully remove the core. Slice them almost all the way through in 1/2 cm slices. If you go all the way through don't worry, just place the pieces close together in the cake. The slicing is important. If you don't cut the apples, they won't cook fully. And if your apples are huge, quarter them instead of halving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 432Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 17gSodium: 272mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 8gSugar: 19gProtein: 8g