apple coffee cake with title

My husband and I recently took a quick trip to the mountains near Asheville to relax and play deluxe Scrabble. My only goal while we were there was to pick some Arkansas Black apples and make some sort of fall treat. Why Arkansas Black apples? Well, I love tart, crisp apples, non of that Cameo sweetness for me. AB apples are almost as tart as Granny Smith, but with a softer edge and sweeter overall bite. I LOVE them. I ate one about two years ago from a farm in NC, and haven’t been able to forget about it since. We went to Justus Orchard in Hendersonville, NC. When we got there, my husband went to ask if they had this particular kind of apple, and the older man said, “yep, there out there, you just have to find ’em.” I grabbed the apple wheelbarrow and headed straight into the middle of the orchard. I was on a mission, and I was not leaving without at least a half-bushel to take home and enjoy for the next few weeks. My husband and I found our row, and we both went to work.

picking apples ellenmicah picking apples

There were plenty of AB apples, and we were done picking over a half bushel in about 10 minutes. Our dog also loved picking apples. She roamed in and out of the rows, and finally snuggled down to watch us once we found our apple row.

tux with apples

Once we were back at the cabin, I started thinking about what I could make with our new apples. I love making apple crisp but I wanted something more like bread, and something I could possibly spread the pure Apple Butter we bought at the orchard on as well. I started thinking about coffee cake, and I set about to make it in the little cabin kitchen. It turned out great, and my husband who always has critiques for my cooking said it was perfect! I also made it at work last week, my co-workers enjoyed it as well, and it made the entire office smell like CINNABON… way more effective than a scented candle. I hope you enjoy, it’s a wonderful seasonal treat!

Grain-Free Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake (makes 9-12 servings):

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, diced fresh apple (about 3 small to medium apples)


  • 4 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 6 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 9-inch square or circular baking dish or pan with butter or coconut oil
  2. Combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, salt, baking soda, and pecans in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter or coconut oil, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir the mixture until thoroughly combined, the batter will be very thick.
  4. Fold in the chopped apple until well combined.  Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish. Using a spatula, gently push the batter into place making it as level as possible.

Now the topping:

  1. Combine cinnamon, butter or coconut oil, maple syrup and pecans or walnuts in a bowl.  Spread the topping over the cake batter. 
  2. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 1 hour on a wire rack.  Slice and enjoy!

**Note: It’s going to look dark and burnt, even before you bake it because you don’t have all that refined sugar to whiten up the topping like you do with conventional coffee cake. Don’t fret, it’s not burnt, it’s maple cinnamon goodness!