This gluten-free applesauce cake is the EASIEST gluten-free fall dessert!

It is light and moist with an AMAZING texture. Serve it for an afternoon snack or with some vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert.

Gluten-free applesauce snack cake on parchment paper


 

Sometimes you just want a quick, easy, and light dessert. Something a little bit healthy, but tasty enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Enter: gluten-free applesauce cake. It really is the perfect option when you’re looking for a quick dessert made from pantry staples!

This apple cake recipe calls for basic ingredients like applesauce, brown sugar, oil, gluten-free flour, and baking soda. You might even have everything on hand to make it right now!

The combination of applesauce and oil makes this cake super light and moist. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg give the cake a subtle spice that makes it a great recipe for fall. But really, you can make gluten-free applesauce cake any time of year!

Think of it as an easy alternative to gluten-free coffee cake, gluten-free carrot cake, or gluten-free banana bread!

I like to sprinkle chocolate chips over the top to give this gluten-free apple cake a bit more sweet, chocolatey goodness. Feel free to add other mix-ins, or skip them all together.

This gluten-free applesauce cake makes a great afternoon snack, weeknight dessert, or even a quick breakfast. Eat it with a fork and plate, or take a slice on the go!

Table of Contents

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and easy recipe
  • Moist and light
  • Perfect weekday snack or dessert
  • Made with simple ingredients

You also might like this recipe for apple compote, baked apples or gluten-free apple crisp.

For more gluten-free apple recipes, try this gluten-free apple crumble recipegluten-free apple cake and gluten-free apple muffins.

Ingredients You’ll Need

For the Wet Ingredients

Wet ingredients for applesauce cake on a countertop
  • Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce creates a moist cake, without adding too much sugar. You could also use homemade applesauce!
  • Brown sugar: Thanks to the applesauce, 1/4 cup of brown sugar is all you need to make this cake perfectly sweet, but not too sweet.
  • Sugar: I like Domino granulated fine sugar, but any brand will work!
  • Oil: Choose a neutral oil for this cake, such as vegetable oil or canola oil.
  • Egg: One room-temperature egg helps bind the batter together and creates a moist, rich cake. You could also use flax eggs to make this healthy applesauce cake both gluten-free and vegan.
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds a bit of a bright zing to this cake. It’s subtle but really sets it apart from the average cake. I prefer using freshly squeezed lemon juice!
  • Vanilla: Vanilla is the perfect balance to the lemon juice and other flavors in this applesauce cake. Real vanilla extract is always best!

You also might like this gluten-free apple cider donuts and gluten-free apple pie recipe.

For the Dry Ingredients

Dry ingredients for applesauce cake on a countertop
  • Gluten-free flour: Be sure to use a high-quality gluten-free flour blend, preferably one that includes xanthan gum. I like King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten-Free Flour best.
  • Baking soda: Baking soda helps the cake rise and have a light, fluffy texture.
  • Salt: I like to use a bit of fine sea salt to balance the sweetness of this cake.
  • Spices: Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are the perfect enhancement to the applesauce in this cake!

How to Make Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (325F if you’re using a glass pan). Lightly grease a 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking dish. Line with parchment paper if desired.
Dry ingredients in a bowl
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Wet ingredients whisked into a bowl
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. (Be sure the applesauce is at room temperature or the coconut oil will solidify when you mix the wet ingredients together.) 
Wet and dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spatula or spoon until just combined. Stir in half the chocolate chips.
Applesauce cake batter in a pan
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. 
Baked applesauce cake in a pan
  • Bake gluten-free applesauce cake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan. Then enjoy!

Storage Instructions

Cover this gluten-free applesauce cake with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

A side view of Gluten-free applesauce snack cake on parchment paper

FAQs

Can I use applesauce instead of oil in gluten free cake?

Yes, applesauce can often be used instead of oil in gluten-free cake recipes (or traditional cake recipes). It’s a healthy alternative that has less fat and fewer calories. For best results, use a 1:1 ratio of applesauce to oil.

What does applesauce replace in cake mix?

Applesauce can be used as a replacement for oil or butter in cake mix. Use unsweetened apple sauce to reduce the sugar content of the cake. It can also be used a replacement for banana or pumpkin in a recipe.

Can celiacs eat gluten-free cake?

Though people with Celiac disease should stay away from cake made with all-purpose wheat flour, they can eat gluten-free cake. If you’re buying a storebought cake, be sure to look for a gluten-free label. Some cakes are made without gluten ingredients, but they may cross-contaminate with gluten during the baking process.

Expert Tips & Tricks

  • I recommend using unsweetened applesauce for this gluten-free applesauce cake recipe. It reduces the overall sugar content and the cake is still plenty sweet! If you don’t have unsweetened applesauce, regular applesauce will work, too. You could also use homemade applesauce.
  • If you want to make this even lower sugar, you could replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar or maple syrup.
  • I like to sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of this gluten-free applesauce cake to give it a bit more sweet, chocolatey goodness. Feel free to add other mix-ins, or skip them all together.
  • Be sure to use a high-quality gluten-free flour blend, preferably one that includes xanthan gum. I like King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten-Free Flour best.
A slice of applesauce cake on a plate

More gluten-free apple recipes

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try this gluten-free applesauce cake, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you! 

Gluten-free applesauce snack cake on parchment paper
5 from 5 votes

Easy, Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
This gluten-free applesauce cake is the EASIEST gluten-free fall dessert!
It is light and moist with an AMAZING texture. Serve it for an afternoon snack or with some vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert.

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (150g) gluten-free measure-for-measure flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons oil any neutral oil works here!
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (52g) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (52g) granulated sugar

OTHER:

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F (325F if you’re using a glass pan). Lightly grease a 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking dish. Line with parchment paper if desired.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spatula or spoon until just combined. Stir in half the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.
  • Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

Notes

RECIPE NOTES
  • I recommend using unsweetened applesauce for this cake recipe. It reduces the overall sugar content and the cake is still plenty sweet! Any kind of applesauce will work though.
  • If you want to make this even lower sugar, you could replace the brown sugar with coconut sugar or maple syrup.
  • I like to sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of this gluten-free applesauce cake to give it a bit more sweet, chocolatey goodness. Feel free to add other mix-ins, or skip them all together.
  • Be sure to use a high-quality gluten-free flour blend, preferably one that includes xanthan gum. I like King Arthur Measure-for-Measure Gluten-Free Flour best.

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 229mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 56IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This has become a regularly requested treat in our home and is loved so much that my daughter requested it as her 16th birthday cake (even after I offered to order one from a fancy gf bakery). Her non gf friends have also asked if I can make it when they come over and have even asked for the recipe. It always disappears quickly. It’s so easy to make and always turns out perfectly even when I double the recipe (I use bob mills 1:1 flour)

  2. 5 stars
    Tried with Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oat flour instead, and thankfully it turned out perfectly fine. Great flavor. Nice texture. I also happened to use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon because it was all I had, and I baked the batter in a 12 cup muffin tin because I realized only last minute that the needed pan was dirty lol. Still turned out. I’ll be making again. Would recommend.

      1. Turned out enjoyable. Perfect flavor combination, and the texture was just fine. I had the batter already mixed up before I realized I had no lemon. So, I decided I would try apple cider vinegar instead. Worked fine. Very apple-y lol.

        1. Apple cider vinegar will work great too! A little lemon juice of vinegar helps to tenderize the crumb. I’m glad you liked the cake!

  3. 5 stars
    I made this recipe using Bob’s All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour. I used 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch as the GF AP flour does not have xanthan gum.
    The cake is moist and delicious.

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