Old Fashioned Apple Cake with Coconut Oil

No, my grandmother did not make this apple cake recipe, and no I’m not Jewish, but hot damn this is a scrumptious take on the infamous Smitten Kitchen version. Of course I did my normal spin on “how to make it healthy” by swapping out flours, reducing the oil, and using coconut sugar instead of the white stuff. In fact it’s my first attempt using this new gluten-free flour mix that’s more “whole-grain” vs. nut based.

What’s the flour combo?

When I make gluten-free baked goods, I like to keep my flour mixture simple and hearty without adding tapioca starches, xanthum gum, or other ingredients that seem foreign. While I normally use almond flour as my base, it does contain more calories than “whole-grain” flours, so I came up with a happy blend of three that maintains a moist and fluffy texture.

For this recipe, I used part almond flour, with millet flour (a protein, rich ancient grain) and oat flour (ground up oats).

So, is it really gluten-free?

Gluten is simply a protein that exists in the endosperm of the wheat grain. Oats do not contain gluten, but they are often processed near wheat so the majority of what you’ll find is NOT gluten-free.

This recipe CAN be gluten-free if you purchase “gluten-free” oats (or “gluten-free” oat flour). Do a review in your local market, or on Amazon, and you should be able to find “gluten-free” oats/flour. The good ol’ Bob’s Redmill definitely has it!

How I “healthified” the recipe

For me, I LOVE sweet treats, but I HATE feeling like crap if I eat something that is sugar-loaded. The belly bloat and lethargy do NOTHING for the schedule that I keep. So instead of depriving myself of the good stuff, I “healthify” it. Sometimes it works. And sometimes it doesn’t.

Here’s exactly what I swapped from Smitten Kitchen’s version:

  • Apples stayed the same.
  • Cinnamon stayed the same.
  • Removed 5 tablespoons of sugar in the apple mixture.
  • Swapped 2 ¾ cup regular flour for a mix of almond, millet, and oat flour.
  • Baking powder stayed the same.
  • Added baking soda for extra lift.
  • Reduced the salt by half (used ½ teaspoon sea salt instead of 1 teaspoon regular salt).
  • Used 3 tablespoons coconut oil instead of 1 cup of vegetable oil.
  • Added 1 cup of applesauce since I reduced the oil.
  • Used 1 cup of coconut sugar instead of 2 cups of regular sugar.
  • Used 2 teaspoons of vanilla.
  • Eggs stayed the same.
  • Added an optional crumble recipe to the top for crunch and a final sprinkle of sweet.


Crumble Ingredients (optional)

⅓ cup coconut flour
4 teaspoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
⅓ cup chopped walnuts

Cake Ingredients
6 sweet-tart apples (i.e. – Pink Lady or Honey Crisp)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ½ cup oat flour
¾ cup almond flour
½ cup millet flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon sea salt
1 cup applesauce
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
4 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Crumble Steps

  1. Mix melted coconut oil (kokosöl), maple syrup, and sugar together.
  2. Add coconut flour and mix with a fork until it reaches a crumble texture.
  3. Add walnuts and mix one more time.

During my time in Hesse recently, I came to love their local oils. For cake, coconut oil is fabulous, but I also like cake coupled with salad. For salad, I like to use line oil (bio leinöl kaufen), which is an oil that can’t be heated and needs to be eaten with cold foods. The Germans love their salads, so they really know their stuff.

Cake Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven.
  2. Grease a tube pan with coconut oil. (NOTE: you can also use a round springform pan, bread pans, or a large rectangle baking pan).
  3. Wash, core and cut apples into ½” chunks. (TIP: slice apples as normal and cut each slice into fourths to make the chunks.) Add 1 tablespoon cinnamon, mix, and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift oat flour, millet flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk applesauce, melted coconut oil, eggs, coconut sugar, and vanilla.
  6. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated, but do not overmix.
  7. Pour half of the batter into the tube pan, then layer with ½ of the apple chunks. Pour the remaining batter on top of it and add one last layer of the remaining apples. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. Follow the steps above to make the crumble. Set aside.
  9. Evenly spread the crumble over the partially baked cake and bake for another 20 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean.

Flaxseed Oil

I have recently discovered flaxseed oil (Leinöl) for myself and just love it to bits. It has a beautiful yellow color and an interesting taste. Apparently, it also has a lot of health benefits due to its cold manufacturing process, through which most of the beneficial components remain in the oil. This also means that flax oil is only meant to be eaten cold (perfect for salads!) and if you ask me, it also goes well with potatoes. However, you should not use it to fry. Unlike most other oils I know, this type actually goes bad in a matter of around two months.

Check out this video for some of the benefits this oil provides 🙂