Sour Cream Apple Cake

A moist and sweet gluten-free apple cake with sour cream.

Tis the season for flourless cakes, so I thought I might reprise one of my first gluten-free recipes, based on a traditional Jewish apple cake recipe I had used for years. Using nut meal instead of flour is a baking tradition in Eastern Europe and a favorite way to make a cake during the season of Passover. Almond meal makes this cake a dense, chewy and delicious dessert or a perfect snack with tea.

Karina's Jewish Apple Cake Recipe with Sour Cream

Almond meal gives this gluten-free wheat-free apple cake a satisfying chewy texture. Both blanched and regular almond meal works. Blanched almonds produce a slightly softer flour.


5 medium apples, room temperature, peeled, cored (I use a mix of both tart and sweet apples)
A little lemon juice for spritzing the apples

Wet ingredients:

3 large organic free-range eggs
1 cup packed organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract [or use Kosher vanilla powder, to taste]
3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream

Dry ingredients:

2 cups almond flour aka almond meal
1/4 cup rice or sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch or tapioca starch
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder* see notes
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon McCormick Apple Pie Spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

To assemble:

Organic light brown sugar
1/2 cup pecan or walnut halves


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 10-inch Springform pan with greased parchment paper. Springform pans are deeper than average cake pans.

Chop the apples and toss them into a bowl; spritz with a little fresh lemon juice. Toss to coat.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs with the sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, oil and sour cream; beat to combine.

Stir together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add them into the wet mixture and combine well.

Drain the apples, if necessary (you don't need any extra lemon juice). Toss them in a light sprinkle of cane sugar.

Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan.

Add the drained sugared apples into the batter. Shake the pan a bit.

Add half of the nuts.

Pour the remaining batter on top of the apples; shake the pan again to distribute the batter around the apple pieces.

Add the rest of the nuts to the top and lightly press in.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven. The cake should be done in about 60 to 70 minutes. Test for doneness with a small thin knife. If the cake begins to over-brown before it is done, cover the edges loosely with pieces of foil.

Cool on a rack for ten ten to fifteen minutes. Loosen the cake gently from the sides of the pan with a thin spatula. Release the clasp and remove the pan ring. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve warm or room temperature.

Wrap up leftover cake slices individually in foil; seal in a freezer bag, and freeze. To thaw, unwrap and allow the cake to reach room temperature.

Servings: 8 - 10

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Enjoy sugary treats in moderation. Gluten-Free Goddess advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day.

Recipe Notes: 

As always, make sure the oven is preheated.   

I used large eggs, not extra large. 

Make sure the apples are drained well and not cold. 

If you use a smaller cake pan the cake may stay wet in the center. 

I baked this cake at sea level and it took an hour; but as always, go by your own experiential wisdom. If the cake needs a bit longer to bake, please do so, and keep an eye on it. 

Sometimes I mix it up and use a combo of pears and apples.



  1. Heather19:24

    Karina: What a lifesaver! I was just lamenting the fact that I would not be able to make and eat my favorite apple cake recipe! Quick question: Can this be made the day before?

  2. Hi Heather!

    Yes, you can make it a day ahead. Just keep it tightly wrapped.

    If you're going to make it ahead, I'm thinking it might be wise to add some honey in [honey is a humectant and attracts moisture]. Try adding two tablespoons; and use two tablespoons less sour cream. If the batter seems stiff, add the sour cream back in.

    This is a *stiffer than usual* cake batter.


  3. sounds yummy as usual karina. will have to try it soon. also wanted to say that your continually evolving look for the website is looking really great lately - love the warm colours!

  4. Looks yummy! Can't wait to try it.

    And..I love the new picture at the looks great.

  5. This looks great! I wish I could find Kosher for Passover baking powder, though. It's hard to find, as it's usually made from corn derived ingredients. I'll add this to my Passover roundup with a note regarding baking soda and baking powder. Yum!

  6. Gefen makes a corn-free, kosher-for-Passover baking powder. I found this in IL, but haven't seen in Boston.

    Manischewitz lists many substitutions for Passover (probably useful for any gf cook to know). For baking powder, it suggests 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar.
    Manischewitz Substitutions List

  7. Thanks, M - I haven't been able to find either of these in this area, but haven't been to our (tiny) local kosher market yet. If I can't find it I'll use Karina's recipe.

  8. wow - now that's a warm, cake photo, and a perfect one at that. this really looks divine. i love flourless cakes -- the richness really hits you in the taste buds!

  9. This looks so good that I think I may just have to make it next week. Mmmm.... I love the idea of a flourless apple cake- flourless chocolate is always what I think of first, but really, the options are limitless...


  10. I made it and blogged about it! Very, very yummy! Thanks again... It made a great dessert for Easter.


  11. Note to readers: This recipe has been updated. Thanks!

    Karina xox