Allergy Free French Apple Cake



French Apple Cake is a rich tasting healthy cake that is wonderful for teatime, as a seasonal dessert, or perfect for celebratory brunches. I’ve whipped up a gluten-free, vegan, and top 8 allergen-free version that will knock your socks off.  Allergy-Free French Apple Cake is one of my new favorites, and as apple season comes into full swing, I hope it will be one of yours’ too!

The key to this cake is precooking the apples for 3 minutes in the microwave.  This ensures you’ll have tender apples without them releasing too much moisture into your cake.


Allergy-Free French Apple Cake

Serves 8 to 10

prep time: 20 minutes

bake time: 60 minutes


2 large granny smith or other large baking apples (1 lb), peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8th inch thick crosswise

2 teaspoons brandy (Calvados if you have it)

¾ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend or my Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix

½ teaspoon xanthan or guar gum

1 Tablespoon double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

½ cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

4 ½ teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 6 Tablespoons rice milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup rice milk


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Grease a 9-inch springform pan, sprinkle with a little gluten-free flour mix, tapping out any extra, and place prepared pan onto baking sheet.

2. Place apple slices in a microwave-safe pie plate, cover and microwave 3 minutes until apples are slightly tender and pliable, toss with brandy and lemon juice, and set aside on a wire cooling rack to cool.


3. Whisk together flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine shortening, light brown sugar, and ½ cup of the granulated sugar.  Mix on medium-high speed for 1 minute, or until fluffy. Whisk egg replacer with 6 Tablespoons rice milk, till frothy.


5. Add egg replacer and vanilla extract, and mix for 20 seconds.

6. Reduce the speed to medium and beat in one-third of the flour, mixing for 15 seconds.

7. Add half the rice milk, mixing for 20 seconds.

8. Beat in half the remaining flour, then the remaining rice milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

9. Scoop out 1 1/3 cups of the batter and set aside.

10. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold cooled apple slices into the remaining batter. Transfer to the prepared springform pan, smoothing batter evenly to edges of pan.




11. Top with the reserved batter, using an offset spatula or rubber spatula to smooth batter evenly to edges of pan. Sprinkle top evenly with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar.



12. Bake in center of oven until top is golden and pulling away slightly from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.   Transfer cake pan to a wire cooling rack. Let cool about 10 minutes, then run a butter or pairing knife around the sides of the pan, and let cool completely, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Cut into wedges and serve. Store covered with a cake dome at room temperature.  May be reheated at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes the following day to freshen and be served warm.


Allergy-Free French Apple Cake  © 2012 by Cybele Pascal Photos by Stephen Scott Gross

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available atWhole Foods, and online at If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

12 Responses

  1. Curran says:

    Looks as delicious as the original Cooks’ Illustrated version! (which I have made, and it is wonderful)

    Wouldn’t it be fairer to cite the source?

    • cybele says:

      Hi, Thanks for your comment. You are correct that I first learned about pre-cooking apples in the microwave from Cook’s Illustrated many years ago, and used that technique here, which I’m more than happy to cite. It’s a favorite technique with apple pie, betty’s etc. However, the original inspiration for this cake is an apple cake from Lange’s Delicatessen in Bronxville, NY, that I used to eat while pregnant, almost obsessively. The Cook’s Illustrated version is lovely, but highly allergenic, not vegan, and not gluten-free. THe two recipes use different ingredients, totally different proportions, and different technique. They are not the same recipe.

  2. David Baer says:

    We learned to make this cake from Lange’s in Scarsdale! And, to be clear, Calvados is just one type of Apple Brandy (from a specific place in France). I’ll bet most Apple Brandies or even Apple Jack will suffice.Also, we like to use a combination of apples when baking, which balances the acid, tartness, and sweetness among a variety of apple types.

    • cybele says:

      How funny that you too love that amazing apple cake! It’s famous. Good note on the apple brandy. I’ve tried this recipe with pink ladies, and also honey crisp, and even golden delicious. I like the texture of the granny’s best, but like the idea of mixing them. I’ll give it a shot next time I make this. Three cheers for Lange’s Deli!

  3. Neisha says:

    My son is allergic to all top eight allergens, so I greatly appreciate your recipes. Thing is, he’s also allergic to lemon so I cannot use lemon juice in his recipes (like with this one and your mock buttermilk recipe). Is there a better substitute? I know Jalen-the-Great would love to try this.

  4. Jess says:

    I am excited to make this cake this weekend! However, I do not have a springform. Can I use a 9 in cake pan instead?would it work the same way/?

    • cybele says:

      It should be fine, but would be best to use a nonstick pan, or to be sure you grease your pan really well. Enjoy!

      all best,


  5. Heather B. says:

    I made this cake for Valentine’s Day and it is absolutely delicious! I did substitute butter and regular milk since we don’t have to worry about dairy – it turned out beautifully! Cybele, thank you for sharing your recipes. It’s nice to know that I can make something allergy-friendly for me that my husband will also love! 🙂

  6. Ashley says:

    Can I use applesauce or flax seed as an egg instead of the ener-G egg in this recipe? If so how much of applesauce or flax seed should I use?

    Thank you!

    Hope to try this recipe this week!

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