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Vegan German Apple Cake

They say we have a rainfall deficit of over 19 inches, but they are measuring the wrong rain. In my backyard, the downpour hasn’t let up since late July. Apple rain.

El Niño is a fickle fellow, but my apple tree is so reliable that I hardly have need of a calendar. In April she peeps coquettish from beneath her veil of peplum blossom. In May she sprawls verdant, the drowsy queen a-maying with her courtiers—the simpering sparrows. In June she secrets away tea green orbs amongst the fringe of her mantle. In July the rising sun peaches the wan apple skins. In August comes the apple monsoon.

We live under incessant bombardment. The blushing bombs explode on the brick patio, worm-trailed flesh erupting. How to dispose of the bodies?

In a metal-walled recipe box sturdy as a bunker hides Auntie Dorothy’s German Apple Cake. Her cake presided over the buffet table whenever the loosening family knot pulled tight once more. By the time I sprouted up, the aunt, the cake, and the gatherings had disintegrated. But we still have the recipe card, looping letters entwined in gentle embraces, the perfect penmanship of Dorothy’s little sister, my Granny.

Homegrown Apples

German Apple Cake

Adapted from Auntie Dot and Sugar and Cinnamon


  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups apples chopped into thin triangles
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, agave, or honey
  • ½ cup nondairy milk


Preheat the oven to 300° F and grease an 8-inch round cake tin or similar.

Stir together the flax seed and water, set aside to gel.

Chop apples and toss with brown sugar.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the oil, applesauce, syrup, milk, and flax mixture until smooth. Add wet to dry, stirring just until combined. Fold in the apple slices.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and the middle springs back when you gently nudge it.