gluten-free cinnamon apple cake recipe

Cinnamon Apple Cake

The recipe for this gluten-free Cinnamon Apple Cake comes from one of my favorite bloggers, AndreAnna “The Primal Matriarch” and her food blog, Life as a Plate.  I adapted my version of her recipe, Apple Spice Bread, eliminating the step of pre-cooking the apples, adding a ton of cinnamon, and making a couple other changes as well.

I think that you’ll be delighted whether you go for her original recipe or my interpretation of it below.  By the way, this is not a sweet cake, though it has a super cinnamon-y flavor, which my boys and I love.  And just a quick note, cinnamon is now considered a super-spice.  It just might regulate blood sugar and is touted in Ayurveda as fixing all kinds of ailments –cinnamon is now my go to spice and I sometimes add a tablespoon of it to my morning protein shake.

Cinnamon Apple Cake
  1. In a food processor combine apple, oj and almond butter and pulse until well blended
  2. Pulse in agave, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon (yes 2 tablespoons) and salt
  3. Pour batter into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish
  4. Bake at 350° for 32 to 36 minutes
  5. Cool and serve with Whipped Cream Frosting

You might also like these other apple dessert recipes:

Fresh Apple Cake from Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
Apple Cake from Tamara Davis via GOOP
Easy “Crustless” Apple Pie from Shirley of Gluten Free Easily

We are back in our house after a mandatory evacuation due to another Boulder fire, this one called the Dome Fire.  We were under an optional evacuation during the Four Mile Fire back in September, so this was the second time that we packed up the house in 2 months.  We’ve been busy over here!

This fire was frighteningly close to our house.  We could see it coming over the ridge at the end of our block, less than 1/4 mile away.  We are very grateful to our fabulous fire fighters for saving our neighborhood and thankful that we are ensconced back in our comfy home, all safe and sound.  We were relieved to stay in touch with friends and family via Facebook and Twitter during this surreal episode and want to thank all of you for the well wishes that you communicated to us via these social networks during this trying time.  Thank you.


  1. Beverly Milley says

    So sorry about the fires thankful your home has no damage and your family is safe. Follow you each day and I love your books. I eat gluten free have celiac. So you have been a blessing to me. Thank you

  2. Loretta says

    Tried this today. Had all the ingredients as listed. It smelled great when cooking but rose very little and is quite dense. Will try some apple sauce and baking soda next time

  3. barb says

    I am allergic to almonds – can I use something else besides almond butter? I may tolerate cashew butter or peanut butter??

    • Maureen says

      Sadly, peanut butter did not work well for us. The cinnamon flavor was not a good fit with peanut, and the cake ended up being super dense – I imagine that almond fluffs up better.

  4. demi says

    can sb tell me if i can use the hand mixer if it will work?or i could mix them by hand…maybe the apple needs the mixer to blend without pieces?

  5. Arlee says

    I made this today and it was amazing! You can’t tell that it has no flour! Thanks Elana!!! All the recipes that I have make from your blog turn out perfect and are super simple =)

  6. Alexis says

    We made this tonight and I thought I’d let everyone know how it turned out because we made some alterations others were asking about. We used 1/2 cup of unsweetened natural applesauce (Motts) in place of an apple and raw honey i place of agave. We used regular table salt decreased to 1/4 t, and we also added 1/4 t baking soda and a dash of nutmeg. It came out AMAZINGLY!! Very cake-like. I don’t think it needs a topping. Great recipe.

  7. Shari says

    I substituted zucchini for the apple and baked this last night. I also Torani sugar-free orange syrup for the OJ and substituted stevia green powder (1 1/2 tsp) for the agave syrup and added an extra egg. I REALLY processed it and it was very “liquidy” and frothy (from the eggs) then I folded in the almond butter. I was worried that I had messed up and it was going to be ruined because it was so liquid, but it came out fantastic. With no leavening, but all that frothiness from the eggs, it worked out fine. It has a brownie-like consistency. Thanks, Elana, for the inspiration!

  8. says

    oh wow this sounds so yummy and just what I’d love as an afternoon treat unfortunately that’s be a in a few hours and whilst I’m at work, so that won’t happen however, I’m definitely trying this on the weekend sometime!

  9. Britt says

    So I tried this cake and it is delicious. I have also tried your apple muffins from your cookbook. Again, delicious.

    However, I’m looking for something closer to Smitten Kitchen’s chunky apple cake, which is almost identical to the recipe my dad used to make.

    I tried using your coffee cake recipe from your book without the currants and large chunks of apples, but it was incredibly soggy. Do you have any ideas about how to incorporate larger chunks of fruit into an almond-flour based cake without making it too soggy? I don’t know where you would take out liquid from any of the recipes…

  10. Rachel says

    Elana, I can’t help but wonder if you might have left out an ingredient like 1 tsp baking soda. That might explain the denseness that some of us are experiencing.

    • says


      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it is a very dense cake; I liked it that way. However, I do see that you and a couple of others have found the density to be too much.

      If you try to make this cake with baking soda, please let us know how it goes :-)

      Thanks again,

      • Rachel says

        Woops, I meant to reply to this comment when I commented with my Flickr picture

        I used 1/4 tsp baking soda, and as you can see it turned out great! My brother was like “Did you used almond flour again!??”
        “What? I thought you couldn’t eat wheat.”
        “I know. I didn’t use any flour at all.”
        “…okay I’m confused.”

      • joanna says

        Elana, congrats to you on another successful cake. I made it last night and it was “delish”!! However, I did add the applesauce and baking soda, which made it “cake-like”. Also, added raw honey. Couldn’t believe this is made without any flour. I loved it, not being too sweet. Thanks again for your magic.

  11. Jenny says

    I just made this recipe w/ home made organic apple sauce (our tree was very productive last year). I added orange zest from the orange before squeezing it. The batter was a bit runny so I added coconut flour to thicken it up and put it in muffin tins. The family loves them! Thanks again for your great ideas!

  12. Krystal says

    I came across this recipe earlier today, and I knew as soon as I saw the picture and read the ingredients that I just had to make it!

    I’m working on reducing/eliminating flour for my family, and this cake looked delicious at first sight! I only made two changes out of necessity: I used Simply Orange Juice since I didn’t have a fresh orange on hand, and I used 1/4 cup sugar since I didn’t have agave nectar on hand.

    This recipe is so simple and so delicious. My 3-year-old can’t stop eating, and I had to force myself to stop! Very good, indeed!!! =)

  13. jusap says

    Fabulous. I was reading out possible recipes to try out to my boyfriend and he jumped on this one. I was a little disappointed because I thought it looked dry and a little boring – i was in the mood for your german chocolate cake! But I dutifully made it and YUM!!! I am a convert. SOOO easy to make and really satisfying. I didn’t have oranges and so just used plain water, and I sub’ed runny honey for the agave. I was skeptical about the large amount of cinnamon but it was perfect. My house smelled great too. I served a dollop of plain greek style yogurt on top of mine and boyfriend got honey-egg white frosting. He loved it too – and he eats gluten and sugar and everything. You rock.

  14. says

    Thank you, Elana!
    My belly is a little nutty and I’m still learning what I can and cannot eat. I am SO thankful to have found your website! I asked for your cookbook for my birthday and my hubby GOT it! :) Love it. I just made these bars and they are in the oven. My friend is coming over, her 2 little girls have celiac, so cannot wait to send some home with her.

    I love yoga! I am actually a yoga teacher and lover of life and all things simple, like you. I am 39 and live in Indiana with my hubby and daughter. We made your cashew milk ice cream for my birthday this week, too. It’s so yummy. I made it with honey and forgot the salt(woops!) but it was heavenly. For someone who is dairy free (except for goat cheese :)) it was a treat. Thank you, again. You seem like such a PEACH!

    I hope you are doing wonderful today and enjoy this sweet, chilly, pre-Thanksgiving weekend. I am very thankful for YOU! :)


  15. Tamra says

    Can’t wait to make this. Your cookbook is my goto birthday/thank you/wedding/whatever gift since I discovered it. I love the simplicity of it. And the results from the recipes!

  16. debra says

    Hmmm… I don’t know what it is but every time I bake anything with almond butter I just can’t taste anything BUT the almond butter. As much as I love almond milk I’m not a big fan of almond butter. I could barely taste the cinnamon and definitely could not taste the apple in this. My house smelled like almond butter and the cake tasted like it too. I think I’ll stick to non almond butter recipes. But technically it did come out perfect and I still ate it – the whipped cream helped me overcome the strong almond butter flavor. I do like peanut butter so maybe next time I’ll try that instead and see if it works.

    • says

      Hey, I noticed when cooking with almond butter that it’s best to use the “raw” unsweetened kind. That way the butter picks up the flavors youre cooking with rather than it being overpowering.

      Not sure if you already are using that kind but if you’re not, it might be worth a shot if you’re willing to try again.

      • debra says

        Unfortunately I already was using the raw kind. I think I’m just really sensitive to the flavor as my roommate said it tasted and smelled cinnamon-y. :) Thank you for the suggestion though!

  17. says

    Elana, Just put the apple cake in the oven! Now I’m waiting for the cinnamon to scent the house. Just pre-ordered the cupcake book. Like all your fans my husband and family really enjoy and appreciate your recipes. Looking forward to the first bite:)

    • says

      Well, just had a piece. Made some cinnamon whipped cream to go w it. My cake came out dry and somewhat heavy/dense. Wonder if I overmixed the batter? The only change I made was subbing maple syrup for the agave. Was out of agave. We still ate it and will toast the remainder for breakfast but I will have to make it lighter and moister if I am to serve it on Thanksgiving.

      • says

        I made this last Thursday and mine also came out kind of dry and dense. I actually liked the dense-ness of it, but the dryness made it difficult to eat. I subbed honey for the agave. Agave seems runnier than honey, so maybe it’s “moister”? I don’t usually have a problem making that substitution, but maybe this recipe is more finicky than others I’ve made?

        I can’t have dairy, so didn’t have whipped cream with it. But I discovered that it was GREAT with a spoonful of plain, unsweetened applesauce on top. Yum!

        That got me thinking… could I just use applesauce instead of an apple? And I wonder if the moisture content also had to do with what type of apple I used — don’t some give up more juice than others? I’m not much of an expert on them.

        Anyway, I will definitely try this one again, but with applesauce instead of an apple, once I figure out how much applesauce equals an average apple. :-)


  18. says

    i love baking with almond butter! with Trader Joe’s around here, it’s so affordable and easy! and this stayed up on my computer screen from when i received it until just now. i think the whipped cream was calling my name….

    thanks for the delicious dessert treat that satisfies our apple cinnamon cravings for this chilly but delicious season….

    so looking forward to the eggnog recipe that is coming up in the holidays- saw some at the store the other day and will be looking it up soon… coco-nog i’m sure!

    blessings and peace-

  19. says

    That is so indulging! I love the icing on the top. It seems to looks like perfect. I do icing too but it is more in a wet look and it is easy to melt. I think I should practice more my frostings.

  20. Kindle Spiegel says

    Elana…thank you so much for all of your time and effort that you so graciously offer to all. Your recipes have really been a blessing to me since I have trouble with grains, dairy, and sugar. It has been so nice trying so many of your recipes, many of which my family likes also, and feeling “normal” again. The links you provide have also been so helpful and it is great to find sites where ingredients are much cheaper (and available) than what I find at the stores. Thank you so very, very much! Your caring has blessed so many!

  21. Fiona Elliott says

    Hi Elana,

    Just baked this cake this evening and I was very impressed, it was whipped up in a flash. It def needed the cream, i used a dollop organic sour cream..very yum. Will def make again…love that its grainfree and high in protein…great for nutritional type.

    Cheers Fee

  22. says

    I just made this with pumpkin instead of apple, no orange juice (didn’t have any)(substituted milk), sunflower butter instead of almond, and added some coconut cream. Great!! A nice treat, just the right sweetness. Thanks, Elana and AndreAnna, for sharing this recipe!

  23. Melissa B. says


    My fiance’s birthday was on Friday, and I offered to make him anything he wanted for dinner. Every single thing he requested was one of your recipes! Here is the menu he chose: mustard lime chicken, roasted broccoli, jelly-donut cupcakes with your peanut butter icing! Of course, I love all of your recipes because I don’t eat gluten, dairy, sugar, or soy, but he can eat anything he wants (and does) and loves all of your creations that I make.

    Thank you so much for providing us with such delicious, nourishing, and simple recipes- you are a true inspiration and cooking genius!

  24. says

    So glad you are home and safe again, Elana. After your recent post about needing stress reduction I was wondering where you have been the last few days. (Afraid I haven’t been keeping up with Twitter.) I have family in that area so I know how scary the fires are!

    I love your pumpkin bars, so I can’t wait to try these apple bars, especially since they aren’t very sweet. And thanks for letting me know about AndreAnna…

    Thanks again!

  25. Laura C says

    Thank you Elana!!!

    We only just discovered your book and I am working my way through each and every recipe! We used a 5 lb bag of almond flour in just one week! We were already gluten free but needed to go on a much healthier purely organic, low sugar diet due to serious health issues. Your book has given me a solution to successfully replace the kids existing high-sugar GF items (we do use alternatives for the Agave). Taking away without having a replacement would have made this impossible! You are a life saver – and in this case I mean it literally.

    Having fun cooking!

  26. says

    Wow, that just looks irresistibly delicious! I love how nutrient dense it is too – would make a great, quick breakfast paired with a green smoothie! Can’t wait to try it. :)

  27. says

    Love it, Elana! The primal book and blog I must check out. Absolutely my kind of recipe … as soon as I get some almond butter I’ll make this. Or I might make some more pecan butter (a recipe from my friend, Desi, at The Palate Peacemaker) and use that, so I don’t have to wait as long. Sadly, my basic grocery store does not have almond butter or even raw almonds. Anyway, I’m so glad you are back home safe and sound … so scary, but yes many blessings there and gratitude to those firefighters! Last, thanks so much for the link love … you know how I love crustless and flourless!


    • Cathy says

      I subbed apple/pear sauce last night (it’s what I had open in the fridge) and the cake turned out lovely! Be brave.

  28. Ali says

    Wow! I follow your blog posts almost religiously and missed that your family was so close to those fires. Praise God that you are all safe and sound at home. Your recent post on searching for pumpkin bread made me yearn for pumpkin treats too. Yesterday I made some amazing Pumpkin Raisin Chocolate Chip cookies inspired by your chocolate chip cookies and a recipe for pumpkin cookies that I saw on another blog. They were grain free, egg free and almost dairy free (I use nestle chocolate chips). They were amazing and I had planned to hand them out to trick-or-treaters, but we didn’t get any. Anyway… I felt I should share the joy of my success at creating my first successful cookie recipe with you because without you it probably never would have happened. I hope your fall goes fire-free from here on out. ~Ali

  29. says

    AH! I was just thinking about something like this today. I love apples and cinnamon. I would make this with butter. What a great combination!!

  30. says

    Wow, thanks so much for using my recipe! I’m so glad you liked it!

    -AndreAnna “The Primal Matriarch”

    P.S. My website has moved to and all the old posts were imported over, just FYI. I also now have an interactive grain-free/gluten-free recipe database, too! Thanks!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will need to be approved before it will appear on the site. For substitutions, the only way to know is to try!