Meatless Monday Challenge

Moist Vegan Apple Cake with Streusel Topping

on October 12, 2020
last updated May 21, 2024
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This Vegan Apple Cake With Streusel Topping is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of fall with fragrant cinnamon and the addition of 4 juicy apples to lock in moisture.
close up image of vegan apple cake with slice taken out to reveal moist inside of cake

Looking for a treat to welcome in your favorite season, but exhausted every pumpkin recipe on the internet? This Vegan Apple Cake with Streusel Topping is your new Fall favorite!

I love a delicious apple recipe in the Fall, and this cake is just so easy to eat. It’s moist and fluffy with a crunchy top and highlights the apple so beautifully. I’m not obsessed. YOU’RE obsessed!

AND your kitchen is about to smell like a Fall Harvest without having to buy one of those over-the-top, almost offensive-to-your-nostrils cinnamon brooms.

white plate with slice of apple cake next to whole cake on  a white cake stand

As an environmental scientist, I am always trying to find ways to cut back on foods that have a higher impact on the environment.

The mass production of eggs and dairy farming contributes a staggering amount to our overall greenhouse gas emissions and contamination of soil and water. I always buy local, organic eggs and cheese when I can.

Leaving out the dairy and eggs while baking is a great way to reduce your consumption of eggs and dairy. And it’s just as delicious and at times, more nutritious (you all know I can’t resist a good rhyme when it presents itself).

Green tip: Industrial dairy production has a huge impact on the environment, especially because of the amount of land it takes to sustain and its high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing your dairy consumption is one great way to reduce your ecological footprint.

Vegan Apple Cake Ingredients

Here’s everything you’ll need for the cake:

  • Light brown sugar.
  • Coconut oil.
  • Unsweetened apple sauce.
  • Unsweetened, unflavored non-dairy milk.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • All-purpose flour.
  • Baking soda.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Salt.
  • Sweet apples. I used Gala in the one pictured, but you can also opt for Fuji, Honeycrisp, Ambrosia, Golden Delicious, or Red Delicious. Or any combination of these.
applesauce, flour, cinnamon, salt, apples, coconut oil, non-dairy milk, baking soda, vanilla extract, brown sugar

Here’s everything you’ll need for the crumble topping:

  • Butter.
  • Flour.
  • Brown sugar.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Salt.
cinnamon, brown sugar, flour, salt, and melted non-dairy butter

Dairy-Free Apple Cake Tips and Tricks

You’ll Need A Hand Mixer

A hand mixer is the best tool to cream the sugar and oil together for the base of your vegan apple cake. It’s also the easiest way to combine the rest of the ingredients.

I use this Cuisinart Hand Mixer for almost all of my baking and love it!

Don’t worry, this recipe isn’t chock full of fancy baking techniques, but I do recommend you use a stand or hand mixer to get this batter going.

You really want to beat the brown sugar and coconut oil together until it’s aerated to give you a fluffy cake.

Brown sugar is a little bit thicker than granulated sugar and is a little harder to hand whisk into the oil.

You will also need a cheese grater. But I promise that’s all!

A cheese grater for cake? Stay with me.

creaming oil and sugar

The Moist Maker

Remember that Friends episode where Ross goes crazy because someone was stealing his sandwich at work?

I mean, he’s understandably mad. It’s the leftover Thanksgiving sandwich with Monica’s infamous moist maker—a slice of bread soaked in gravy.

Anyway, this is all to say that this Vegan Apple Cake is so darn good mostly because there is a moist maker at play here.

And it’s in the form of shredded apples.

Peel your apples and use a cheese grater to shred them right down to the core.

It’s best to do this after the rest of your batter is complete, to keep those apple shreds fresh and to avoid them browning.

Fold the shredded apple right into your batter and then pour it directly into your lined or greased cake pan. The batter is thick enough so that all of the apple doesn’t immediately sink to the bottom.

Now set it aside to stop yourself from eating it all before it has a chance to bake. It’s time for your streusel!

shredded apple

Always Grease Your Pan

I like to use a springform pan for easy removal and give it a nice spray with some coconut oil.

This cake is super moist, and the bottom may be a little sticky, so remember to line or grease your cake pan before adding the batter.

adding cake batter to a springform pan

It’s Crunch(y top) Time!

The streusel on the top of this cake gives an extra dose of cinnamon and a little crunch to an otherwise moist and fluffy textured cake.

It’s actually pretty fun to work with, too. I find it’s easy to integrate all the ingredients with your hands.

Melt the butter completely and then let it cool. Wash your paws and then just get in there and work the flour, sugar, and cinnamon into that melted butter.

You should end up with a crumbly texture, somewhere in between sand and play dough. If you feel it’s too wet, don’t be scared to add more flour!

Take a handful and crumble it on top of your cake until it’s coated.

You can use either light or dark brown sugar. Dark brown sugar looks a little more like your classic streusel. It’s a beautiful deep brown and tastes more molasses-y.

I used light brown sugar in the cake pictured, just because that is what I had on hand. You can’t go wrong either way!

adding streusel topping to vegan apple cake

Don’t Be an Eager Beaver

This cake will take 30-40 minutes to cook perfectly, depending on your oven and your pan size. I use an 11 inch round pan and mine is perfect right at 35 minutes!

You’ll know it’s ready because you’ll be able to stick a toothpick in with it coming out clean.

BUT. There’s a but.

You also want a crunchy top!

When you touch the streusel (be careful not to burn yourself!), it should feel nice and crispy. If it’s not, give it just another couple of minutes.

dusting vegan apple cake with powdered sugar

How to Store Vegan Apple Cake

Because there are 4 fresh apples packed right into the batter for this cake, it’s best to keep this cake refrigerated after 24 hours. From then, it will last 4-5 days.

Cover it or slice it and store it in an airtight container, or you can opt to freeze it for up to 3 months before thawing and enjoying it within 5 days.

slice of super moist apple cake on a white plate with a gold fork

Why You Should Make this Vegan Apple Cake

  • The texture. It’s so incredibly fluffy and moist.
  • It’s bursting with flavor. Between the apples, apple sauce, and cinnamon, that cinnamon apple flavor really shines!
  • That stresel top! Crispy. buttery, and just the right amount of salt on top.

Love this Vegan Apple Cake with Streusel Topping and are looking for more Fall-inspired recipes? Check out this Drunken Apple Pie with Bourbon Drizzle and or this One-Pot Autumn Squash Soup.

close up image of vegan apple cake with slice taken out to reveal moist inside of cake

Moist Vegan Apple Cake with Streusel Topping

5 from 1 vote
Marley Goldin
This Vegan Apple Cake With Streusel Topping is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of fall with fragrant cinnamon and the addition of 4 juicy apples to lock in moisture.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 1 cake



Vegan Apple Cake

  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil (in solid form)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I use coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 sweet apples, shredded (I use Gala)

Streusel Topping

  • ¼ cup non-dairy butter, melted
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light or dark brown sugar (tightly packed)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)


Vegan Apple Cake

  • Preheat an oven to 350°F and line or grease an 11-inch cake pan (springform preferred).
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and oil together until well combined.
  • Add apple sauce, milk, and vanilla extract and mix well.
  • With your hand mixer on low, add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt until a thick batter forms and set aside.
  • Peel the skin off the apples and use a cheese grater to shred the apple into a large mixing bowl.
  • Use a spatula to fold the shredded apple into the cake batter.
  • Pour the batter into your prepped cake pan and set it aside to prepare your streusel.

Streusel Topping (Optional)

  • Melt the butter in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until completely liquefied.
  • Add butter to a mixing bowl with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Use a whisk to combine, forming a crumbly mixture. If your mixture isn't crumbly, add a little more flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is nice a crumbly.
  • Use clean hands to crumble the mixture on top of your cake.
  • Bake cake for 30-40 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional) and enjoy!

Pro Tips

  • Grate your apple last to avoid it from browning.
  • Whether you’re hosting a party, it’s someone’s birthday—or it’s just a rainy Tuesday!—this selection of my best cake recipes has a great cake for every occasion.
Course Dessert
Cuisine European
Diet Vegan
Keyword Apple, Apple Cake, Cake, Cake With Streusel, Vegan Cake
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2 thoughts on “Moist Vegan Apple Cake with Streusel Topping”

  1. Sarah Greenberg

    5 stars
    I probably ate this in a day! I can’t get enough! I would definitely recommend making this. It’s perfect for the holidays.

5 from 1 vote

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