Walnut Apple Cake (gluten free)

by Kirsten on October 3, 2011 · 25 comments

in Cakes, Desserts

This post is especially for my friends that have been following my food adventures from the very beginning but have been diagnosed with Celiac disease.

Cooking and baking gluten free often seems very involved for all of us “outsiders” and makes us sweat in advance when a dinner guest waves the gluten free sign. I am just kidding. I have baked and cooked gluten free in the past for friends and didn’t find it inconvenient at all.

Yesterday I got approached by a friend who has been on a special diet for several months and she told me that after another consultation with her doctor he advised her to stay of gluten forever. He even mentioned to her scientists have discovered that gluten intolerance appears to be more prevalent among people of Northern European descent. I thought that sounded very interesting.

My family asked me to bake an apple cake today and with my friends in mind and still some gluten free flour in my refrigerator  I made the decision to try to bake a gluten free treat.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous of the cake coming out correctly. Not all gluten free baked goods taste right to me. They often have a very strong almost bitter after taste.

This walnut apple cake was a big hit. A winner recipe!! We couldn’t find any difference in taste or texture to my usually baked apple cake in which I use wheat flour. The added sour cream kept it very moist and it got an extra crunch through the toasted walnut topping. Yummy!

Here you go my loyal foodie friends. I really hope you will give this cake a try and enjoy it as much as we did!


*  1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
*  2 teaspoons cinnamon
*  1 1/2 cups sugar
*  2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 slices each
*  2 cups (240 g) gluten free flour (Kirsten used Bob’s Red Mill)
*  1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*  1 teaspoon baking soda
*  3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum
*  1/2 teaspoon salt
*  2 large eggs, at room temperature
*  1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
*  2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*  1/3 cup canola oil


Preheat your oven to 350 F Convection. Grease a 9 inch spring pan.

Mix the walnuts, 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking, soda, xanthum gum, and salt. Set aside.

In a kitchen machine set on medium speed beat the eggs and 1 cup of sugar until cream colored and very light. Add the vanilla extract, sour cream and oil. Mix until well combined.

Set your kitchen machine on low speed and add the flour slowly. Don’t over mix!

Pour dough into prepared baking pan, place the apples on top, push them into the dough and sprinkle with the walnut sugar mixture.

Bake for about 40 minutes.


Adapted from my copy of the book “Gluten-Free Baking Classics”.

Oh, before I forget. There is a whole gluten free blogger community out there. Just click on the globe for more info.

Gluten Free Global Community
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Laura September 29, 2012 at 10:39 am

I just made this cake and it is amazing! I replaced the sour cream with plain yogurt, and it is still wonderful! I think it might be even better if you put a layer of apples at the bottom of the pan, then half the topping, then the batter, then more apples and the rest of the topping. (Or half the batter, apples, topping, the other half of the batter, apples, topping). That way there would be apples all the way through. Thanks for this amazing gluten-free recipe!

amanda February 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm

I just made this cake and it is DElLICIOUS! It also looks exactly like your beautiful photograph.
I had to substitute the xanthan gum for guar gum because that’s all I had in my pantry I also separated my eggs and beat the whites before folding into the dough. I am not an experienced baker so I was thrilled that this turned out so well. Thanks for the recipe! I look forward to more from you.

Crimson Wife December 20, 2011 at 2:03 am

Ooh, that looks good. I will have to figure out a dairy-free replacement for the sour cream as our family has eliminated casein (milk protein) as well as gluten from our diet. I wonder if vanilla almond-milk yogurt would work?

Elizabeth B. Thomsen November 25, 2011 at 12:11 am

Thanks for this great recipe! I wanted to bring a gluten-free dessert to Thanksgiving and this worked perfectly. I'll definitely be using this recipe again.

Here's a photo:

Cheryl November 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

This was PHENOMENAL! I didn't have the GF flour mix, so used 1 cup rice flour, 1/2 cup soy flour and 1/2 cup cornstarch. Also, left out the xanthan gum since I find that eggs and sour cream (I used plain yogourt) hold things together well in GF baking. Also added 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg to flour mix. Our German guests also thought it was amazing. Thanks for a great recipe!

scrambledhenfruit October 11, 2011 at 1:34 am

Thank you for posting this recipe! One of my friends at school is always disheartened when someone brings in treats and she can't eat them. This apple cake will be perfect for her. 🙂

From Beyond My Kitchen Window October 8, 2011 at 1:23 am

I love the look of this cake. The apple pieces look sugary and delicious. You are a good friend to bake this yummy cake for your gluten free friend.

Wendy October 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

This looks gorgeous! I will definitely try it!

Kirsten@My German Kitchen...in the Rockies October 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

@Caterina B.: xanthum gum is a polysaccharide and acts like the glue, since gluten is missing which is the binder in wheat flour.
@Suhani: Thanks for the info!

Anonymous October 6, 2011 at 11:36 am

Thanks for these really yummy pics of walnut apple cake. and Suhani thanks a ton for the link which has so many variations.

suhani October 6, 2011 at 5:39 am

Hey frnds…Look at the variations of Apple cake…the article is really informative…http://www.ifood.tv/network/apple_cake

Cherine October 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm

A mouthwatering irresistible cake!

Caterina B October 5, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I am absolutely going to make this cake this weekend. And…I will just use regular flour. I think that will work just as well as gluten free. But…I don't have any "xanthum gum." What is that and what does it do for the cake?
We have apple trees and the apples are dropping fast now so this will be perfect.

The Café Sucré Farine October 5, 2011 at 10:09 am

This looks just amazing and I'll be the aroma is heavenly as it bakes!

Carlos October 5, 2011 at 8:21 am

We need to understand that gluten-free can be pretty good too. Working in the hospitality business, we get a lot of requests for low carbs, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes quite often. Our Executive Chef understand the requests and I love the fact that the recipes are quite delicious. This cake looks so good and what better time is there to try a slice of your cake, now that apples are in season?
BTW great photos!!!!!

Hema October 5, 2011 at 5:34 am

Very nice cake…will surely try it.

manu October 4, 2011 at 6:24 am

Wow beautiful cake!
Have a nice day

Susan October 4, 2011 at 1:35 am

My daughter asked our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter, "Do you know where apples come from?" She answered, quickly, "Yes, the refrigerator!" We're in the midst of apple season here in the Pacific Northwest and I can't wait to try this recipe. XOXO

Emily of The Best of this Life October 4, 2011 at 12:25 am

Yum! So nice to see tasty looking recipes that are gluten-free!!
I have so many organic apples (that we picked a few weeks ago) – I will just have to make this cake!!

Karen Harris October 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm

This looks so delicious Kirsten. You know I never bake gluten free but this just might get me thinking about it.

Sue/the view from great island October 3, 2011 at 9:28 pm

This looks so good—love the huge apple chunks. I wonder if regular flour would work as well.

highplainsdrifters October 3, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I'd never get tired of baked apple dishes. Never. Cheers!

Chérie October 3, 2011 at 6:24 pm

ich habe auch ostern vor 2 jahren meine diagnose bekommen… hab mich erstmal gegen alles gf gestrebt und es hat (vielleicht sogar noch bis heute…) gedauert, damit richtig klar zu kommen.
an manchen tagen macht es mir gar nicht und dann macht es mich wieder fertig…
und komischerweise fehlen mir die sachen besonders, die es nicht als glutenfreien ersatz gibt…
trotzdem ist es immer wieder toll, mitzubekommen, wie viel sich inzwischen in den supermärkten usw tut 🙂
liebe grüße!

Susan October 3, 2011 at 5:53 pm

I virtually know nothing about gluten-free baking, but….dass ist ein apfel kuchen!~!

Boulder Locavore October 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Ok before I start I will say I'm now completely craving this cake. Perfect for fall and can imagine the flavors (maybe I have the ingredients myself….hmmm). Having been gluten free for over 6 years I will agree totally on the flours not all 'tasting right'. For me GarFava flour is way to 'green' tasting but seems popular probably due to the structure (GF flours are combined as one on its own cannot match the structure of wheat flour, gluten is a binder). There are blends that taste like gluten flours. Love the styling of your photos too!

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