This vegan apple cake is the perfect cozy recipe to use up fresh apples. It’s the fluffiest, tender cake topped with a sticky pecan glaze. Enjoy it for breakfast like a sticky bun or for dessert with a scoop of your favorite dairy free ice cream. All you need is 10 simple ingredients!
One of my favorite parts of making sticky buns (which I desperately need to share a recipe for) is the pecan glaze. A glaze is just so decadent, perfectly sweet, and perfectly nutty from the pecans. It’s such a comfort food for me.
When I was recipe testing this cake, I made it a couple of times with a cinnamon sugar streusel topping. And while it was good, it wasn’t doing it for me. It was always too sweet and it just doesn’t have the same indulgent feeling as a glaze.
The way this glaze bakes into the top of this apple cake is seriously perfect.
It gives all the same cozy feels as sticky buns without having to wait for any yeast to rise!
This cake is perfectly sweet, light and fluffy. It’s honestly hard to eat just one slice!
Which Apples Make the Best Apple Cake?
I love using a combination of honey crisp and granny smith apples for a balance of sweet and tart.
You can use whatever apples you have, but if you are able to get a variety, it will add a depth of flavor to your cake.
For this cake I also recommend grating the apples for a couple of reasons.
- Grating the apples helps them release their moisture which keeps this cake from drying out.
- It ensures you get apple in every bite! If we were to make this cake with apple chunks, they would not be as evenly dispersed and would break up the texture of our cake.
- Helps prevent the apple from sinking to the bottom, or in this case, the top of the cake. With heavy chunks they could fall to the bottom and have trouble rising.
Making the Glaze
This glaze is very simple. Just mix together cinnamon, brown sugar, melted vegan butter, and chopped pecans.
Then pour the glaze overtop a parchment lined 9×13 casserole dish.
It is very important you use a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the dish. After baking, we are going to flip this cake upside down so the glaze is on the top, and without the parchment paper this will be impossible.
It’s the same step as making sticky buns. You need the glaze on the bottom of the dish so it fully sticks to the apple cake.
Please use the parchment paper. Do not try and make without!
Making the Cake Batter!
This cake batter is very simple to make and will come together within a couple of minutes. I do have a couple of tips, however, to make this as seamless and fool-proof as possible!
- Have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go before you start preparing the cake batter. The longer this cake batter sits before baking, the more dense and deflated your cake will be. The second the baking soda hits the wet ingredients, the cake will begin activating.
- Sift in the flour. This cake batter is pretty thick and is not as runny and pourable as most other cake batters you’ve likely worked with. Sifting in the flour helps prevent over mixing.
- Fold gently when combining wet and dry ingredients. Seriously. Over mixing or whisking it together quickly will leave you with a very dense, very gummy cake.
- Coat the grated apple in 1 tablespoon of flour. Before adding the grated apple to the batter, I recommend coating it in a tablespoon of flour. This will prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the casserole dish and evenly disperse it throughout the batter!
Flipping Your Cake Upside Down!
Once your cake has baked, allow it to cool in the casserole dish for 5-10 minutes, or until the butter is no longer audibly sizzling.
Then, slide a knife around the edges of the cake to ensure it is not stuck to the sides and place a cookie sheet on top of your casserole dish.
With oven mitts (the casserole dish is HOT!), carefully flip the casserole dish upside down so the sticky glaze is on top.
The parchment paper should peel off very easily. And there you have it!
Delicious sticky apple cake.
The longer you allow it to cool the easier it will be to slice but I recommend enjoying a piece warm with vegan ice cream or coconut whip!
If you’re looking for more vegan desserts, check out these:
- Vegan Chocolate Mug Cake
- Vegan Pumpkin Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Filling
- Flourless Brownie Bars (no bake)
- Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
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Sticky Vegan Apple Cake
Apple Cake Batter
- 1 granny smith apple grated (about 1 cup lightly packed)
- 1 honey crisp apple grated (about 1 cup lightly packed)
- 2 ½ cups flour plus 2 tablespoons (328 grams)
- 1 cup vegan yogurt unsweetened
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 5 ½ tablespoons vegan butter melted (about ⅓ cup)
- 1 flax egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ sticks vegan butter melted
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit.
- Grate the apples with skin, then toss grated apple in two tablespoons of flour to coat. Set aside in a bowl.
- Prepare the flax egg by mixing together 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 2 ½ tablespoons water. Set aside.
- Line the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish with a piece of parchment paper.
- Prepare the glaze my simply mixing together the brown sugar, melted butter, chopped pecans and cinnamon.
- Pour the glaze mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Measure out all the cake ingredients ahead of time so you can prepare the cake quickly. If the batter sits too long it will be difficult to mix and the cake will deflate in the oven.
- In a large mixing bowl, add in the light brown sugar, melted vegan butter, flax egg, unsweetened vegan yogurt, and vanilla extract. Fold ingredients together until combined.
- Sift in the baking soda and flour and fold gently into wet ingredients. Avoid fast movements or the dough will get tough.
- Lastly fold in the grated apple until just combined. The batter will be thicker and not runny.
- Spread the cake batter over top the glaze in the casserole dish and gently spread it until fully covering the glaze.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5-10 minutes.
- Lastly slide a knife around the edges of the cake, put a cookie sheet over top the casserole dish and with oven mitts, carefully invert the cake so the sticky glaze will be on top.
- Peel off the parchment paper from the glaze and slice the cake. Enjoy plain or with coconut whip or vanilla ice cream.
- Store leftovers at room temperature for 2-3 days.
- I use these vegan butter sticks. They are great for vegan holiday baking!
- I prefer the brand Kite Hill unsweetened yogurt.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.