Moist & Delicious Apple Cake

This moist French Apple Cake recipe has become one of our favorite fall desserts. It’s easy to make, delicious, and it holds together beautifully. Plus? Don’t tell anyone, but it’s gluten free!

Be sure to try making a fresh apple pie while apples are in season, too!

french apple cake in a pie pan

French Apple Cake Recipe

This easy recipe makes a tender and moist cake that slices nicely and tastes divine. So divine that we’ve made it several times in the last month to enjoy apple season! 

Besides dessert (the obvious answer!), it would be a great make-ahead addition to a brunch menu or tea time.

SLICE OF French apple cake on a white plate

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Flours — You’ll use both rice flour and almond flour for this recipe. I used a white superfine rice flour; you could also use brown rice flour. If you are not gluten free, you can simply replace the alternative flours used here with all-purpose flour.

Sugar Use your favorite brand of granulated cane sugar. I prefer organic. 

Coconut oil — This works great for the dairy free people among us, but if you’d prefer butter, use an equal amount of that.

Eggs — Fresh eggs, store bought, use what you have readily available. 

Sour cream or yogurt We’ve made this with both sour cream and yogurt (most recently with sheep’s milk yogurt) and all work equally well and help to make this French apple cake extra moist.

thinly sliced apples on a black cutting board

Apples We used a mystery apple variety for this recipe! They were harvested locally and we just don’t know what they are. These apple varieties that are delicious in pies will work well here, too, but use what you have. Slice them thinly to create the delicious layers of apples in this cake.

Rum Traditional French apple cake batter calls for rum. We did not use it in this recipe, simply because we didn’t have any on hand. You, though? Could add a quarter cup of spiced rum to jazz it up, if you like.

showing process steps of making apple cake

Making This Gluten-Free Apple Cake

My husband has been the real baker in the family ever since we were married. I have to give credit where it’s due; he’s adapted well to baking for us gluten free folks. (His starting point for this recipe is from the French apple cake recipe at The Manual.)

While the oven preheats, peel and thinly slice apples.

Grease a cake or pie pan.

Whisk dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet in another until foamy.

Add wet to dry, and stir until just combined. Fold in apples.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and top with granulated sugar.

Bake until golden brown and cake tester is clean. Cool the pan on a wire rack before serving.

We simply use a pie pan to make this. For a prettier presentation, you could line a springform pan with parchment paper, bake the cake until it’s golden brown, and transfer to a serving dish.

french apple cake in a pie pan, one slice on a serving utensil


How do I store apple cake?

If there’s cake left, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. You can also make and freeze this apple cake for up to two months.

What type of apples are best for cake?

Pick up varieties that are considered firm, and you can mix tart with sweet like you would for a pie. This means Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Pink Lady are all great options.

How do I cut apples for cake?

Peel first, then slice off half of the apple next to the core. Lay it down on the flat side and cut off both ends, right up the core. Finally, cut off the remaining piece from the core. You can now easily slice each of these pieces into thin slices.

  • If you love apple, be sure to check out this collection of apple recipes!
slice of freshly baked apple cake on a white plate

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SLICE OF French apple cake on a white plate

Moist & Delicious Apple Cake

Yield: 9" cake (8 servings)
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

This lightly sweetened apple cake is delicious and gluten free. (Trust me, they'll never know!) Serve it for dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or alongside hot coffee for breakfast.


  • 4 large apples
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted


    1. Peel and thinly slice apples.
    2. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
    3. Lightly oil an 8” round cake pan or pie pan
    4. Whisk flours and baking powder together in a large bowl.
    5. In a separate small bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and salt together; whisk until foamy. Add yogurt and vanilla, mixing until evenly combined. Stir in melted coconut oil.
    6. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring until combined.
    7. Fold apples into batter until thoroughly coated; pour batter into prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to spread the batter evenly.
    8. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.
    9. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake should be golden brown on top.
    10. Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack.


Traditional French apple cake batter calls for rum. We did not use it in this recipe, simply because we didn't have any on hand. You, though? Could add a quarter cup of spiced dark rum to jazz it up, if you like.

Feel free to substitute an equal amount of melted butter for the coconut oil.

If you are not gluten free, you can simply replace the alternative flours used here with all-purpose flour.

Optionally: Embrace the flavors of fall by adding cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter.

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About the author: Kris Bordessa is an award-winning National Geographic author and a certified Master Food Preserver. Read more about Kris and how she got started with this site here. If you want to send Kris a quick message, you can get in touch here.

12 comments… add one
  • Rebecca Faulconbridge Sep 27, 2022 @ 14:45

    Would it be possible to substitute a cup for cup gluten-free flour blend for the specified flours in the recipe?

    • AttainableSustainable Oct 4, 2022 @ 6:43

      I haven’t tried that, but I think it would work!

  • Andrea Jul 29, 2022 @ 4:34

    I will second the poster that said 4 large apples were too much to fit in this recipe! Could depend on your definition of a “large” apple, though. In any case, I used four large Fuji apples, the 8″ cake pan was crowded and the batter-to-apple ratio was barely adequate to coat each slice. It ended up needing an additional half recipe of batter to pour over the top and fill in the little gaps.
    Great recipe, it was just the correct sweetness and wonderful served warm, with a little ice cream or topped with syrup as a breakfast treat.

    • AttainableSustainable Jul 29, 2022 @ 12:50

      Yes definitely depends on the apple, I’m glad you worked it out!

  • Mary Smallwood Dec 8, 2021 @ 9:12

    I had to substitute tigernut flour for the almond flour, but tried to make it as written otherwise. I found that I could not put close to 4 large apples in. I probably put 3 medium apples and that was plenty. I think that I used the full 4 tablespoons of oil. I found the taste to be great… definitely the exact correct sweetness. My major objections was that mine came out extremely greasy. Either I measured wrong or there was way too much coconut oil. I am going to try it again with less oil (maybe 2 T) since it was otherwise very good.

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 13, 2021 @ 8:54

      Sounds like you experimented and made it your own!

  • Tamara Hargrave Dec 6, 2021 @ 13:13

    I would like to try this with the rum but shouldn’t the dry ingredients be in increased to compensate for the additional liquid? Can you tell what and the amount to increase? Than you.

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 7, 2021 @ 12:18

      It should be ok as is, but if it seems much too wet after mixing, I would add more almond flour a little at a time until the consistency seems good.

  • SUSAN C MAXEY Dec 6, 2021 @ 7:18

    Can you use coconut flour or tapioca flour instead of rice flour?

    • Kris Bordessa Dec 6, 2021 @ 10:43

      No, on either of those. If I were replacing the rice flour, I’d try millet, cassava, or sorghum.

  • Jane Dec 5, 2021 @ 3:28

    How did you know I’ve been looking for a gluten-free French Apple Cake recipe? You also included coconut oil for the dairy-free crowd, but what can I sub for the sour cream or yogurt to make it truly DF? Unfortunately, I’m GF and my sweet hubby is DF, so we are like Jack Spratt and his wife. Finding good recipes that work for us both is hard!

    • AttainableSustainable Dec 7, 2021 @ 12:20

      Coconut milk yogurt should work!

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