Gluten-free Alsatian Apple Cake

| September 11, 2010 | 3 Comments

I spent most of my life unaware that there were people around me who could not tolerate wheat.  When we moved to Oregon, we learned that one of our dear friends here is gluten-intolerant. She and her husband moved here from Colorado and have found Oregon a wonderful place to live, especially for someone who is sensitive to wheat. Some restaurants have gluten-free menus, with separate kitchens to prepare the food to prevent cross-contamination, and one of our largest supermarket chains, Fred Meyer, has nearly an entire aisle in their natural foods section dedicated to gluten-free products. 

So whenever we have a dinner party and the couple are included, we try to make the entire meal gluten-free. It has been an eye-opening experience to learn how many processed foods may harbor wheat gluten, innocuously labeled as modified food starch. Believe it or not, even dry-roasted peanuts may have gluten, and so do many vinegars and salad dressings. 

Baking desserts posed a challenge until I discovered Bob’s Red Mill, a Milwaukie, Oregon company that produces a wide variety of flours, cereal, grains, beans and seeds. They even have a selection of gluten-free flours made from black bean, fava bean, flaxseed, brown rice and garbanzo bean. Among their gluten-free offerings are pre-blended flours for general-purpose baking, biscuits, brownie mix, cornbread mix and more. Click here for a link to the gluten-free selections on their Website. 

Gluten-free Alsatian apple cake.


When we had a gathering recently to celebrate Charles’ 65th birthday, I decided to make a gluten-free version of an Alsatian apple cake from a recipe that we’ve written about before. After trial and error, I found that I needed to double the amount of gluten-free flour and some of the ingredients from the original recipe in order to make it work. The gluten-free version is just as tasty as the wheat flour version, but the batter comes out darker in color from the mixture of ingredients in the gluten-free baking flour. Also, following the instructions from Bob’s Red Mill, I added xanthan gum, a binding agent, to make the recipe work. Xanthan gum can be found in most natural food stores. 

When it came time for the party, it turned out that our gluten- sensitive friend had a migrane so she couldn’t make it, but we all enjoyed the entire gluten-free meal nonetheless, including the cake. We sent a big serving of cake home with her husband with instructions to save it for her, and got reports the next day that she devoured every morsel we sent home. 

Gluten-free Alsatian Apple Cake 

For the cake: 

  1. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) unsalted butter
  2. 4 pounds (1.8 k.) baking apples or Golden Delicious apples
  3. 6 large eggs
  4. ½ cup (120 ml.) mild-flavored honey of your choice
  5. ¼ cup (60 ml.) safflower or peanut oil
  6. 4 tablespoons (60 ml.) milk
  7. 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) vanilla
  8. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) rum (I suggest Myer’s Dark Rum)
  9. 1 cup (240 ml.) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free General Baking Mix
  10. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) baking powder
  11. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) baking soda
  12. ¾ teaspoon (3 ml.) xanthan gum
  13. Pinch of salt
  • Preheat the oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Generously butter a 12-inch (30 cm.) cake pan or 10-inch (25 cm.) springform pan.
  • Peel, core and cut the apples into eighths. Place in a large bowl.
  • Mix together the eggs, honey, oil, milk, vanilla and rum. Mix in the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt. Blend together and pour the batter over the apples. Toss everything together and turn into the buttered baking pan.
  • Bake 30 minutes. Note: Because this cake is baked at a rather high temperature, I always linger close by to check on the top. If it browns before the rest of the cake is done, drape a piece of aluminum foil over it and continue baking. You can check the doneness of the cake by sticking a bamboo skewer in the center. If the skewer is clean and not covered with wet batter when you pull it out, the cake’s done.
  • While it’s baking, mix together the topping ingredients.

For the topping: 

  1. 1 large egg
  2. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) unsalted butter, melted
  3. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) brown sugar
  • Pour this topping over the cake after it bakes for 30 minutes, and spread evenly. Return it to the heat and bake uncovered another 10 minutes, until caramelized on the top. Cool in the pan on a rack. Serve warm or cool. The cake reheats well.


— Vic

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Category: Cake, Desserts

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (3)

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  1. Karen Stafford says:

    Hi, Victor! Our new daughter-in-law also is unable to tolerate gluten. I have a rather extensive list of items she is unable to eat, and have spent the past several years adapting recipes to accommodate her needs. (We, too, try to avoid preparing food she is unable to eat when she is going to be here.) This cake looks great, and we will most definitely try it this fall!

    Another product line that I have grown to love is Pamela’s. I keep handy the Baking and Pancake Mix. The recipe on the bag for blueberry muffins is great, as is the biscotti. When I want to adapt a baked goodie recipe that has only a little flour in it, I use this mix and adjust the leavenings to accommodate (Pamela’s website tells you how to do that). Also, when I made my frozen peppermint cheesecake this summer (gluten-free), I purchased Pamela’s gluten-free chocolate cookies to use in the chocolate crust. Jamie loved that she didn’t have to scrape the cheesecake off the crust to eat it!

    Thanks again! Karen

  2. VPanichkul says:

    Hi Karen. Thanks so much for your comment and advice to our readers about another source for gluten-free baking mixes. For our readers, this is Pamela’s gluten-free products web address:

    — Vic

  3. deidra says:

    This would be perfect if I wasnt allergic to eggs! I’ll still make it for my family. Can’t wait to see what they think.

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