19 January 2016

Apple walnut spice cake {dairy-free}

Breakfasty cakes, especially coffee cake, have been on my mind a lot lately. Moist, rich squares of cake with a delicious crumble topping, all held together by an exorbitant amount of what? Butter, of course. So much of a coffee cake's flavor comes from butter, I couldn't bring myself to bother trying to recreate it to fit my current dairy-free, soy-free needs.

But on Sunday, as we were leaving the parish hall after Mass, Little Bear caught sight of the big sheet cake being sliced up in preparation for the soup kitchen. Of course he was just sure that he needed some, and I wound up promising that he could help me bake cake at home later instead. "So, what kind of cake are we having?" Matt asked on the way home. 

"Apple cake!" Little Bear told him. "An apple coffee cake?" Matt interpreted. "Good idea!" While they proceeded to go back and forth about what 'coffee cake' meant and how Little Bear wanted apples in the cake, not coffee, I started flipping through recipes. After looking at a whole bunch, though, I still couldn't make myself attempt a dairy-free coffee cake proper. Most of the cake-ier cake recipes I was finding were intended for bundt or tube pans, which I don't have, but then I found this old-fashioned apple cake from King Arthur Flour that looked adaptable. Swap out the butter for oil, bump up the spices to compensate for the lost flavor, give up on the frosting as a lost cause and decide to just serve it au natural... and we have a new favorite. This is deicious!

1 1/3 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 eggs
6 tablespoons oil
4 cups peeled diced tart apples
1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix together everything except the apples and walnuts, beating until well combined. Mine looked like a graham cracker crust mixture—almost like coarse damp sand! It looks ridiculously dry, but don't go adding any extra liquid: add the apples and walnuts and beat it for a couple of minutes. As the apple pieces release their juice, the batter will magically come together. When it resembles slightly soft cookie dough, stop beating and press it into a greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45 minutes, and cool (in pan) on a wire rack. 


  1. That looks tasty! You don't need to saute the apples at all?

    We can't do icing really either, but you can get a decent glaze with just almond milk and powdered sugar!

    1. Nope, they just go in raw! I did think about doing a simple powdered sugar glaze, but adding that would have made it harder to reassure myself that it was healthy when I had a piece for breakfast... and another after lunch... and a little one before bed... :-)