Not Your Bubbe's Apple Cake: egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, moist and delicious. The cinnamon glaze is optional. (The Washington Post )

Through much experimentation, tears, frustration and ultimately success, our family can enjoy the holiday favorites that are now allergy-free yet still worthy of a celebration.

This apple cake is one of those recipes. The bonus: It’s cholesterol-free, pareve — and you can lick the bowl afterward.

See the next page for the recipe.

Olney freelance writer Rachel Packer was recently featured in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine. Check out her recipes for Dairy-Free Carrot Mousse, Dairy-Free Mandelbread and Vegan Matzoh Balls on our Recipe Finder. She blogs at

Not Your Bubbe's Apple Cake

12 to 16 servings

The glaze adds a nice cinnamon dimension, but it's optional if you'd like to keep the cake on the not-too-sweet side. Through much trial and error, Rachel Packer found that this particular cake batter rises better in the oven when one batch of it is assembled at a time. (Keep that in mind when you can the list of ingredients and figure out total amounts for shopping. You will need twice the amount of ingredients for the cake batter.)

It comes together in minutes; the directions reflect the slightly staggered baking times of the two layers. The cake also can be baked in two 7-inch wide, 2-inch-deep cake pans; this will leave you with enough batter (and apples) left over to make two cupcakes. Adjust baking times as needed.

MAKE AHEAD: The cake can be made a day in advance.

From Olney cook Rachel Packer; adapted from a cake recipe in Nava Atlas's "Vegan Express" (Clarkson Potter, 2008). The icing recipe is adapted from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World," by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Terry Romero and Sarah Quin (Da Capo, 2006).

For the apples

5 medium Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into medium-thin slices

1 tablespoon sugar

Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tablespoons)

For each cake layer  

1 3/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup very warm water

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ground cinnamon (optional)

For the glaze (optional)  
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted and slightly cooled vegan butter substitute, such as Earth Balance

1 tablespoon plain soy milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the apples: Combine the apples, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl, making sure they are evenly coated. Let them sit for 5 minutes.

For each cake layer: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper. Use one-third of the apples to evenly cover the parchment paper on the bottom of the cake pan; it's okay if the apples overlap. If desired, lightly season the apples with cinnamon.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, then add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Use a wooden spoon to incorporate vigorously to form a smooth batter.
Pour evenly over the apples, then use a round-edged knife to run through the batter, eliminating any air bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes, on the middle oven rack, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake should be golden brown and the cake should have pulled away from the edges of the pan a little.

While the first layer is in the oven, prep a separate, 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking oil spray and parchment paper. Use one-third of the apples to cover the bottom of the pan.

Prepare a separate batch of batter using the same amounts of ingredients used for the first cake layer. Pour evenly over the apples in the second cake pan, then run the round-edge knife through the batter to get rid of any air bubbles. Scatter the remaining third of apples evenly over the batter (so this layer has apples on the bottom and the top). Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool both cake layers in their pans on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes.

While they are cooling, make the glaze: Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, butter substitute, soy milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl to form a smooth glaze. Run a round-edged knife around the inside edge of each pan to make sure the cakes will come out of their pans. Carefully invert the single-apple-layer cake on a cake plate so the apple layer is on top. Discard the parchment paper.

To assemble, invert the double-apple layer cake and discard its parchment paper, then place the layer on top of the first cake layer so each of the bottom apple layers meet in the middle. Pour the glaze evenly over the top of the cake. As soon as it's set, the cake is ready to serve, or it can be stored at room temperature for up to a day.