Gluten-Free Caramelized Apple Cake

A lovely, not-too-sweet, naturally gluten-free caramelized apple cake that’s perfect for the winter season.

Gluten-Free Caramelized Apple Cake

I really love this cake for several reasons: 1. It’s beautiful 2. I liked the using of three different gluten-free flours here to make up a total of 1 1/2 cups flour. 3. Almost as important as the rest: no gums are called for.

It’s that last one that I’m a bit of a stickler about. I try to keep to a pretty simple and ‘whole food’ diet as much as I possibly can. I also don’t believe gums are absolutely essential to gluten-free baking; flax or chia seeds can be a fine substitute and sometimes you don’t need any sort of additional ‘binder’ at all depending on the flours you use. Sweet rice flour is one that is inherently starchy and helps create that finer crumb we’re accustomed to in baked goods made with wheat flour.

I know that baking with a myriad of flours can seem intimidating but I encourage you to try it out if you are keeping gluten-free; an initial investment in the flours can turn out to be more than worth it. I also hope that a clear, fairly simple and well-thought-out recipe will temper some of that intimidation.

This apple cake is dense and not-too-sweet and not at all boring. The apples are laced with maple syrup (a sprinkling of ground cardamom or cinnamon would not go amiss either) and cooked down in a bit of butter until they are soft and caramelized. Buckwheat adds a deeper note to the lighter sweet rice and millet flours and the yogurt keeps things from getting too dry. It’s interesting and seasonal, and I hope you enjoy this one.

Til next time – N x

What You’ll Need

  • Sweet white rice flour: An unsung hero in gluten-free baking, sweet white rice flour acts as a lovely binder in cakes
  • Millet flour: Brings a delicate, almost buttery flavor to bakes
  • Buckwheat flour: Look for finely ground buckwheat flour
  • Baking powder
  • Fine sea salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Eggs
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Plain yogurt
  • Apples: I like Gala but any good baking apple will work here

Tips for Success

  • Bring ingredients to room temperature before baking
  • To make dairy-free, substitute coconut yogurt or your favorite non-dairy yogurt for the yogurt and coconut oil or your favorite non-dairy butter for the butter
  • See the “Notes” section following the recipe for more substitution suggestions

How to Store

Cake will keep, tightly wrapped in the fridge, for 3 days.

Gluten-free caramelized apple cake

Gluten-Free Caramelized Apple Cake

Nicole Spiridakis
A lovely, not-too-sweet, naturally gluten-free caramelized apple cake that's perfect for the winter season.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 10


For the apples

  • 3 large apples of choice peeled, cored, and thickly sliced
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon, cardamom, or ginger (optional)

For the cake

  • ½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup/60 g sweet white rice flour
  • ½ cup/60 g buckwheat flour
  • ½ cup/70 g millet flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ cup full fat plain yogurt


Make the Apples

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350º F. Place a piece of parchment in an 8-inch cake pan, leaving about an inch of parchment to go up the pan. Generously butter the parchment and side of cake pan.
  • Make the apples: in a cast iron skillet or large frying pan melt the butter and maple syrup over medium heat. Sprinkle with the spices if using. Add the apples and reduce heat to low, stirring them frequently until slices are soft and slightly caramelized, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Arrange the apple slices in the pan in concentric circles, having them slightly overlap each other if you can. Make sure to drizzle any remaining liquid from the pan over the apples.

Make the Cake

  • In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the sweet rice, buckwheat, and millet flours with the baking powder and salt.
  • With the mixer on low, stir half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Stir in the yogurt until just combined, then the rest of the flour, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • Spread the batter evenly over the apples in the pan.
  • Bake the cake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, or a with a few moist crumbs, 35-45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cake cool completely in pan on a rack, then invert onto a serving platter and peel away the parchment. Serve the cake at room temperature.


Substitution for millet flour — try oat flour
Substitution for buckwheat flour — try almond flour or teff flour
Substitution for sweet white rice flour — try tapioca flour
Butter substitution — use your favorite non-dairy butter of choice
Yogurt substitution — swap your favorite non-dairy yogurt of choice
Keyword gluten-free
nicole spiridakis © copyright 2023