Lake Isle Press

Apple Surprise Cake

A layer of sliced apples hides at the bottom of this cake. If only all of life's surprises were so sweet!

Apple Surprise Cake


  • 2 large Granny Smith apples (tart apples work best in this recipe), peeled and cored
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, solid, or unsalted butter, softened
  • 45 grams (1/4 cup) coconut sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Batter for 1 Single Layer Almond Flour Yellow Cake:
  • 170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour
  • 57 grams (1/2 cup) tapioca starch
  • 85 grams (1/2 cup) coconut sugar or evaporated cane juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, grain-free store-bought
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 66 grams (1/3 cup) grapeseed oil
  • 3 large eggs (about 150 grams out of the shell)
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) milk, dairy-free or traditonal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups vanilla frosting, chocolate frosting, or maple frosting (optional)


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Whisk the almond flour, tapioca starch, coconut sugar, baking poder, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Slice one of the apples into ½-inch-thick slices. Melt the coconut oil over medium heat in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet. Stir in the coconut sugar. Cook until the sugar bubbles, about 1 minute. Add the apple slices and stir to coat with the coconut oil and coconut sugar. Use the back of a spoon to spread the apples into one layer. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the apples soften, about 5 minutes.

While the apples cook, dice the remaining apple into small bite-size pieces. Stir the diced apple and cinnamon into the batter. Spread the batter over the cooked apples.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean, about 25 minutes.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan. Carefully turn the cake out onto a large plate. To do this, invert a large plate onto the skillet. Hold the plate firmly with one hand and use the handle of the skillet to turn the whole thing over. Be careful; the skillet will be hot, so use a pot holder or towel.

Store in the refrigerator, wrapped, for up to 3 days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

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