Apple Cake With Caramel-Pecan Glaze

Apple Cake

Channel-surfing for a cooking show this morning, I caught Christopher Kimball, the pompous and intensely annoying host of America’s Test Kitchen, deriding vegetarian food and a tofu dessert he ate somewhere.

“It is terrible,” he and another cook went in unison, talking about chocolate mousse made with tofu.

Now maybe the particular mousse these people ate was terrible and warranted that criticism. But is that good enough reason to tar as terrible any dessert made with tofu– or for that matter made without dairy or eggs? No way!

Cooks like Kimball don’t want to admit to the possibility that dairy-free and egg-free desserts can be delicious for the simple reason that doing that would render their own animal-product-filled desserts redundant. After all, as any intelligent person would have to agree, if one can make a great-tasting recipe without using ingredients that hurt animals, it would be a no-brainer to go with it, wouldn’t it?

The problem is, for those among us who look at celebrity cooks like these for guidance, their words become the gospel. For as long as people have been baking cakes and cookies, no one — until fairly recently — thought of questioning the tradition of using eggs and dairy. In fact, I remember when I first started baking all I heard was the importance of butter and cream and eggs in turning out a good baked product or dessert.

Then along came some innovative vegan cooks who showed us that not only is it possible to make wonderful desserts that are vegan but that they taste better too, and, cherry on the icing, they’re better for you. I, for one, am so glad that I dared to try what they had to offer. It changed the way I cooked and baked and I am happier and healthier for it.

What’s more, even Desi who is quite the critic when it comes to his favorite sweets admits that the vegan versions are tastier.

To anyone who still has doubts that making cruelty-free desserts is a breeze, I’d challenge you to try my Apple Cake with a Caramel Pecan Glaze. This cake is moist, delicious, full of flavor, and not only is it vegan but it is whole-wheat and low fat. Best of all, it’s super-easy to make.

This cake would look really pretty baked in a bundt pan, but I don’t have one so I just made it in a tube pan. But if you do have a bundt pan, use it.

Here’s the recipe. Hope everyone’s having a great weekend!
Apple Cake

Apple Cake

Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside

In a small bowl mix together:

3 Granny Smith apples, cored, deseeded, then chopped into a fairly small dice

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp molasses (you can use dark brown sugar instead of the regular sugar and skip the molasses. I love the molasses with the apples because it really deepens and enriches the flavor of the fruit)

In a large bowl, whisk together the following wet ingredients:

3 tbsp flax meal + 9 tbsp water

1/2 cup canola oil or other flavorless vegetable oil

1/2 cup soy milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup crushed pineapple

Now add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well-blended, but do not overwork.

Add in the apples and mix together so they are evenly distributed through the batter. This is a pretty thick batter so you’ll get a good workout for your hand.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured tube or bundt pan and smooth the top.

Place in a 350-degree oven and bake around 80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted close to the center comes out with moist crumbs sticking to it.

Remove and cool on a rack about 30 minutes before sliding a knife around the edges and then unmolding.

Apple CakeCaramel-Pecan Glaze

Mix in a saucepan:

1/2 cup sugar

1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp water

Simmer over medium-low heat until the syrup turns brown.

Turn off the heat and very carefully and slowly (because it will splatter), :

1/2 cup of soy milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract.

Now add 1/2 cup lightly toasted pecans and stir (you can chop the pecans if you like)

Pour over the top of the cake and allow the glaze to set before serving.
Apple Cake
Looking for more great and fruity vegan dessert options? Try my Peach Upside-Down Cake, my Carrot Cake with a “Cream Cheese” frosting or my Mango Cheesecake. And if you’re still not convinced that dairy-free is the way to go, read more about what goes into making those dairy products here.

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    It’s such a shame when people automatically assume that vegan food is inferior to its animal product-laden counterparts. But I love that you continue to challenge that common misconception about vegan fare with so many delicious recipes! That cake, for example, looks absolutely delectable.

  2. says

    I have a nice old fashioned apple cake that I can easily “veganize” but your presentation, with that gorgeous pecan topping, puts this one over the top! I think I will try this one for our Thanksgiving dinner.

    I’ve recently discovered your blog and am loving every minute as I read my way through old posts. :)

  3. Anonymous says

    love ur recipes.the cake looks delectable.will definitely try it.Love ur blog .do u have any recipes for a plain sponge cake

  4. Anonymous says

    I watched(rather heard in the background) bits and pieces of that show you talk about and heard the comment of the host. For a moment I thought they were going to make a better one with tofu like at times they show a crappy version of a dish and try to make it better – haha silly me. I like the way you described him. I have felt the same :)

    I stumbled upon your blog and felt like I hit a jackpot. Being a vegetarian who didn’t grow up eating eggs the smell of it in baked goods is just too much for me. My toddler and husband also loved your mango bread with almonds. And the Pongal, what can I say we didn’t miss the ghee at all! Will be trying out more of your recipes. Thanks for sharing. And if you write a vegan cookbook I will be buying it :)

    best wishes

  5. says

    “Cooks like Kimball don’t want to admit to the possibility that dairy-free and egg-free desserts can be delicious for the simple reason that doing that would render their own animal-product-filled desserts redundant.” So true. You should send them a slice of your stunning cake.

  6. says

    Oh wonderful, you’ve given me another easy recipe to try. I made a wonderful apple cake a few weeks ago after veganizing a recipe from a blogger friend in Tanzania. I made another of her recipes today and used olive oil instead of butter with no noticeable ill effects. Your cake looks simple delicious and I’m gonna have to try it sometime soon.

  7. Anonymous says

    Vegan food rocks. I agree with your opinions about that host. All of my friends, roommates, colleagues have always appreciated the vegan desserts I made for them though they are either vegetarian or omnivores.

  8. says

    Tiffany, thanks

    Aisling, welcome and thanks for your kind words.

    Bangalorebaker, Parita, Thanks.

    Anonymous, I don’t have any plain sponge cake recipes yet but I promise to test one soon and post it if successful :)

    Indhu– thanks for your encouraging words– you are really kind. I too thought Kimball might attempt a tofu version of the mousse, but I guess he just isn’t creative enough :)
    Glad your family liked the recipes!

    Mihl, thanks– I guess I should :)

    Joyful, thanks.

    Anonymous, you’re right– when people are not told a dessert is vegan, they really don’t seem to notice any difference, except for the lack of that awful eggy smell of course :)

  9. says

    I’m not a vegan but have been experimenting with vegan baking recently. I agree that it has to be done right and that vegan desserts can often taste just as good if not better. I wish people would have a more open mind.

  10. Anonymous says

    Kimball is an arrogant snob! He’s the reason I don’t watch ATK and stopped subscribing to Cook’s Illustrated and Cooks Country.

  11. says

    I too keep wondering there are no vegan/vegetarian shows in Food TV. I can understand that in other channels where food is not the main, they cannot have a separate show for that. But it’s a shame that even Food TV doesn’t consider us.

    They should get Isa/Terry and other leading vegan chefs on TV to get even the omnivores excited about vegan baking.

    That’s a lovely cake Vaishali. I’m bookmarking a lot of baking recipes from your blog. I wish I get the time to bake at least a few.

  12. Miri says

    It’s so true! I’ve been doing vegan baking for almost three years, and nearly everything I’ve ever made has been amazing (as well as considerably less fat-laden than its non-vegan counterparts). I was reading an article recently by a chef who listed all the pitfalls of baking without dairy and eggs (won’t rise, strange texture, etc) and none of these things have ever happened to me. It ain’t rocket science, people.

    And the cake looks fantastic – think I’ll make it for Shabbat this week.

  13. Anonymous says

    This was so good! I didn’t do the pecan topping because I wanted to share some of it with my friend whose son has nut allergies. Instead I put a glaze on it (1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons rice milk, 1 tablespoon maple syrup and about a quarter to half teaspoon of vanilla). My kids loved it and I’m taking some to my friend tomorrow. Also, I shredded the apples b/c I thought my kids would be more likely to eat it that way. Didn’t have any pineaplle on hand so I added an extra apple. Thanks for sharing your recipe, it’s definitely a keeper! I love your site and plan on trying more recipes.

  14. says

    Nice recipe
    instead of bundt pan can I use regular 9″ round cake pan or square pan. would it affect on baking the center part of the cake?

  15. says

    I made it today with only wheat flour I use for roti. Apple cubes were little more , even then cake came out excellent. I divided the batter in two 9 inch pans since I don’t have tube or bundt pan.
    Cake was a hit for a friend’s surprise birthday. Credit goes to your full proof recipe. I blindly follow your recipes even with little modifications of my own, these vegan cakes never fail. I love your site!

    • says

      Jan, that’s good to know! Glad you enjoyed the cake. Using the chapati flour is a very good idea– it makes a good substitute for whole-wheat pastry flour.

  16. says

    We made this cake a few weeks back and it was a huge success.
    Moist, sweet and spicy, with just the right sourness from the apples.
    We served the cake warm with rice-icecream.
    I didn’t have flax meal so I used Chiaseeds instead.
    Love your website btw! Greetings from Norway. :)

    • says

      Hi Carmen, so glad you tried the cake, and it must have been amazing with ice cream. Great idea to sub the flax with chia. Thanks for your kind words about the blog, and great to hear from a reader in Norway! :)

  17. smita joshi says

    Just love your blog . Can you tell me what is wheat pastry flour. In mumbai this is not available. Can I use the wheat flour we use to make our rotis.

    I like to read what you write. Its beautiful.

    Thanks dear.

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