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

Apple Cake via #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 #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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    • Deliciously Organic

      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.

      • sharon powell

        Hi Lisa and Carrie,
        I made this cake yesterday and it is pretty amazing, especially if you like honey. It was a little too sweet for me, but the texture was great. I think the next time I make it I’ll use maple syrup instead of honey (I’m not a big fan of honey) and leave off the syrup. It’s a great base cake that I think I’ll be able to create other cakes from. Thanks so much for all your hard work and experimentation!!!
        Sharon Powell

  1. karen

    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

        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. :)

  2. 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!

  3. Karen

    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!

  4. Michelle

    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 ;).

  5. Andrea

    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

      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!

  6. Lisa Cochran

    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!

  7. 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~

  8. Shari

    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?

  9. Emma Rose St. Clair

    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

      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!

  10. Emma Rose St. Clair

    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

      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.

  11. Sally

    I made this for my 24 year olds’ birthday cake/dessert – it was brilliant – thank you so much. I reduced the honey in the batter to 1/2 cup and had to use Royal Gala apples….. some of the sauce stayed on the ‘top’ of the cake and didn’t soak it – but it made for a deliciously sticky bottom of each slice. Served with greek yogurt :)


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