Apple Cake (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Gaps)

by Deliciously Organic on October 18, 2012

Apple Cake via DeliciouslyOrganic.net #paleo #grainfree

What a whirlwind week! I spent the last six days in North Carolina working for Lisa on her upcoming cookbook (due to be released by Harper Collins, January 2014). Lisa hired me to shoot the food photography (pinch me!) and Kelly – a long-time friend - is shooting the lifestyle shots. My girls traveled with me and had a blast playing with Lisa’s daughters while we worked like mad for a week.

Here are a few behind-the-scenes Instagram pics:

We spent a few evenings in the backyard by the fire, Vani stopped by a couple times to check in, and we even found a bit of time for some zip-lining. I’m thrilled to contribute to Lisa’s book and will update you on the progress as time gets closer.

 Apple Cake via DeliciouslyOrganic.net #paleo #grainfree

I posted a whole wheat recipe for this apple cake a couple of years ago and now I’ve adapted it so it doesn’t include grains. Almond flour, coconut flour, apples, coconut, butter, and spices all come together for one dynamite cake. The cake is extremely rich, and should serve at least sixteen.

Apple Cake (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Gaps)

Serving Size: Serves 16-20

Apple Cake (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Gaps)

Keep in mind - you need to pour the sauce over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
 This is a very rich and moist cake and best served warm. For a less rich cake, omit the sauce poured on top. Adapted from Paula Deen


    For the batter:

  • 3/4 cup honey (I used clover)

  • 3 large eggs

  • 10 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 cups almond flour (I purchase mine from Honeyville)

  • 6 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (I used Bernard Jensen
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated fuji apples, placed on a clean dish cloth and patted dry (I left the skins on)

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • For the sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat the oven to 325°F and adjust rack to middle position. Stir together honey, eggs, oil, coconut milk, almond flour, coconut flour, gelatin, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl. Fold in apples, coconut and pecans (if using).

Pour the batter into a buttered bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour until cake tester comes out clean and cake is a deep golden brown.

Place butter, honey, coconut milk, lemon juice and baking soda in a medium pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour butter mixture over hot cake (you might need to do this in 2 stages, as it can take a few minutes for the sauce to soak into the cake). Let the cake stand for 1 hour and then invert it onto a cake stand. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The cake freezes very well. To freeze, place in an airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill October 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Carrie, where in NC were you? I’m in Greenville SC and we were just in Asheville last weekend for our anniversary. Would love to meet you and share ideas sometime!


Deliciously Organic October 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

I was in Charlotte. It was a lovely place! It would be great to meet you someday!


Jill October 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

I’m only an hour away, in Greenville SC. You’d love it here, too. There are a number of great local farms that focus on growing organic, and a wonderful dairy (Happy Cow). We really are fortunate to be so close to so many healthy food choices. I’m going to pick up some grass fed beef tomorrow that I get from a local small beef producer.


Deliciously Organic October 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Sounds lovely! I do hope the Air Force will move us away from the desert soon. I miss trees. :)


Winnie October 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

All so exciting! Ps love the looks of this cake :)


Ozlem October 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Looks so delicious! Any substitute for gelatin?


Deliciously Organic October 19, 2012 at 8:19 am

You can omit the gelatin if needed. I’ve never tested it with guar gum or xanthan gum, so I’m not sure what the end result would be. Gelatin, from a good source such as Bernard Jensens provides benefit for the cartilage, bones, skin, digestive tract, immune system, heart and muscles. Of course, gelatin from bone stock is the best form of gelatin to consume, but Bernard Jensens offers a nice alternative and it helps give gluten free cakes and breads extra stability.


Ozlem October 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm

do you think guar gum or xanthan gum works?


Terry Snetting October 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm

This sound delicious, but I can’t have dairy. Do you know of a substitute that could be used in place of the butter?


Deliciously Organic October 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

Coconut oil might be a good substitution, or also ghee.


Joannie October 19, 2012 at 5:10 am

Love apples and love cake. This looks like a winner!


Amanda October 19, 2012 at 6:43 am

Great post Carrie! The cake is beautiful and I love the behind the scenes shots! :)


Deliciously Organic October 19, 2012 at 8:12 am

Thanks, Amanda!


karen October 19, 2012 at 8:59 am

I love you, in a foodie sort of way :o) This cake looks so amazing! I still have some of those little Julian organic empire apples I picked a couple weeks ago. I was wondering how long it would take me to peel enough of these mini apples to make a cake, but you just made my world rock, cut em’ throw em’ in the food processor, no peeling, YEA! I’m going to make this today! Thank you so much.

I can’t wait for the cookbook to come out, please keep us posted.



karen October 19, 2012 at 9:02 am

Quick question, can I use the TJ’s almond meal? maybe I should process it for a bit to make it finer and then sift it? what would you recommend? :)


Deliciously Organic October 19, 2012 at 10:37 am

TJ’s almond meal would work great for this recipe. I think sifting it is a great idea. Enjoy! :)


Karen October 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I ended up using Bob’s, I didn’t have enough of the TJ’s so I thought I would see if Whole foods had Honeyville, they did not, only Bob’s. Next time I will use TJ’s it’s half the price of Bob’s, unfortunately the two stores are at opposite ends of the community and gas is $4.50 a gallon so, I bit the bullet. :)


Rachael {SimplyFreshCooking} October 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

Great recipe! Dang, I really need to get a bundt pan… how do I not have one yet??!!


shoprubyjean October 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Oh this sounds so very GOOD!! Love all the pictures. What a Blessing it is to be able to have your girls travel with you, they will have memories that will last a life time. :) Thank you also for the link to the Almond Flour, I have been looking for a better brand.
Have a great up coming weekend!


Julie October 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

YUM!!!! YUM!!!! YUM!!! I am hoping to make this very soon!! I can’t eat almonds, can I use all coconut flour or flax meal? Thanks for the inspiring, yummy recipes that are grain free!!


Deliciously Organic October 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

I don’t have a good substitution for the almond flour in this recipe. I don’t use flax meal in my baking because the flax oil is very sensitive to heat and will oxidize in the oven. Coconut flour is very tricky and I’d need to test it before giving any recommendations. If you can’t use almond flour, you should check out my almond cake! It’s perfect as a b-day cake, snack cake, etc. http://deliciouslyorganic.net/grain-free-gluten-free-coconut-cake-recipe-lemon-curd-strawberries-cream/


Karen October 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

OH MY GOODNESS! I just had my first slice, it is so moist and you can’t even tell there are NO grains it it. You amaze me. I made one slight modification, I’m not a real fan of shredded coconut, but I didn’t want to leave it out. Then I remembered my grandma used to make these cookies with almost powder-like coconut so I spun the cup of shredded coconut in my coffee mill till it was like coffee grounds :o). It worked perfectly! Not a hint of coconut overpowering the cake, just enough, it’s perfect!

My husband just said, “I love a moist cake! Awesome.” It’s truly an amazing Apple Cake. Thank you!


Nicole October 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm

This looks sooooo amazing!!!! Looks like I’m going to need to invest in a bundt pan too!
Any idea how long this would keep in the fridge?
Thanks :)


Deliciously Organic October 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

It will keep in the fridge for 3 days.


Lumi October 20, 2012 at 10:39 am


Since I switched our diet to mostly whole foods, I love when I find this kind of recipes.
Thank you so much for sharing!
I definitely will try it ASAP.

Thank you and very delicious recipes.


Food Babe October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Hi Carrie – ooooohhhh I love these pictures! Thanks so much for sharing and I can’t wait to try this cake. I think I will have it with some ice cream, please?!


Brittany October 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Ann I lover her site! I thought she looked familiar. How great the two of you combined together. Dynamic duo! Can’t wait to get the book


Deliciously Organic October 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thank you! She has such an informative and helpful site. It’s going to be a fun project!


the urban baker October 22, 2012 at 10:05 am

Sounds like a fun week. And this cakes looks delish. I have to bake a cake for our big halloween carnival this coming weekend at school. Going to give this one a try!


Deliciously Organic October 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thanks, Susan!


aida mollenkamp October 22, 2012 at 11:33 am

What a fabulous trip — you got in great work and some fun playtime too!


marla October 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Go you shooting a cookbook!! How exciting. Love the looks of this grain free cake!


Deliciously Organic October 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Crazy, right!? We’ve come a long way from iPhone pics, huh? :)


Lucy Lean October 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

No need to pinch yourself or be surprised your photos are always glorious and inspiring – as is this cake…


Maria October 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

Such a pretty cake!


Nancy October 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm

This looks delicious and might just have to be on my Thanksgiving menu! I hope you enjoyed my home state of NC. It’s a great state! You were a long way from home!


Deliciously Organic October 24, 2012 at 8:19 am

Thank you! Yes, I throughly enjoyed it! What a beautiful state!


Michelle October 27, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Does it need to be refrigerated? Awesome, awesome blog! Although I’m wondering how I’m going to afford to keep reading it (although wondering the same about you as I am also the wife of an AF pilot ;).


Deliciously Organic October 29, 2012 at 7:47 am

If you’re not going to serve all of the cake within 48 hours, I’d store it in the fridge, or freeze the rest.


Andrea October 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Carrie, I made the cake this weekend following your recipie and directions. I had problems with it. First, after sitting for more than an hour (after the sauce was poured on) I flipped it and it fell apart. Plus, it was very rich/heavy. I don’t have a good word for it. Did you really use 1 1/2 cups of coconut oil on it plus the butter in the sauce? My cake was more than moist but not yet greasy. Did I do something wrong? I also was not sure if the grated apple amounts should be packed or fluffy in the measureing. My grated apple was very juicy and I poured off a fair amount of juice but not all of it. By the way, the cake is awsome with honey cinnamon ice cream. Thanks for any tips you could offer!


Deliciously Organic October 31, 2012 at 8:14 am

I’m sorry to hear that it fell apart. First of all, did you make any substitutions to the recipe? If not, I’m thinking the apples may have been too juicy since you said you had to pour “a fair amount of juice” out. Also, if the cake fell apart, it might not have been baked long enough. Ovens can be quite temperamental. :) I’m glad you all enjoyed it though! Pairing it with honey cinnamon ice cream sounds perfect!


Lisa Cochran November 22, 2012 at 8:44 am

What type of bundt pan do you use? We got rid of all of our previous cook/bakeware when we got away from aluminum and nonstick and went with stainless/corningware, etc. I haven’t seen bundt alternatives.
Thank you!


cynthia November 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

what can I use instead of almond flour in your recipes as I’m allergic to almonds, but not other nuts?


Deliciously Organic November 27, 2012 at 8:12 am

I currently don’t have a firm 1:1 substitution for the almond flour in the recipes. If you can tolerate grains, you might find some of my gluten free recipes (that contain grains) helpful: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/category/index-categories/gluten-free/


Tracy December 2, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Any idea if egg replacer works in this cake? Looks great!!!


serenity January 12, 2013 at 6:52 am

Okay people! THIS looks great. Making-over all my baking recipes, in hopes of getting them to lean in a more paleo direction. Was able to do it with carrot cake, and now have some Fujis that I was thinking could do the trick for an apple cake. Love love love your site. Fab photos and super classy. Best to you~


Deliciously Organic January 12, 2013 at 10:23 am

Thank you for the kind words! I hope you enjoy the cake!


Charla January 19, 2013 at 8:44 am

I just realized I left my bunt pan at the cottage! Do you think I could make this in a 9×13 pan and just poor the stuff over the top?


Deliciously Organic January 19, 2013 at 9:50 am

I haven’t tried it, but I think it should work. You probably need to cut down on the baking time a bit since a 9×13 isn’t quite as deep as a bundt pan.


shari February 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I just took my cake out of the oven and put the sauce on.
Of course I won’t know till later, but, what is the reason for the sauce? I fear it is going to be mushy.


Deliciously Organic February 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

It adds a nice moistness and lots of flavor. I hope you enjoy it!


Shari February 2, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I absolutely loved the flavor of the cake, pre cooking. After putting the sauce on – it was way too wet – still held it shape though – so I put it into the fridge to allow the fats to solidfy. Which it did. No longer wet – but I found the flavor of butter to be very overpowering. I have every intention of making this again but omitting the butter sauce. Have you done this?


Deliciously Organic February 4, 2013 at 8:08 am

I haven’t done that, but I think it would make for nice/less rich cake!


Emma Rose St. Clair February 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I am very excited about your web site…the cake tastes good, but fell apart. Sometimes this happens to these GAPS diet recipes. If using as a birthday cake put in the fridge first. I find adding twice to three times as many eggs and a banana or two seems to help. I really appreciate your work and willingness to put together a place to get recipes. THANK YOU!


Deliciously Organic February 19, 2013 at 8:34 am

Do you mind telling me what brand of almond flour you used? I’ve recently discovered that Bob’s Red Mill almond flour creates a very crumbly cake/cookie, so I’m curious if this was the brand you used. Thanks!


Emma Rose St. Clair February 19, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Hello, no sorry it was not…I used the Trader Joes brand. In spite of the cake fracturing it was absolutely wonderful and a big hit. I will try again and maybe use a different brand!
Thank you for your reply.


Deliciously Organic February 20, 2013 at 6:00 am

Thanks for letting me know! The almond meal was probably the culprit. I tested this with almond flour which has the skins removed. I’m glad you enjoyed it! :)


Melissa March 6, 2013 at 8:19 am

The cake looks amazing. Is knox gelatin okay, or does it have impurities? Or, could tapioca be used to gel things together?



Deliciously Organic March 6, 2013 at 9:32 am

White, Knox will work well in this recipe, Knox gelatin doesn’t explicitly state where their gelatin comes from, so it’s hard to know if it’s coming from a good source. I prefer to use Bernard Jensen or Great Lakes. I don’t recommend tapioca flour as a binder for this recipe.


Mia January 8, 2014 at 8:11 am

Hiya I was looking for an apple cake recipe and this looks perfect. I was wondering is it possible to freeze some of the cake for later?


Deliciously Organic January 8, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Yes, this cake freezes very well!


Marlene @Nosh My Way June 6, 2014 at 7:26 am

How lucky is that? I am sure you had a blast as all the photos indicate. I am SOOOOO making this cake soon.


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