Vegan French Apple Cake

Vegan French Apple Cake

This recipe is a classic in the French repertoire, known for its quintessential custardy texture and pure apple flavor. Little is more satisfying on a cold winter evening. We may not be in a stone farmhouse in Normandy, but where we are is pretty great too when you cozy up with a slice of cake.

I veganized and adapted this recipe from David Lebovitz, who in turn adapted his recipe from Dorie Greenspan. I substituted eggs and butter for vegan replacements, swapped dark rum for Kentucky bourbon (my heritage! I must!), and made some apple-y adjustments to make this the custardy cake of my dreams.

Use a blend of apples if you can – some tart, some sweet. Or just go all tart. I strongly recommend using a vegan butter like Earth Balance (or a fancier one if that’s your M.O.), but oil will also work. (Be aware a strongly flavored oil like coconut may somewhat mute the delicate apple flavor.)

Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or with a light dusting of powdered sugar. It doesn’t necessarily need the powdered sugar, but you may be so moved if there’s a dusting of snow outside your window and you want your cake to match it.

Recipe: Vegan French Apple Cake


  • 110g AP flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer 
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 150g sugar
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon (can sub dark rum or Calvados apple brandy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 115g (1/2 cup) vegan butter, melted and cooled
  • 425g diced apples (~3 apples, mixed varieties)

Special Equipment

  • 8-inch round springform cake pan, or 8-inch round
  • Parchment paper
  • Kitchen scale


  • Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  • Peel, core, and dice the apples into pieces no larger than 1 cm. You should have ~425g apples. Set aside.
  • Melt vegan butter in the microwave and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  • Grease an 8-inch springform cake pan; or if using an 8-inch round, grease the pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, and grease the parchment paper. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, prepare the egg replacer by combining egg replacer with water and whisking well until chunks are dissolved. Set aside for at least five minutes, during which time the mixture will thicken. 
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: AP flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk well to combine and remove any lumps. 
  • To the bowl of egg replacer, whisk in the 150g of granulated sugar until well-combined. Add the bourbon and vanilla and whisk in well.
  • Add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; whisk to combine. Add half the melted vegan butter, whisk to combine. 
  • Repeat with the second half of the dry ingredients and oil. 
  • Using a spatula, fold in the apples until the apples are well-coated with batter. 
  • Add the batter to the prepared cake pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. 
  • Sprinkle a tablespoon of granulated sugar evenly over the surface of the cake, which will create a crackly crust. 
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the cake is slightly domed, evenly light-brown across the top, and a toothpick comes out clean or with just one or two crumbs. 
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from mould and cool before cutting and serving.
  • To store: Since the cake is very moist, do not cover completely to store, just press plastic wrap against any cut sides. 

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