Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

Apple Honey Cake! Made with almond flour, eggs, honey, apples, and spices. Grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Make it a day ahead or whip it up at the last minute!

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Photography Credit: Coco Morante

This apple cake is ready to celebrate!

With its festive topping of toasted almonds and a honey glaze, this grain-free cake is pretty enough to serve at any gathering, but easy enough to whip together at a moment’s notice.

Grain-Free Apple Honey CakeThis apple cake is not only grain-free, it’s gluten-free and dairy-free, too.

The magic ingredient here is almond flour. This is made from finely ground, blanched almonds and it makes a fantastic substitute for flour in a dense, moist cake like this one.

Note that almond flour is different from almond meal. Almond meal usually contains the almond skins and is sometimes ground a little more coarsely. It’s fine to substitute it for the almond flour in this recipe, but the cake will be more rustic.

Grain-Free Apple Honey CakeAnother bonus to using almond flour: Most apple cakes include a cup of oil or butter, but the almond flour is rich enough that you don’t need nearly that much.

I first made a version of this cake years ago, when a friend of mine was hosting a fall-themed potluck. I’ve played with the recipe over the years, adding the lovely toppings and simplifying the ingredient list.

I love this combination of moist apple cake, crunchy toasted almonds, warm spices, and sweet honey glaze, and I hope you enjoy it too!

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Recipe

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  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Cooling time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings

This cake can be made up to a day ahead. Or, if you’re in a big hurry to serve it, you can serve the cake warm, too.

For a more rustic cake, use almond meal instead of almond flour, and leave the apple unpeeled.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 1 medium (7-ounce) Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks, or grated coarsely

For the glaze and topping:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk or water
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Special equipment:

Method

1 Preheat the oven and prepare a cake pan: Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and place a round of parchment in the bottom of the pan.

2 Make the cake batter: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour, then add in the eggs, honey, and oil. Whisk wet ingredients together in the middle, then gradually whisk in the flour from the sides of the bowl. Continue whisking until the batter is smooth. Stir in the julienned or grated apple.

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

3 Pour the batter into the pan and bake the cake: Pour the batter into the cake pan, taking care not to move the parchment around. Spread out the batter in an even layer using an offset spatula or butter knife, then tap the cake pan against the countertop to remove any air bubbles.

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

4 Bake the cake: Bake the cake for 30 minutes, until it is browned around the edges and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. You may also use a probe thermometer to test for doneness—the center of the cake should be 210ºF.

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

5 While the cake is baking, make the glaze and toast the almonds: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, honey, and almond milk. Cover the bowl and set it aside until needed.

Toast the sliced almonds in a skillet over medium heat until they are lightly browned, about five minutes. Shake the pan often so that the almonds are browned evenly. When they are done, immediately transfer to bowl to cool.

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

6 Transfer the cake to a cooling rack: Allow the finished cake rest for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan to and invert the cake to a cooling rack. Peel the parchment off the bottom of the cake and flip it right side up.

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

7 While the cake is still warm, pour the glaze over the top. Spread the glaze so that it drips over the edges of the cake. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle the almonds on top.

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

8 Let the cake cool to room temperature and serve. The cake can also be made and glazed up to a day ahead.

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Coco Morante

Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook. A self-taught cook and classically-trained soprano, Coco Morante writes and sings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and their beagle. For more recipes, visit her blog, Lefty Spoon.

More from Coco

Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

Showing 4 of 18 Comments

  • Sandi

    Anita, have you heard of irbtrued Whey Low products? You order their sweeteners online . They have Whey Low D for diabetics since it is lower on the glycemic index. It responds well to heated liquids to dissolve it best and if added to whipped cream, the powdered Whey Low needs a day to dissolve well in that fir a smoother texture in the mouth. They all taste great and make a good sugar sub with no after taste.

  • Allison

    What pan is best? Springform?

  • Spencer

    Am I to understand there’s no leavening agent in this recipe?
    No baking soda or baking power whatsoever?

  • Marjorie Wax

    I just made this to take up for my Mother in law’s 87th birthday. It’s perfect and even used an apple from the family orchard. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • Anita A Faulkner

    I am diabetic and try to limit my sugar intake to fruit and sweetener to Splenda and trehalose as my system tolerates them best. I can figure out a no sugar added glaze, but wondering how you think Splenda might work as a honey substitute in the cake since it is not a liquid sweetener.

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