Apple Cake

Apple Cake

gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, corn-free


Today I baked the latest in my attempts to develop a gluten-free version of my old favorite “Raw” Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. This time I used Cybele Pascal’s Allergy Free French Apple Cake as a place to start. Her main innovation is pre-cooking the apples.  I added raisins, walnuts (so no longer “top allergen free”), and spices (so less French, more American) to her recipe and made several other changes to make it corn-free. Below is what I did. Consult the links above for the original recipes.


  • 3 medium baking apples (approx. 1 lb.), peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and then sliced crosswise (I used Cortland apples and ended up with 3 cups of apples)
  • 2 teaspoons brandy (optional; I had Grand Marnier, so used that)
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend or my Basic GF Flour Blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon guar gum
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup shortening (I use Spectrum Organics Palm Oil Shortening)
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup diluted coconut milk (see notes below)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. Place apple slices in a microwave-safe pie plate, cover, and microwave 3 minutes or until apples are slightly tender and pliable. Toss with brandy and lemon juice, and set the pie pan on a wire cooling rack to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the springform pan with a 9″ round piece of parchment paper and grease the parchment paper. Sprinkle the sides and bottom of the pan with a little gluten-free flour mix, tapping out any extra, and place the springform pan on the baking sheet.
  3. In a small bowl, combine flax seed meal with warm water. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It should thicken into a gel similar in consistency to eggs.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour mix, guar gum, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), combine shortening, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until well combined.
  6. Add flax seed mixture and vanilla. Mix until blended.
  7. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in one-third of the flour mixture. Mix until blended.
  8. Add half the coconut milk, mix until blended.
  9. Mix in half of the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining coconut milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  10. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the walnuts and raisins. Then gently fold in the cooled apples.
  11. Pour the batter into the springform pan; spread to the edges of the pan and smooth the top.
  12. Bake for approximately 60-75 minutes in the center of the preheated 350°F oven, until the center of the cake is firm and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on wire rack. Loosen the outside of the springform pan and gently release, using a small knife to separate the edge of the cake from the edge of the pan, if necessary. Set the cake, still on the pan bottom, on a wire rack to cool completely, at least 1 hour.

[slideshow_deploy id=’1036′]


  • My everyday dairy-free “milk” is diluted coconut milk.  I take a 14 oz. can of Aroy-D Coconut Milk (according to the information on the can this brand is made from only coconut and water, not preservatives or additives), pour it into a 1-quart container, add 14 oz. of water, and shake.  So a 50/50 mixture of coconut milk and water.  Feel free to substitute whatever form/brand of dairy-free milk you like.
  • My original Apple Cake recipe included Cream Cheese Frosting.  I’ve chosen not to frost today’s cake, but if I did I would use the following recipe:

Coconut Manna Frosting

  • 3/4 cup dairy-free shortening
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons Coconut Manna (I use Nutiva Brand)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2-1/2 – 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Powdered Sugar because it is free of cornstarch)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons diluted coconut milk, as needed for smooth consistency

Cream the shortening, coconut manna, salt and vanilla until smooth.  Add the confectioners’ sugar in several batches, beating until smooth after each addition.  Add the coconut milk, one tablespoon at a time until the frosting is the consistency you prefer.  Continue beating until smooth, light, and fluffy.  Makes enough for 12 large cupcakes, an 8″ layer cake, or the top and sides of a 9″ single-layer cake.

©2014 Highly Sensitive Girl / Lucinda DeWitt


GF Carrot Cake Redux

After my successful Carrot Cake BakeOff in March, I decided to combine the best of the two recipes and made a “new and improved” two-layer carrot cake for my birthday.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Full Batch = two 9″ rounds; Half Batch = one 9″ round


Full Batch Ingredient Half Batch
2-1/2 cups Cake & Pastry Blend (see below) 1-1/4 cups
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 3/4 teaspoon
1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/8 teaspoon
1-3/4 cups sugar 7/8 cup
1 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup
3 eggs eggs 2 eggs [my modification to avoid 1/2 egg]
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon
8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained with juice reserved 4 oz. (1/2 can)
4 Tablespoons reserved pineapple juice 1 Tablespoon [modified due to additional egg noted above]
2 cups peeled & grated carrots 1 cup
3/4 cup raisins 3/8 cup
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/4 cup
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, rehydrated with 1-2 tablespoons of water 1/4 cup


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease 8- or 9-inch round cake pan(s).  Line with bottom of the pan with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment. [I buy 9″ round  parchment sheets rather than cutting my own.]
  2. Combine the flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a bowl; set aside.
  3. Prepare all the add-ins: carrots, raisins, walnuts, coconut, pineapple.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla at low speed until smooth, then beat at high speed for 3 minutes.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed to blend.  Add the reserved pineapple juice and beat until smooth.  Stir in the carrots, pineapple, raisins, walnuts, and coconut.  (I do these additions by hand with a wooden spoon, rather than with the mixer.)
  5. Divide the batter between the cake pans.  Bake on the center rack for 40-45 minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes away clean. [Do make sure the center seems “solid” or the whole thing is likely to collapse as it cools.]  Remove to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.  Turn the cake out onto a rack to cool completely.  [You may need to run a knife around the edge of the pan.  I also put a sheet of parchment over the rack so the cake doesn’t stick to the rack.]
  6. Frost with non-dairy Coconut Powdered Sugar Frosting (see below) or your favorite frosting.


  • I use these velcro cake pan insulating strips to keep the cake from doming.  They work great!  However, it’s possible that without them your cake will be done sooner . . . so remember to start checking after 30 minutes of baking.  Better safe than sorry!


Cake & Pastry Blend

(adapted from Hillson, Gluten-Free Makeovers)

  • 1-1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup superfine brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons guar gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Store in a plastic zipper bag in the refrigerator until needed.

Notes on Flour Blends:

  • DO NOT use the old “scoop and level” method of measuring with GF flours.  You will get too much flour.  Spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then level off excess with a knife.
  • Obviously, this recipe makes more than the 2-1/2 cups needed for the carrot cake recipe.  Remember to mix the blend, then measure for the recipe.  Save the leftovers for other baking.
  • If you use any other flour blend you will need to add gum and salt to the carrot cake recipe.

Lucinda’s Non-Dairy Coconut Powdered Sugar Frosting

(Update 10/6/2014: I no longer use these proportions in my frosting.  Please see my current recipe at )

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum Organics Palm Oil Shortening)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Manna (I use Nutiva brand;
  • 2-3 cups confectioners sugar; sifted if lumpy
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • dashes of lemon juice or water or “milk” substitute as needed to thin the frosting
  1. Beat the shortening and coconut manna until light and fluffy.  Add extracts and beat again.
  2. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar and mix at low-medium speed until combined.
  3. Add liquid, one teaspoon at a time, to thin the frosting enough to use.


  • The coconut manna provides some richness to make up for not using the butter and cream cheese that would be in the traditional version of my powdered sugar frosting.
  • For some reason this recipe wasn’t quite enough to frost the cake today.  Haven’t gotten the proportions correct after years of making cream cheese frosting.  I think this needs more shortening, so next time I’ll try 3/4 cup shortening and maybe an extra spoon of coconut manna.