Lean into apple season with this simple Apple Cake Tray Bake. This deliciously light cake is full of cinnamon and apple flavours but is made without eggs or dairy, so it's vegan-friendly. Even better, this cake comes together in one bowl, so is perfect for a quick sheet cake bake to take along to a potluck or bake sale.
This gorgeous cake is especially delightful in Autumn/Fall when windfall apples abound and the idea of making cosy cakes with comforting cinnamon is always a good plan.
This easy-to-make tray bake style cake is sisters with my Lemon and Courgette Cake Tray bake and Vegan Carrot Cake using Aquafaba. They all share a common base recipe that uses aquafaba, which makes for a light fluffy sponge cake, that is very reliable and never dry or crumbly.
- Plain Flour (all purpose flour) You can choose wholemeal or spelt flour, however the cake will be a little bit denser.
- Aquafaba (the 'juice' from a tin of chickpeas). This is what replaces the egg to bind the cake in this eggless recipe.
- Light Brown Sugar- You can choose muscovado or coconut sugar instead.
- Crisp and tangy eating apples or cooking apples- I used apples from my own tree. A cooking apple or a crispy tangy variety of eating apple is best.
- Lemon Juice- this prevents the apple from browning.
- Neutral Oil (EG Sunflower seed oil)
- Cinnamon - Always delicious with apples.
- Vanilla - Adds warmth and sweetness
- Baking Powder- for a fluffy bake.
See the recipe card for full quantities.
Follow along with these photos and instructions for the perfect apple cake tray bake! Be sure to have your sheet pan ready prepared with some baking paper.
Peel and finely slice your apples. Be sure to make the slices very thin. Toss in lemon juice to prevent browning and set aside.
In a large bowl add your aquafaba (chickpea juice ) .If you are using a standard 400g/16 oz tin, this is the liquid from the entire tin.
Add the brown sugar, oil and vanilla and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
Add the flour, baking powder and half the cinnamon and stir.
Mix in 2-3 tablespoons of plant milk (I used oat) to loosen the cake batter. NB: The apples you add to the cake will provide some of the moisture content, so don't be tempted to add too much liquid!
Dollop the mix into a lined traybake/sheet cake tin 32cm x 22 cm and spread out half the mixture. The mixture is pretty sticky, so be patient! The apples provide some of the moisture, so the mix is more tacky than free-flowing.
Lay out most of the apple slices so they just overlap each other. Make sure the slices are thin!
Sprinkle the apple slices with cinnamon.
Smooth the rest of the cake batter over the top of the apple slices.
Decorate with some more apple slices and sprinkle some brown sugar on top.Bake at 180C /375 for 35 minutes. The size of your tray may vary so check at 30 mins. The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean.
Hint: The apples provide much of the moisture content so this needs to be quite a sticky cake batter rather than runny, so don't add in too much plant milk.
Substitutions & Variations
This apple tray bake cake recipe is already vegan, egg free and dairy free. It can be made gluten free by using gluten free flour.
- Berries - add a handful of berries to top the cake before baking.
- Almonds-Add some almonds or other nuts to the top of the cake before baking for a lovely crunch.
- Frosted or iced- cream cheese or maple frosting would be delicious to top this traybake style cake.
This tray bake cake recipe comes together without any fancy equipment, you'll just need:
- A good knife and peeler for the apples.
- A traybake tin 32cm by 22cm (12 x 9") This is sometimes also called a sheet pan.
Theis apple traybake cake keeps well in an airtight container, in a cool place for 5 to 7 days.
You can freeze the cake, without frosting, for up to three months. Warm it up in the oven for a few minutes to 'refresh' the flavours!
Be sure to cut the apple slices quite finely, as big slices will cause the cake to be soggy and not fluffy and light.
You can use pretty much any apple in this cake, however, I find a slightly tart and crisp eating apple or a cooking apple make for the best flavour. I used the apples from our own apple tree- which was an orphan tree with no name!
Absolutely, you might find that the cake is a bit thicker and needs a bit more time in the oven.
Aquafaba is the juice from when chickpeas are cooked. It has a similar protein to egg whites. I find that it makes the best substitute for eggs in light, fluffy style cakes where you don't want it to be stodgy or too crumbly.
Apple Cake Tray bake
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
For the cake
- 150 ml (⅔ cups) sunflower oil ((or other neutral oil such as light olive oil))
- 14 Tbs (14 Tbs) Aquafaba ((chickpea water) unbeaten. The equivilant of the liquid in a standard 400g/16oz chickpea tin (can) )
- 225 g (1 ¼ cups) light brown sugar
- 300 g (2 ½ cups) plain flour ((all purpose flour) )
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 50 ml (¼ cups) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon plant milk (up to 3 tbsp)
- 250 g (½ lb) apple (roughly two apples)
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon extra light brown sugar (to sprinkle on top of the cake. )
- Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
- Line a traybake tin: 32cm by 22cm (12 x 9")
- Peel and finely slice the apples into little half moon shapes.250 g apple
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the apples to prevent them browning.50 ml lemon juice
- Add the aquafaba, sugar, oil and vanilla essence to the sugar.150 ml sunflower oil, 14 Tbs Aquafaba, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 225 g light brown sugar
- Whisk the oil, aquafaba, and sugar until the mixture is well combined, lighter, and noticeably thickened.
- Fold in the flour and baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Mix well to combine.300 g plain flour, 3 teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Add the plant milk to loosen the batter.2 tablespoon plant milk
- Pour half the cake mix into the prepared baking tin, and spread it out to the corners.
- Place the apple slices over the cake batter in neat rows, (keep a few aside to put on the top of the cake) then sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon over.250 g apple, 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Smooth over the rest of the cake batter, being sure not to disturb the apple layer too much.
- Add a few extra apple slices on top, and sprinkle over the extra brown sugar.2 tablespoon extra light brown sugar
- Pop in the oven and bake for 30-35 mins. Test with a skewer to see if it is cooked through. If it comes out clean, it's ready to take out of the oven. If it comes out a little gooey, leave the cake in for another 5 mins. The cooking time will really depend on how large your tin is, so if you use a smaller tin, adjust the time to be a little longer.
- Cool the cake in it's tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a cake rack.
- Once cool, turn the cake onto a serving plate. Serve with icecream or cream, or a drizzle of caramel sauce.
- Be sure to slice the apples thinly, otherwise you will end up with soggy patches in the cake.
- The apples provide much of the moisture content so this needs to be quite a sticky cake batter rather than runny, so don't add in too much plant milk.