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5 from 10 votes

German Apple Cake Gluten-Free

Need a dessert that is a little showy without being hard to make, that's not too sweet and that showcases fresh apples? The list of ingredients looks long but German Apple Cake is an easy and tasty recipe - and it’s gluten-free. 
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine german
Keyword Apfelkuchen, Apple Cake, Apple Cake Recipe, Apple Kuchen Recipe, Easy Apple Cake, German Apple Cake, Gluten-Free Apple Cake, Gluten-Free Cake Recipe
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings 8 slices
Author Beth



  • 1 pound apples 3-4 organic small baking apples, such as honeycrisp
  • 1 ⅓ cup GF baking flour, like King Arthur or a combination of GF and oat flours
  • tablespoons finely ground almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum omit if baking flour has it
  • teaspoons baking powder reduce to 1 tsp for HA
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, plus more for the pan
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup coconut sugar we use the smaller amount, see note
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • ¼ cup almond or oat milk - be prepared to increase to ½ cup if the cake is very dry and hard to spread into pan see note
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam - to spread on top of cake after baking see note for a honey/lemon alternative
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar optional


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan lightly with butter. Line with parchment paper and butter it.
  • Peel the apples if desired, or if your apples are not organically grown. Core the apples, then cut into quarters.. Slice each quarter into thin slices, not cutting all the way through. Tip: if your apples brown quickly, as with Granny Smith, sprinkle a little lemon juice over them while you are mixing the remaining ingredients. Or, wait to core and slice the apples until you have the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in their separate bowls at step 5.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour, almond flour, xanthan gum if needed, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or in a large bowl by hand, cream together the butter, vanilla, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Mix in the lemon juice and zest until just combined.
  • With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time.
  • With the mixer still on low, add half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk, and then the remaining flour, mixing until all the dry ingredients are mixed in. If your flour is quite dry, continue to add the milk by tablespoonfuls - you may even need more than ½ cup total.
  • Pour batter in prepared pan, spreading it into an even layer with a spatula. The batter should be about ¾ inches thick. Arrange apples on top, nesting them close together into the batter. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, until the center springs back when poked with a finger and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • While the cake is still warm, brush apricot jam (or a lemon/honey mixture, see note) over the top. Let cool for a few minutes then release the cake from the springform pan. Let cool completely before sliding a knife under the cake to remove the springform bottom.
  • Optional step: Once completely cool, dust the cake with powdered sugar just before serving.


I’ve glazed this cake with a honey/lemon mixture as an alternative to the jar of apricot jam. Stir 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon lemon juice until the honey is dissolved. Brush this onto the cake in place of the apricot jam.
We have reduced the amount of sugar from recipes we've tried. The 1/4 cup of coconut sugar gives a very mildly sweet cake, even with the jam or honey brushed on top. Increase it if you prefer conventionally sweet baked goods.