1-Bowl Apple Gingerbread Cake

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Cutting board with apples for making vegan Apple Gingerbread Cake

Did you ever think a cake made with whole wheat flour, flax seed and grated apples could taste so amazing you’d want three slices? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening here. Let’s do this!

Cutting board with ingredients for making Vegan Apple Gingerbread Cake

This recipe was made in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill using their whole-wheat flour, which provides a rustic, hearty texture that I adore.

Spreading Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting over our Apple Gingerbread Cake

Whole-wheat flour also packs more nutrition that your average cake made with all purpose, and complements the rolled oats, molasses, and brown sugar perfectly.  

This recipe requires just 1 bowl, simple ingredients and comes together in about 1 hour. A cake in one bowl in one hour? Yes, dreams do come true.

Speaking of dreams coming true, check out this vegan cream cheese frosting! Just 4 ingredients and you have a luxurious, creamy frosting that takes this cake to the next level.

Stirring together a batch of our Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting recipe
Cut slice of Apple Gingerbread Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is my new fall and winter favorite. It’s:

Perfectly sweet
Subtly spiced
& Altogether perfect

Might I suggest this cake for holiday gatherings? Your friends will love you forever.

Because of its healthier ingredients, I would even argue it could be an acceptable brunch item (yes, I went there). Or, if you’re like John and me, enjoy a slice in the afternoon with hot tea.

Slice of whole grain Apple Gingerbread Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

If you make this cake, please let us know! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We love seeing our recipes come to life in your kitchens.

Cheers, friends!

Dessert plates with slices of Apple Gingerbread Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Slice of delicious Apple Gingerbread Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Using a fork to grab a bite of Apple Gingerbread Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

1-Bowl Apple Gingerbread Cake

A hearty, 1-bowl vegan apple cake infused with gingerbread flavors and rolled oats. A healthier cake perfect for holiday gatherings and cozy afternoons alongside tea.
Author Minimalist Baker
Slice of Vegan Apple Gingerbread Cake on a small plate
4.72 from 74 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 10 (slices)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 Month (frost just before serving)
Does it keep? 3-4 Days



  • 2 Tbsp flaxseed meal (to make flax eggs)
  • 5 Tbsp water (to make flax eggs)
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp molasses
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil (or sub olive or melted coconut with varied results)
  • 1 1/4 cup grated apple (loosely packed // a mix of sweet + tart)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (sub up to 1/3 with water)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats


  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (softened // such as Tofutti or Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter (softened // such as Earth Balance // butter sticks are best // not the spreadable tub)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour (this is optional for thickening // alternatively sub more powdered sugar)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional // for topping)


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (162 C) and butter two 8-inch round cake pans, or an 8×8 baking dish (as original recipe is written // adjust number or size of pans if altering batch size). Add flour to coat, then shake out excess and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, prepare flax eggs by mixing flaxseed and water and let rest.
  • Core apples (no need to peel) and grate. I recommend a mix of finely grated, and coarsely grated. Place grated apple on a clean dish towel and gently squeeze to remove about half of the juice. Set aside. (P.S. you should totally drink that apple juice.)
  • To the flax egg, add sugars, molasses, oil, vanilla, almond milk, grated apples, and whisk.
  • Set a sifter over something to catch fall out and add dry ingredients in this order: 1 cup whole wheat flour (amount as original recipe is written // use 2/3 of the total if altering batch size), baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon, remaining 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (amount as original recipe is written // use remaining 1/3 of the total if altering batch size). Stir gently with a spoon, then sift over wet ingredients and stir to combine, being careful not to over mix).
  • Lastly, add oats and stir again to combine, being careful not to over mix. The batter should be thick but pourable. If it appears too thick, add a bit more almond milk to thin and stir.
  • Pour batter into prepared cake pan(s). If you’re dividing between two pans, it may look like there’s not enough batter but there is! Spread it in an even layer and it will rise while baking.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes if using 2 round cake pans or about 40-50 minutes for an 8×8. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean and the edges should be visibly browned. Remove from oven and set out on counter to cool completely.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare frosting. To the same mixing bowl (rinsed clean), add softened cream cheese, softened butter and beat or whisk vigorously to combine. Then add powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until thick and spreadable.
  • Add flour at the end to thicken (optional – or just more powdered sugar). You want this frosting to be pretty thick so it won’t slide off the cake, so keep adding flour and/or powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled, add 1/3 of the frosting to the top of the bottom layer and spread into an even layer. Then add the top layer of cake and frost generously with remaining frosting, coating sides last. Add crushed pecans on the edges (optional), slice and serve.
  • The cake should be stored covered in the fridge for optimal freshness, and should keep for 3-4 days. Move to the freezer after that, and thaw at room temp before serving.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with a generous amount of frosting and pecans.
*Recipe adapted from my Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Muffins
*Frosting recipe from my Gluten-Free Zucchini Cake

Nutrition (1 of 10 servings)

Serving: 1 slices Calories: 485 Carbohydrates: 74 g Protein: 5.3 g Fat: 19 g Saturated Fat: 4.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 450 mg Fiber: 4 g Sugar: 46 g

 This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Minimalist Baker.

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My Rating:

  1. Quinn says

    This recipe is UNREAL. I made it with gluten-free plain flour, and it was so incredible. So moist and delicious, and not too dense like many gluten-free cakes. The cake wasn’t too sweet, which I LOVE, and the icing added just enough sweetness to make it a proper dessert. I loved the flavour, but I would maybe add more spice next time for extra warmth.

  2. liz says

    I’m looking for an apple gingerbread recipe using almond flour and flax meal and maybe some arrowroot. Other ingredients would be molasses and spices – cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger.

    I remember trying a recipe before and it didn’t work out. I keep trying to adapt a recipe that isn’t using quite those ingredients. Could I adapt this recipe to what I’m trying to do?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hm, we think it will be tricky to get the texture right with just those two flours. Perhaps with potato starch as well it could work?

  3. Katie says

    I have made and remade this a few times now, and it never disappoints! I even make it as muffins when I can’t think of an excuse to put frosting on top. It is absolutely one of my favorites!

  4. Jenny says

    I made this yesterday for my husband’s post-Christmas birthday and it was a hit! Really easy to make, super yummy, and a nice somewhat healthy-ish alternative to all the other baked goods around this time of year. I made the recipe exactly as written but added spiced pecans rather than plain ones on top. Delicious. Thank you!

  5. Jay says

    I made this cake for the 2nd time today and I’m absolutely in love with it. Didn’t change anything big, just used maple syrup instead of molasse, since I couldnt find any. Sad to say I only discovered the option to swap to metric system after calculating cups into grams all by myself for the 2nd time … :D

    Thanks for this recipe, it’s perfect for christmas

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoy the recipe, Jay! Thank you for the lovely review! And sorry the metric button wasn’t more clear!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ophelia, We’d suggest subbing something in its place, such as more flour or finely chopped walnuts. Hope that helps!

  6. Natasha Rowland says

    OMG! This was such a hit for our Friendsgiving dinner! I used a 8×8 pan and made it an apple/caramel upside down cake! I didn’t have enough cream cream so I used a vegan coconut cool whip instead. It was amazing!

  7. Holly Brown says

    Made this cake for Thanksgiving. It was soo delicious! I substituted gluten-free flour (1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 1:1, 1/2 cup almond flour), eggs, 1/4 cup ripe mashed banana, 1/4 cup coconut + avocado oil, and oat milk. It was moist, not too dense, and tasted like apple spice. I especially liked the addition of pecans on the frosting! Yum. Thanks, Minimalist Baker!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Holly! Thank you so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  8. Julie says

    Hi the recipe says use two round cake pans or an 8 by 8 inch square pan. My question is how big are the round cake pans? Thanks hoping to make this for a long awaited gathering of family.

  9. Katie says

    I made this as directed but the cakes were done after 19 minutes. They didn’t rise as much as I would have liked, but still tasted delicious. Very moist, and the frosting was great. Like a carrot cake!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Katie! Acid can help give it more rise. You can add 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar to the almond milk. Glad to hear you enjoyed it overall! xo

  10. Anisha Zaveri says

    I tried exactly as the recipe specified this but it was too liquidy and didn’t bake! I recommend squeezing out apples completely

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Anisha, thank you for sharing your experience and sorry to hear it didn’t turn out quite right! Is it possible you’re baking at elevation?

  11. Tina says

    I made this for my MIL’s birthday. It was delicious and everyone loved it. The cream cheese icing was thick enough without adding flour or icing sugar.
    Going to try them as cupcakes next.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! We’re so glad everyone enjoyed it. Thanks for the lovely review, Tina! xo

  12. Julija Bell says

    somehow it became my favourite cake, easy to make and so moist! To make it faster I only make 1 crust and icing of just coconut cream, cane sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice and agar agar. Thank you!

  13. Linda says

    Getting ready to make this – looks great! Just a note – you said to add flour to thicken the frosting. I thought you weren’t supposed to eat raw wheat flour? Perhaps oats flour would be better?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Linda, you can use additional powdered sugar instead! We aren’t sure how oat flour would turn out.

  14. Tracy says

    Can I skip out the oats? I loathe the texture ( can’t stand quinoa flakes etc either)….I’ll tackle the cake once I get an answer as I don’t want to wreck your oh so appealing recipe:), Thanks

  15. Priscilla says

    This cake was amazing! So moist and delicious, and tasty without being overpoweringly sweet! Thanks for another great recipe :). My family loved this!

  16. Cher says

    Subbed out a few ingredients to keep this GF and it still turned out beautifully. So so good. Not too sweet. A fun variety for dessert. Thank you for this!
    As a sidenote: I can never get this icing recipe to thicken up properly as it looks like it does in your photos, I ended up putting more than the recommended powdered sugar in and even added the flour and it turns out like more of a glaze. Any tips?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cher, we’re so glad it turned out well! Thanks for sharing! As for the icing, we wonder if the brand of vegan cream cheese or vegan butter you are using is more runny? We’d suggest tofutti vegan cream cheese and Earth balance buttery sticks.

  17. Amber says

    I made this for Thanksgiving Eve and it was delicious. Everyone, vegan and non-vegans enjoyed this cake. And I accidentally forgot the 1/2 of oil and it was still amazing. Maybe I didn’t ring the apples out enough so the juice made up for lack of oil because it was super moist and tasty!

  18. Will says

    This is my favorite cake recipe, and I’ve made it many times. I omit the molasses without substituting another sweetener. The apples, brown sugar, and spices combine for a nice flavour, but the molasses overpowers it and makes the cake too dense. Honeycrisp apples are best. I use coconut oil because I always have it and it’s easy to find.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amy, we haven’t tried it, but other readers have done so with success. Let us know if you give it a try!

  19. mark says

    Made this today as single layer in a 9” cake tin and it took a bit longer to cook – just over an hour. The cake is soft and the spices and apple pair beautifully. Opted for a maple syrup glaze instead of the frosting and it was a nice hit of sweetness. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  20. meghan says

    oooooooo so so good!! it’s spring so i used 1 1/2 cups of blueberries instead of the grated apple, 1/2 cup total of sugar, bit extra molasses and double the spices. added extra oats because it looked quite wet and it baked up so fluffy and lovely in an 9×9 pan. thank you!!

  21. Jacquie says

    Made this with the GF flour blend and baked in one 8″ round tin for 50 minutes. Iced with the cashew buttercream frosting. It was delicious and super moist.

  22. Sophie Kasperska says

    I made this recipe for christmas and it was absolutely amazing. I subbed maple syrup and more suger for the molasses and the results were still good. I used a cashew frosting and it worked really well with the cake.

  23. Sharon says

    It was wonderful! My only question is the cakes did not rise as much as yours in the picture. It all tasted great and am making another one for New Years. Any thoughts on why it didn’t rise that much. I just bought Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, what do you think about using that instead of the flax eggs? With my flax eggs nothing rises quite like I would expect it. Thanks for any input.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sharon, it could definitely be the egg replacer! It might be more dense than flax eggs and cause that. Acid can also help give it more rise. You can add 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar to the almond milk. We’re so glad you still enjoyed it though!

  24. Hannah Bendock says

    This made a pleasantly moist and modestly spiced apple cake. I feared it was too moist at first (maybe because it’s difficult to judge if you’ve extracted half of the juice from the grated apples), but after completely cooling, and especially the next morning, everything was holding together nicely.
    I think I’d like to try squeezing out all of the apple juice next time and replacing some of that lost liquid with molasses for a darker/richer gingerbread, and also amp up the spices (at least doubling the ginger and/or adding fresh), including some cloves and maybe allspice and dry mustard.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing, Hannah!

      Also, next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  25. Marla says

    I made this cake for a family dinner and everyone loved it. I used 3 apple (2 Macintosh and 1 Granny Smith) I also ended up only using 2 cups of powdered sugar and no flour in the frosting. I used kite hill plain cream cheese and earth balance sticks for the frosting. The cake wasn’t as ginger heavy as I was anticipating from the title, but delicious non the less. Reminded me of carrot cake. I will absolutely make it again! Thank you!!

  26. Lauren says

    DELICIOUS. I made this for a Friendsgiving and it was so good i made it again to share with my neighbors. I followed the directions to the letter. Perfection. I used honeycrisp and granny smith apples. ~3/4 cup honey crisp and ~1/2 cup granny smith. Thanks for this great recipe! Will make it again! :)

  27. Whitney says

    This cake turned out great – fed it to a non-vegan crowd and it was a hit! I used real eggs instead of flax because I’m not vegan, just dairy-free. Also, I didn’t use any flour in the frosting – I just let it set up a bit in the fridge before using and it was perfect. I candied the walnuts and which gave it an extra little “something.”

  28. Kathy Lawson says

    Delicious! I even slightly messed up and it worked. I had put the layers in the oven and realised I hadn’t put the oil in so put it in after. It was only a minute of baking-oops.
    I used grape seed oil, rice malt syrup, plain flour for the cake and vegan spreadable butter for the icing. I actually added lemon and vanilla to the icing as well- but I just like that.
    It sat side by side on the dessert table with a regular carrot cake and the relatives were amazed at how good it was. Made them realise vegan eating doesn’t mean missing out on cream cheese icing!!
    I’m making it again tonight.

  29. Laren says

    I don’t know what happened, but this did not set up for me. It was very liquidy in the middle, even after baking an additional six minutes. I did swap half of the flour our for almond flour, but do that regularly without issue. Flavor was very good though.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Sorry to hear that, Laren! Swapping half the flour for almond flour likely had something to do with it.. If you give the recipe another try as written, let us know how it turns out!

  30. Pam P. says

    Delicious! I made this for a family gathering and received many compliments. The cake is moist and flavorful. I especially thought the molasses added depth to the flavor and the rolled oats provided a nice chewiness to the texture. The cream cheese frosting is perfect for the apple and gingerbread combination. Many thanks for this recipe!

  31. Rebecca says

    Hi, do you think the frosting from your 1-BOWL CARROT APPLE SNACK CAKE would be a suitable substitute frosting for this recipe? I’m just really wanting an excuse to try the cashew cream frosting! :D

  32. Debbie says

    Hello… I am wondering if I could substitute coconut milk for almond milk as there is a nut allergy in the family

  33. Dawn says

    This cake was a huge hit with my family! We love all the spices in this cake so I doubled them all to make it extra spicy!

    I made the cake about five days before I needed it, wrapped it well in plastic wrap, and froze it.

    On the day before I was going to serve it, I made the frosting (I doubled the amount of frosting), and I frosted the cake while it was frozen. Then I put the frosted cake back in the freezer taking it out about four hours before serving it.

    I didn’t have enough Earth Balance for the frosting so I subbed in some shortening. Turned out great. I would have liked more of a cream cheese flavor. Next time I’ll double the amount of Tofutti in the frosting. I also added a bit of vanilla to the frosting.

    The cake was beautiful, cut beautifully, and tasted so delicious. Even the carnivores loved it! Thank you for this perfect recipe!

  34. Amy says

    Made this for Thanksgiving dessert. My son has a nut allergy, so instead of pecans atop the frosting, we sprinkled diced crystallized ginger along the top rim. It was pretty! And sooooo tasty like all of your recipes. On Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for MB recipes that always help the vegan meals I make special!

  35. Karol says

    This looks so yummy! I’d like to make with eggs so how many would I use? I also cannot use almond milk so what substitute would I use.

  36. Dawn says

    Has anyone tried to freeze this cake? Would like to make ahead of time for Thanksgiving, but I’ve too much to do the day before.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kim! Yes, that should work. You may want to reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees and it may be ready up to ten minutes earlier if you are substituting a glass dish for a metal baking pan. This is because glass doesn’t heat up as quickly as metal but will become very hot once heated up. Hope this helps!

      • Kim says

        It worked beautifully, this cake was a HIT with my husband and 3 year old son. We are a huge fan of your recipes, we use your cookbook at least 3 times a week, if not more, and are never disappointed!
        Thank you!

  37. virginia says

    I see this is made with WW flour. Does it hold together if using GF flour (e.g., Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 or another blend)?

  38. Larissa says

    Great cake. I ended up adding 1/4 -1/3 cup extra flour because it was too liquidy. Glad I did because the consistency turned out perfect! My husband didn’t care for the texture of the oats, so next time I will try cutting them out and adding a bit more flour. Overall a delicious eggless cake recipe!! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Have a read through at the subs other readers made! You could sub applesauce for oil and then reduce the sugar, but I wouldn’t recommend using applesauce in place of sugar without reducing the other liquids in the recipe!

  39. Flexielle says

    Made this cake for my birthday and it was amazing!! I used spelt flour instead of wholewheat which was super tasty. Also we didn’t have any mollassis so I used some mollassis sugar and coconut sugar and treacle instead of mollassis. It worked amazingly! Added some ground ginger to the icing because I love ginger. Thanks so much for this amazing vegan recipe, we’ve successfully converted my family to vegan baking!

  40. Amy says

    This looks fantastic! I’d like to make it for my daughter’s bday. I’m allergic to oats, could you recommend a substitute?

  41. Anthony Back says

    This looked terrific but not being vegan and not experienced with the modifications, I used 2 regular eggs, a mixture of melted butter and walnut oil, frosted it with organic cream cheese (spiked with a little bourbon and powdered sugar). Terrific!!! Thanks Dana!! Hope your other not-strictly-vegan readers will be inspired and your vegan readers not too offended…!

  42. Ashley says

    What kinds of apples do you like to use in this recipe? Gala, Fuji and Granny Smith for the tart? Looking for something to make for Christmas!

  43. Amanda says

    Hi Dana!
    This cake looks INCREDIBLE!!! I have two questions for you: I have to stay away from oils because of some intense digestion issues — do you think subbing applesauce in this would work, or would it change the texture too drastically? And: I’m unfortunately unable to get to the store before making this and don’t have all the ingredients for the frosting — would it work to do a powdered sugar frosting or glaze on this? I know it won’t be quite the same…but I’m in a pinch! Would love your thoughts. Thanks!

  44. Courtney M Ransom says

    Love love love this recipe. Used an extra half an apple and subbed for half the oil and topper with a sprinkle of pepitas because it was what I had on hand. Next time I plan on making it without the frosting, so I can have a yummy, healthy breakfast! Definitely a keeper!

  45. Vanessa says

    The recipe sounds delicious, but I am just wondering… on your about page you say that there is no sponsored content on the website and this page clearly states that it is sponsored.

  46. Renee says

    I made this cake for Thanksgiving and it was loved by all, even those who were skeptical about a gingerbread cake. Everyone had a massive slice and took some home so I had no leftovers.
    Changes I made:
    *I subbed brown sugar with coconut sugar
    *When I went to cool the two cake layers, I accidentally dropped one of them on the floor (rookie mistake). So I made another batch and ended up having 3 layers in total
    *I put candied ginger in between the middle and top layer and it was a major hit
    I already have requests to make this cake again. Thanks for the delicious recipe!

    • Renee says

      As an update: I made this again (since it was such a hit last time) but this time as cake pops with melted chocolate on the outside. Wowzers, were these amazing!
      Once baked I cooled the cake layers and mixed it in a bowl with the frosting. Then I rolled them into balls and put them in the freezer to set for about 10 minutes. Then I melted the chocolate and dipped each cake ball into the chocolate. Once done I let each set on a cookie sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
      Great success!!!

  47. Dawn says

    I made this cake for a combo birthday cake/Thanksgiving dessert. AMAZING!! I didn’t have almond milk so I subbed with soy. I also subbed the organic cane sugar for coconut sugar. It was so delicious! It is now my new favorite cake! For an extra hit of ginger, I may add either fresh or candied ginger in my next recipe. If you like frosting, I recommend doubling the frosting recipe … especially if you’re making a layer cake. It was scrumptious!! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! It’s a keeper!

  48. Samantha says

    Great cake recipe! Very forgiving, I un veganized it and doubled the spices and it was delicious! Had to mess around with the frosting but thats because i used the not vegan versions I’m sure and the water content was different

  49. Stephen Sinclair says

    Couldn’t wait for the cool weather to return so I could make this perfect cake again. I put all the batter into a spring form pan. No frosting. Just a generous dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Like to keep things simple, but elegant. Was a huge hit at dinner this week. The molasses is key!

  50. Trine says

    Found this recipe while looking for vegan cakes online and you specifically say “vegan cream cheese frosting” and then the recipe asks for butter in the pan and butter in the frosting… Last time I checked, butter comes from cows…

    • Trine says

      Oh, never mind, I see you’ve written “vegan butter” in the ingredient list. Still confusing choice of words in the instructions.

  51. Meghan says

    This looks so yummy! What are your recommendations for making it gluten free? Can I sub all purpose gf flour 1:1 or should I try to use a combo of gf flours?

  52. Zhanna says

    I made this last night and it turned out soooo tasty! Better than any bakery bought cake (imo), knowing that I made it myself.
    I added some coconut flakes in the batter, frosting, and as a topping.
    It didn’t turn out as *pretty* as the one pictured here but I’m not a professional so I didn’t expect it to.
    The only thing was that it took longer to make than 1 hour. It would’ve been nice to have an extra set of hands helping me out.
    Thanks for this recipe :)

  53. Thomas Karlmann says

    Frosting: I’d lose the powdered sugar (it’s refined sugar!) and replace with raw Agave, then add some Psyllium to thicken.

  54. Olga says

    I made it yesterday. My husband took it today to his job. I got three -WOW- from his coworkers ( non gluten free) and request for the recipe. Just amazing. I substituted molasses for honey and brown sugar for agave syrup and i used 2 cups of spelt flour.

  55. Giovanna Garcia says

    Many thanks for the really fabulous and delicious recipe, I really liked its texture and flavor. For my intolerance to gluten and as refined sugar consumption. Use quinoa flour and carob flour, organic honey and organic coconut sugar and only sodium bicarbonate. I made the cake for a lunch with my friends and they loved it. I really like your recipes.

  56. Stephen Sinclair says

    Excellent! I baked the cake in a spring-form pan. After cooling for about ten minutes removed the ring and then only maybe thirty minutes later we started cutting slices and putting butter on them. Before you knew it half of it was gone! The next day when I served what was left just powdered the top. I’ve made the above frosting before and it’s delicious, but with a rich cake like this don’t want the frosting competing with the flavors of the cake. I’m thinking this recipe would make good muffins. Next time! Thanks again for all your great recipes.

  57. Jackie Dubravsky says

    This cake is amazing!! So super delicious. Everyone loved it, even the meat eaters! Thank you so much for this recipe! The only thing I did different is use coconut oil for the vegan butter in the frosting.
    Will definitely make many times in the future!

  58. Suzanne says

    I made this last night for an Imbolc dessert. I had to make a few subs though, 1/2 cup honey for the brown sugar and steel cut oats instead of rolled. The result was still very good, although the oats were a bit chewy. I just had another piece this morning and it was better- the oats were more tender, I assume because of the humectant factor of the honey. I also didn’t have any of the icing ingredients so I slathered the middle with rose hip jam and topped it with a melted vegan chocolate bar. I would make this again but next time perhaps with the rolled oats or just more wheat flour.

  59. Renuka says

    Dear Dana,
    I reallly do wish you would reply / write back. Have left comments & queries on sooo many of your recipes since May 2016!
    Regarding this recipe- I don’t have access to a vegan cream cheese and vegan butter in India. What are my alternatives for the icing? Same case with some of your other cake that call for a cream cheese frosting. Some I feel would be ok without a frosting, but like this and the zucchini one- I feel a frosting would take it up a notch. Any suggestions / recommendations?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi! You could try substituting vegan cream cheese for cashew cream! I have not tried it for this recipe but if you give it a try, let me know how it goes. Hope this helps!

  60. Eleanor says

    Wow..I have never made a vegan cake and this was delicious! I used AP flour instead of wheat and only needed 1 cup of cashew milk. I used tofutti cream cheese and was skeptical because I was not a fan of it by itself but it turned out to be a good icing when mixed with the powdered sugar and vegan butter. I did not add flour to the icing. Just powdered sugar and tasted until it was sweet enough. Thanks for the recipe!

  61. Sasha says

    Made this cake for work holiday party and it was a huge hit with everyone from vegan to lactose intolerant to all the others. Was initially anxious about what pans to use since two round is not really the same as one 8×8. I used 2 8×8 square pans and it was fine. Used parchment paper in the bottom for ease and toasted pecans for the top. It’s definitely a stretch to call this a one bowl recipe – what do you grate the apples into and where do you catch the sifted flour? (hint: more bowls) I had a sink full of dishes by the end, but it was worth it anyway.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Lovely! Thanks for sharing! I grate the apples right into the bowl, or into a towel and wring out any excess moisture. I sift the flour right over the bowl!

  62. Caitlin says

    Alas, this recipe flopped for me! It ended up WAY too wet and mushy, and refused to bake all the way through even I gave it some extra time in the oven. (Which presented its own problems: because of the apple juice, I think, the outside started to get really brown and crisp even when the inside of the cake was still goo!)

    The taste was nice, but the soggy texture made this cake unsalvagable. Bummer. The only thing I can think of is that I didn’t squeeze enough juice out of the apple…though, to be honest, I was dubious about this recipe from the start because 1 1/2 cups of almond milk + 1/2 cup of oil seemed like a LOT of liquid.

    This is the very first recipe of yours I’ve tried that didn’t work out, and I see that other people made this cake successfully, so I’ll give it another go at some point! Next time I’ll really wring out the apple and perhaps use a lighter hand with the milk/oil.

  63. Shelley says

    My husband made this today so we could have a nice treat after decorating our Christmas tree. We couldn’t wait so we had a slice pre-decorating because it just smelled so amazing! It reminds me of fruit cake but, next level.

  64. Elizabeth says

    Absolutely delicious, love the moist apples in the middle. This will be my new birthday cake every year. Thank you!
    I’m wondering if you can substitute some or all of it with All-purpose flour?

  65. Sallie says

    I made this cake for my vegan family members for Thanksgiving. I also made the vegan pot pie, including the vegan biscuits, and the mashed potato and cauliflower vegan side dish, all from this website and all in time for Thanksgiving lunch today! They were all delicious, but the cake was a big hit. I am not a particularly good cook, but found these recipes very easy to follow. I would recommend using a food processor for grating the apples as I realized I wasn’t going to have time to do it with the manual grater. I used about 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar to get the icing thick enough, and it was sweet, but yummy! Thank you for such a wonderful resource for vegan cooking!

  66. Ron says

    Dana, trying to find a dairy free dessert recipe for my GF’s daughter who is college age. This looks dairy free to me, yes? or how could I adapt the recipe to make this dairy free. Ron in Dallas.

  67. Donna says

    I had apple butter in the slow cooker and with that smell in my house went searching for a spicy apple dessert. I subbed gluten free flour mix for the flour (adding an additional 1/4 cup as I often do when subbing for wheat flour) and baked the cake in a bundt pan. My son and I both ate a big piece last night and now I have a perfect snack for my fall hike today. This recipe is a keeper!

  68. Brook Moniger says

    Fantastic! The flavor was amazing! Overall an amazing recipe and I will definitely make again. I gave it 4/5 stars for a two reasons: I used two 9 in cake pans and they were quite thin, but it still worked. It doesn’t specify what size in the recipe so I’m curious, what size do you recommend? And secondly I found it to be almost too moist, almost mushy…but this was not a huge deal. I’m wondering if I didn’t squeeze out enough of the apple juice? This is another thing that would be beneficial to specify in the recipe, how much juice should be squeezed out? (like a measurement) My batter was pretty runny. I made a vegan orange vanilla buttercream frosting with vegan butter, powdered sugar, orange zest and vanilla…which was a huge hit!

  69. RunningPathES says

    I made this for Rosh Hashana and it was a hit. I’m giving it 4 stars instead of 5 for two reasons: first, the cake itself was just a wee bit bland, and second, it was actually almost *too* moist in the center, to the point of almost soggy. Neither of these things kept us from gobbling it up, though! The icing was perfect. I put pecans on the outside just like in the picture. I will definitely make again, but probably play with the spices a bit, and I may try with carrots rather than apples at some point, as well.

  70. Rebecca Pierce says

    I substituted the apples for carrots, came out amazing! Love this cake and so does everyone I’ve made it for.

  71. Katherine says

    Delicious!! And easy! I threw together a coconut oil based buttercream with vanilla, ginger and apple cider vinegar and it was great with the cake. But I think it would be just as delicious uniced. I’ll keep this recipe up my sleeve as a go to afternoon tea cake I think! Thanks!

  72. Jordan says

    I subbed olive oil as well as used pears instead of apples, but it turned out quite (and I mean overly) moist? Usually like that but this time it was too much. Wasn’t a great texture however the icing was absolutely perfect. Tastes good, just the texture wasn’t good! Perhaps due to the subs I made :)

  73. Alicia says

    Made this in cupcakes for a snack for my dairy/egg allergic son. Halved the sugar and left off the icing. He LOVES them!!!

  74. Amy says

    Finally made this today (a bit slow I know) and. It. Is. AMAZING! Thank you for all the recipes you share on here, I absolutely love your blog :D

  75. Shivi says

    I made the cake, the icing was fine but the actually cake while texture was good had absolutely no flavour or sweetness :/ I followed the recipe exactly. I made it for xmas day, such a let down when my family already think vegan food sucks :(

  76. Johanna Klotz says

    Hi – This recipe looks perfect! I’d like to make it while my Mother in Law is in town, but she doesn’t do soy. Do you think the frosting would still be good if I left out the vegan cream cheese and just used non-soy Earth Balance? Thanks!

  77. Lisa says

    Hi Dana. The pictures of this cake are incredible. I want to eat it now. I don’t have the ingredients for the frosting so I’m wondering if this recipe would be good for muffins? Or maybe I can find another frosting recipe on here with ingredients I have on hand…I just don’t have the vegan cream cheese.


  78. Katie says

    This is my first Christmas being vegan and I’m excited to try all of your amazing holiday recipes. Is there a sub for the apples in the recipe? My fiancé has a severe sensitivity to apples, but he loves ginger!

  79. Amanda says

    Looks great! Is there a substitute I could use for the vegan butter? I only have Earth Balance available to me and it has palm oil in it. Just wondering thanks :)

  80. Ellen Lederman says

    Dana, this is going to be Thanksgiving dessert—but I have a friend who insists that the recipe won’t work because there is no acid like lemon juice or vinegar! (She also says you can’t trust a blog—I’ve tried to tell her your recipes have been nothing short of excellent).

    Seems like lots of people have made this and loved it—-so Judith is wrong, correct?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ellen! Molasses is slightly acidic, so it helps the cake rise. To give it even more rise, add 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar to the almond milk! Good luck!

      • Ellen Lederman says

        Fantastic! We did add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Moist, like hummingbird cake. Liked the frosting as well. Maybe next time we would add raisins (for reasons I can’t explain—maybe just to put our own signature on it, because really it was perfect).

        Thanks for a great Thanksgiving cake….and for all you do, all year round.

  81. Tania says

    Thanks for this recipe – I’ve been looking forward to baking this now that Autumn is here. Should it call for 2 apples or … ?
    Olivehurst, CA

  82. Shan bush says

    This cake and icing are fantastic. I did it as a test bake for Thanksgiving and this cake is so moist and has such good flavor. I’m so glad I found this recipe!

  83. Angie says

    Thanks for sharing. Made this today (with extra ginger in the cake and a tub of Tofutti in the frosting!) and it’s delicious.

  84. Penny says

    I just made the ugliest version of this cake and have too much respect for your consistently excellent recipes to tag it. It tasted wonderful but looked a hot mess. I believe I put too many apples.

  85. Jeff says

    I’m not much of a baker, but this is so great…made it three times in two weeks. Spectacular. Shared with many in person, and on instagram and Facebook, always including your blog. Perhaps an oddball sub…I used pomegranate molasses instead of conventional (which would sit in my pantry for years), to good effect. Also, I always used a bundt pan and was always fine. (It does shrink a bit once out of the oven.) I came on tonight to ask about cupcake adaptation. Any thoughts..? (I see puravida asked above but there’s no answer.) Again..I’m not much of a baker..! Thank you.

  86. Sarah says

    So good! Has anyone tried baking this in two loaf pans? If so how did you adapt the time or how should I adapt it if I try that?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I’d recommend baking it in one loaf pan! Not sure on the baking time, but probably at least double. Let me know how it goes!

  87. Catherine says

    I am from the UK so cook in Celsius. The temperature seemed very low but I went with it. The cake just didn’t cook through the middle. I don’t understand why!
    I worked it out as about 160 degrees C
    Any suggestions??
    I could tell the taste should have been great!

  88. Ann says

    I just recently found your website and love it. I make vegan cakes all the time and I’m looking forward to making this on. Does the flour in the frosting taste like flour? I never thought of using flour to thicken frosting.

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  91. Taylor says

    I made this for a group of omnis last night and they loved it! I love the texture of the grated apple in the cake. I changed up the frosting a bit because I was out of vegan cream cheese: used 1/2 stick earth balance with 3-4 T of cookie butter (!) and added about 2 cups of powdered sugar with a little vanilla and cinnamon too. It was amazing!

  92. Jan Bancarz says

    Made this cake for company a few days ago using GF flour. Turned out fine. My husband loved it – he said he loved the fact that the cake is not sweet but the icing is – a good balance. I am not a “sweetie” so I found the icing too sweet for my liking. There were no leftovers the next day – a good sign!

  93. Christa says

    Made this tonight for my hubby’s birthday. So darn good. Made a Cookie butter frosting to top it off. This was my first time making a cake from scratch. It was amazingly easy. Thanks

  94. Kate says

    Made this for Christmas, everybody loved it! I ended up using 2 square pans because it turns out I only have one circle pan haha. In the end, everything was fine!

  95. Amanda says

    I made this today to bring to Christmas dinner and my family (vegans and omnivores) loved it! I’m definitely making it an annual tradition.

  96. Michelle Barrett says

    I made this cake for my family holiday dessert. It was delicious! Everyone loved it. I did ad lib a bit in making it as I don’t own a sifter and did my usual mixing of dry ingrediants in a bowl with a wink. I also added pumpkin pie spice rather than cinnimon and added it to the frosting as well.. Also put the shredded apple in a glass measuring cup and pressed juice into a cup rather than a towel.. I just had a piece for breakfast and it was so yummy with my coffee. Will definitely be using this recipi again soon.

  97. Dori says

    I made this as my bday cake and it is delicious. Made it last night, refrigerated it, and served it as breakfast – we have a family tradition of eating bday cake for breakfast rather than desert at night so we don’t have to wait as long to celebrate! I highly recommend this recipe and would definitely make it again. It’s worth noting, I love all your recipes I’ve made thus far – maybe 5 or so – they never disappoint. Well done, Dana!

  98. Roberta Wiebe says

    Hi, I subbed GF flour for the WW, and the icing I made sugar free with; one & 1/2 cups of light cream cheese, 1/4 c butter, 1/4 c maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla, & 1/2 tsp of maple flavoring, it was delicious & the icing wasn’t too sweet.

  99. Rachel says

    Hi Dana,
    I love Minimalist Baker and all your blog really inspires me! Recently, I started my own blog too. I’m creating a list of holiday recipes to share and I was wondering if it was okay to feature this one by using one of your pictures and linking it to this original post. Of course, I will provide all the proper credits. Please let me know, thanks!

  100. Zoe says

    Recipe looks divine!I live in South Africa and we really don’t flax eggs and other fancy products.what could I substitute It with?

  101. Tanya B says

    I am going to be honest and say that 99% of the time I have no desire to go Vegan or Vegetarian or Gluten Free, but when I see your recipes, I think I might actually not mind it. Your recipes always look delicious, and the things I have made always turn at well. Just wanted to say, keep up the good work, and maybe you will convert this dedicated omnivore one day. :)

  102. Jeri says

    Hubs says this cake is heavenly. I did add cloves and more ginger as I love those spices. I also used fresh lemon juice instead of vanilla in frosting. I toasted the pecans. It is a delicious, hearty, yet moist cake that we will enjoy again!

  103. Robin says

    Do you have any sugar free recipes. I am diabetic. I know I can use Stevia in the Raw for the cane sugar but what can I substitute for the brown sugar and molasses.

  104. Ruth says

    This cake is fantastic. I adapted to make it gluten free by using my favourite GF flour and adding xantham gum. The results were wonderful! Posting a pic on Instagram.

    • Susan says

      Thanks Ruth! I was really hoping someone had tried this with gf flour. This looks so delicious—it will be on our table this week!

  105. Renee H. says

    Oh my, yum! I bet you could swap the grated apple for grated carrots for a bomb-diggity carrot cake! I will take one of each, please.


  106. Kristin of YesNomads.com says

    This cake looks amazing. I will definitely be trying this out during the X-Mas family gathering.
    Thanks for sharing.

  107. Emilie@TheCleverCarrot says

    Um yes… of course it would taste amazing! You made it. Plus, you are the 1-bowl queen! Win, win all around. xx

  108. Jenna Krabacher says

    This recipe is amazing! I made it Friday night and it was gone Saturday. So I made it again Sunday and it will be gone by Tuesday. Super easy recipe and amazingly YUMMY!!

  109. Lindsay says

    I made this yesterday. It turned out great! I subbed coconut milk (from the carton) for the almond milk, and I made a butter cream frosting instead. I also only needed to bake for 25 minutes, and a toothpick came out clean. I love the healthier ingredients! It did take quite a bit longer to make, because of the apples, but it was worth it!

  110. Easy, Healthy and Yummy says

    let me tell you: I looove your 1bowl recipes! This is exactly my point of view. I hate too difficult prepartaion and this is great!

    Thanks for sharing. Also – your pictures are amazing (like always). I bough your course few months ago and I hope that mine pics are improved as well :)

  111. Fi at this and that blog says

    This cake looks amazing and I can’t believe it uses so little effort, utensils and ingredients! I’m definitely going to give this a go! Thanks for sharing. Fi xx

  112. Thalia @ butter and brioche says

    This cake looks SO delicious. Definitely craving a thick slice of it devour right now… a recipe i need to make too, I can never go past a great one bowl wonder!

  113. Alice says

    If I read correctly, the frosting has raw flour in it. From what I know, raw flour is one of the reasons that you should not eat raw cookie dough (raw eggs are the potentially another reason).

    So, maybe a nut flour or similar product should be substituted. Otherwise, looks very moist and tasty!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for sharing! I think a nut flour would work OK in this recipe. However, over that I would recommend just using more powdered sugar.

    • Nancy says

      Yes, I was scrolling along nc here to see if anyone had already asl d about gluten free! Bob’s Red Mill does make some different gluten free flours.

  114. Sandy says

    My house has what is like to call a MBA(Minimalist baker addiction). My freezer is always full of your WW waffles and pancakes. You own the recipe for our absolute favorite one bowl chocolate cake. I’m positive this will be a well loved recipe of yours as well! Xoxo Washington

  115. Robyn @realfoodwholelife says

    I love Bob’s Red Mill everything. Do you know you can visit their headquarters and eat their specialty pancakes? Worth the trip to Oregon City. The frosting looks amazing, btw. Might just make that and eat it with a spoon. :)

  116. Ayesha says

    Hey Dana,

    I’ve noticed that your desserts tend to use vegan butter (earth balance) in them, do you know any other alternatives other than earth balance that I could use in this recipe for the cream cheese frosting?


  117. Caren says

    This sounds so amazing! My husband has a slight allergy to flax seed so I try to avoid it for him. Any suggestions for baking without flax? Maybe a chia egg?

  118. Chelsea says

    Hi Dana,
    I am a superfan of your blog, and I love making your recipes! Do you think this cake would work as a bundt? I can totally see this on my christmas dessert menu but want a bundt for the centerpiece. Do you think it will stick to the bundt and make me crazy, or should I go for it?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Chelsea! Great question (and thanks for the love). Hmm, I say go for it! I had no problems with sticking in my cake pans, so it should be find as long as it’s buttered and floured as I mention in the instructions. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

      • Jeff says

        I’ve only made it in a non stick plus greased and floured bundt pan with never a problem. I’ve also subbed pomegranate molasses for the molasses in your recipe w no problem ..!

  119. Ala says

    I’ve been looking at gingerbread cakes everywhere these days–this one sounds so simple and lovely though! I’m just about to dig into my Bob’s Red Mill stash as well, so I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  120. CakePants says

    This looks absolutely marvelous! I love the idea of adding grated apple to gingerbread – this cake looks deliciously moist. And I never even noticed that Trader Joe’s had vegan cream cheese…I’ll have to keep an eye out for it, because I know my family would adore this cake!

  121. Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen says

    This cake was soooo good! Thanks for bringing it to Ali’s house, it was an honor to eat your food!

  122. Stacy | Keeping Willow says

    I love baking but sometimes it’s just so much work. This looks simple and delectable. I think this will be a great cake for my daughter’s birthday.

  123. chen says

    Would it be ok to sub applesauce for the oil? And is blackstrap molasses too intense for this? Thank you in advance! I’d like to make this for Christmas.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I don’t think it would be too intense, but feel free to scale back if you’re worried. You can sub applesauce for up to half of the oil, but it will affect the texture. Good luck!

  124. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says

    One bowl for this beauty?! YES please!! And so many good for you ingredients packed into this cake as well. Love it!