Grain-Free Apple Honey Cake

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.

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


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:


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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  • Susie

    Made this on a whim, looking to use up a few apples. I mixed in the apples before all the wet ingredients, but it turned out pretty well anyways. I used Swerved powdered sugar sub for the glaze, and thought it was way too sweet. Next time I’ll skip the glaze or use coconut sugar instead. Will definitely make again!


  • Aude

    Very tasty, both my husband and I liked it. One slight modification, next time I’ll add only 1/2 tsp of salt as 3/4 felt too salty (yet we both love salt). I also skipped the topping to avoid extra sugar. Great recipe with vanilla ice-cream, a fun weekend treat, and incredibly fast and easy to make. Thank you!


  • Angela

    Easy to put together and super yummy! It was moist, but not gummy and had an excellent flavor. Thank you!


  • Nancy

    Nice dense, not too sweet. First time using almond flour for baking. Since there is no leavening agent, my husband insisted it really wasn’t a cake. He ate it and loved it anyway! Ben and Jerry have frozen ice cream made with almond milk, an almond, toffee flavor. We had a half scoop of that with it and they paired well together.


  • Sharon

    Can the cake be frozen?

    • Coco Morante

      Hi Sharon, Yes, it can be frozen! To protect it from freezer burn, I would wrap it in saran and aluminum foil, then store it in a zip-top freezer bag.

  • Hanling

    Has anyone tried this with shredded carrot in place of the apple?

  • [email protected]

    Can this be made with sliced apples? Or better if it’s small matchsticks?

    • Coco Morante

      Yes, you can use diced or sliced apples in this recipe! I would keep them sliced fairly thinly if you go that route, and make sure they’re evenly distributed throughout the batter.

  • Daniella

    Just made this cake and it was really nice. not overly sweet and super simple to make! Only think I would change for next time is i would grate the apple instead of julliene since I think it would have held together better. thanks!


  • Lili

    I made this and it was moist, and delicious! I will definitely be making it again. A very nice alternative to the apple cake I made prior to my husband having issues with gluten. Neither of will miss the old recipe at all!


  • AE

    I made this today. I added about a 1/4 tsp baking powder to this. Cooked in a 9×5 muffin pyrex pan, I had no parchment left. I buttered the bottom and sides as best I could. It took about 45 minutes for a toothpick to come out clean. The loaf came out suprisingly clean from the pan except for one spot in the middle underneath-not bad at all for having no liner! I made a topping similar to what you suggested however, I had a bag of oranges in the crisper drawer and decided to use fresh squeezed orange juice in lieu of water. The glaze was so good, I kept “tasting” it. I didn’t use fresh almonds as a topping but I did cover the whole thing with confection sugar since I thought the cake still needed more delicious glaze and more sweetness. I would just make the glaze if I could and cover each slice of cake as if it were pancakes and syrup!

  • 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?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Allison! We used an 8-inch cake pan like this one for testing this recipe. Hope that helps!

      • allison pratt

        Perfect Emma, thank you! I’ll be making it this week!

  • Spencer

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

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Spencer! Yes, that’s correct — no leavening. The eggs give it a little lift, but this is meant to be a fairly dense cake. Enjoy!

      • Spencer

        Hi Coco,

        I made it and it was good. However, my almond flour had brown specks in it. I guess it included the skin during the milling process. From your photos, did you used blanched almond flour? The texture of the flour wasn’t fine as I expected judging by the mouth texture or feel.

        • Amanda Lamantia

          Spencer, you might have used almond meal. Almond meal is usually a coarser grind and includes the skins. Almond flour is much more fine, like a powder and (as you suggested) is made from blanched almonds.

  • 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.

    • Hanna

      Try the liquid Stevia!

    • Coco Morante

      I haven’t experimented with this, but I think it will probably work out just fine. The batter should be pretty forgiving, since it has a lot of moisture from the eggs and apple already.

      I like Hannah’s suggestion of using liquid Stevia, though I don’t believe it’d be a 1:1 equivalent to the amount of honey.

      Another option would be to use applesauce instead of honey — much less sugar and you’d still get the moisture in there!

      Let me know if you end up playing around with the recipe!

  • Julie

    Thanks! This looks wonderful and I have everything I need in order to make it!

  • Rose yu

    Will this cake taste good if you freeze and defrost and then assemble at the end?

    • Coco Morante

      Sure, you can definitely freeze the cake. Once it’s cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and store it in a freezer bag for up to a month. You may have to spread the glaze a bit more carefully, since it won’t have the just-baked warmth of the cake to make it less viscous when you’re pouring it on.

  • Jelena

    Would finely ground walnuts work instead of almonds, as I have plenty. Thanks in advance!

    • Coco Morante

      Walnuts are a bit more bitter, as well as higher in fat than almonds, so you may end up with a slightly different flavor and texture. It’s worth trying out though! I’ve used a half and half blend of walnut meal and GF flour blend in other recipes with good results — that might be a good place to start.

  • Sandy S.

    All in on trying this recipe! It looks and sounds great!