Berrylicious Gluten Free Apple Cake

By Amanda Paa – Updated September 7, 2021
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

As soon as I stepped off the plane from Alaska onto Minnesota soil, I knew fall had arrived. The day I left was a scorcher, topping 94 degrees with a sticky humidity, but none of that remained.

It’s like the universe has a way of pushing summer out when the state fair ends, and to tell you the truth, that’s about when I’m ready for it. Leggings, boots, scarves…… apples, butternut squash, parsnips…… these are some of my favorite things.

For the past couple of years I thought I wanted to move away from the “land of 10,000 lakes”. Winters are pretty brutal – not because I can’t handle the snow or cold, but because it lasts SO long.

We typically get our first snow around November 1st and they last sometime in April. That’s six months of bundling up under a cool blue sky, and the quiet air hangs forever, besides the cracks of frozen sidewalk underneath your feet.

Berry Apple Buckle Cake {gluten-free} via heartbeet kitchen blog
Berry Apple Buckle Cake {gluten-free} via heartbeet kitchen blog
Berrylicious Gluten Free Apple Cake
Berry Apple Buckle Cake {gluten-free} via heartbeet kitchen blog
Berry Apple Buckle Cake {gluten-free recipe}

But as I travel more, I see the beauty in my home state more than I ever have before. And I’m realizing that the change of seasons is important for my mind too, letting me internally reset and pause.

My kitchen welcomes the transformation too, creativity and exploration of what’s fresh and flourishing.But as I travel more, I see the beauty in my home state more than I ever have before. And I’m realizing that the change of seasons is important for my mind too, letting me internally reset and pause.

The weekend before I left, I picked up a bag of local apples at the farmers market, and packed several of them in my travel bag. I put the rest in the refrigerator, knowing they’d last at least a few weeks if kept cold.

Berry Apple Buckle Cake {gluten-free} via heartbeet kitchen blog
Berrylicious Gluten Free Apple Cake

Upon returning home, I pulled the apples out of the crisper, having the urge to bake and embrace the comfort of something warm. I tossed around ideas about making a crisp, crumble, slump, or buckle – all the fruit laden classics that I can never remember the definitions of.

Making a Gluten-Free Apple Cake

I decided on a buckle cake, which is made in the oven and as it bakes, it buckles – the fruit lightly sinking into the batter, and the moist cake puffing up around it. My version uses apples & frozen organic blackberries, not too sweet and ultra soft thanks to the delicate balance of almond & quinoa (new to me! which I discovered can be overpowering in taste, so it really doesn’t work as a standalone) flours.

As it sits, the texture of this gluten free apple cake gets even better. Barely dense, making for the perfect bite, even allowing you to pick up a piece and eat it without a fork if you choose. The burst of flavor from the apples and berries is delightful, and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t make a great breakfast too.

Or you can top it with date caramel swirled coconut milk ice cream like I did, and escape for just a moment into a little piece of heaven. Happy autumn my friends!

Berry Apple Buckle Cake {gluten-free recipe}

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes:

Save This Recipe Form

Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below & we’ll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get more great recipes and tips from us each week!

gluten free berry apple cake with a few slices cut out

Berrylicious Gluten Free Apple Cake

A soft, gluten free vanilla cake with apples and blackberries that sink into to the top of the cake. It's easy to make, and has such lovely flavor. This recipe is dairy free, too!
No ratings yet
Prep Time :20 minutes
Cook Time :35 minutes
Total Time :55 minutes
Yield: 1 (8 inch) cake
Author: Amanda Paa



  • 1 pound of apples like Cortland, Pink Lady, or Gala
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, or cornstarch
  • 110 grams blanched almond flour
  • 50 grams quinoa flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup raw honey (should be runny)
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen organic blackberries or blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Then heat a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the apples, honey and cinnamon. Stir to combine, then let cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the tapioca starch over the apples, then stir to combine.
  • Cook for another 4 minutes on medium heat so the apples thicken, and are lightly softened. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.
  • Meanwhile, combine almond flour, quinoa, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together coconut milk, egg, honey, lemon juice and vanilla. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry, then combine with a whisk until no dry streaks remain.
  • Line a 8 inch round cake pan with parchment paper or grease well with coconut oil. Then pour batter into pan, and scatter apples and berries over the top.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack completely before slicing. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Did you make this?

tag @heartbeetkitchen on instagram and hashtag it #heartbeetkitchen

September 18, 2015


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Porscha

    Do you have cup measurements for the flours?

    • Amanda Paa

      hello! i don’t have the cup measurements because measuring by weight is so important in gluten-free baking.

  2. Lila

    Hello! I was wondering if this cake can be made vegan by subbing the egg with a flax egg? Thanks!

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Lila!
      I haven’t tested this cake with a flax egg. You could certainly try! And if you do, let me know the results.

  3. Deborah Hocevar

    I’m loving your recipes and enjoy your writings about your experiences. Thanks for sharing them. I have just found out I am allergic to almonds – I know, mini-crisis for sure – and wonder what flour I could substitute instead?
    Thanks so much.

    • amandapaa

      Hi Deborah! I haven’t made this with another flour instead of the almonds, but I would try cashew meal in the same weight measurement.

  4. Megan {Country Cleaver}

    I followed along on your trip to Cordova thorugh Instagram, and it gave me so much longing to go back there – I was there with CRS three years ago and it was transformative. But there is no place like home, and that feel of fall in the air when you get home to bake endlessly. And this is absolutely beautiful!

  5. Lindsey | Mabel & the Wooden Spoon

    This is so so SO beautiful. I love this time of year, between seasons. And, if you ever do decide to leave Minnesota, Virginia will welcome you with open arms. ;-)

    • Amanda Paa

      thank you Lindsey! trust me, after seeing all the pictures of Virginia that you post, i’m dying to visit at least. :) xo

  6. Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen

    What a gorgeous autumn dessert, Amanda! I love buckles (I make a pear one quite often at this time of the year), because they are so easy to make and showcase fruit so beautifully. Have you seen The Great British Baking Show? I think you would love it – it’s inspiring me to bake much more often!

  7. Faith (An Edible Mosaic)

    This cake is truly a thing of beauty and the perfect way to celebrate the changing of the seasons. I’m originally from Buffalo and I think (it sounds like) the climate is pretty similar to Minnesota. Here in NoVA/DC we have a much less pronounced changing of the seasons, but the weather has been very fall-like the last couple of days so I’ve been in my element. I love this time of year so much! xoxo

  8. Renee

    Such a delicious looking recipe, I so want to make this soon, yum !!

  9. Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet

    Minnesota truly is a beautiful, remarkable place. I may be from Indiana, but after living here for two years I truly feel like this state is my home. It will always have a special place in my heart. Can’t wait to read about your Alaska trip! This buckle looks so cozy — perfect for the season. :)

  10. Sherrie

    Your trip to Alaska looked amazing {via my Instagram stalking}, and I can’t wait to see more of it!! Also buckle cake is my new favorite post of yours. Really, seriously, stunning Amanda. All the love! xx

    • Amanda Paa

      i love instagram for the stalking as well – your hot air balloon pictures were stunning! and thanks so much for the love, xo

  11. candace

    My mother was born in Michigan and lived in Minnesota until WW2 when she joined the navy, met my dad, married him and lived the rest of her life in Oregon. Though she loved Oregon she always said she missed the “real” seasons of Minnesota. Out here we have giant blackberries taking over the countryside. They are big and sweet and everywhere, very seedy though. Might try them.

  12. Tessa | Salted Plains

    This is gorgeous, Amanda! I love how simple buckles are to put together and the outcome is so delicious. I’ve been curious about quinoa flour but have not yet used it. This is the perfect recipe to try it out! xo.

    • Amanda Paa

      Thanks Tessa! Quinoa flour has a really nice texture. As I mentioned, the flavor can be a little overpowering so I don’t think I would ever use it as a standalone. But maybe in savory applications!

  13. Mollie K

    Gorgeous photos! Do you think I could use all almond flour instead of quinoa flour? I just don’t have it on hand…thanks :)

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Mollie! You’ll need to use both flours, otherwise the flour will be too dense. If you have millet flour on hand, I think that would be a good substitute for the quinoa, but I have not tested it that way so guarantees. Happy weekend!

  14. Maggie

    Hi Amanda, This buckle looks so good I can’t wait to make one! I missed the amount of coconut oil in the ingredients list. Can you please tell me what I missed?
    My ingredient list only has 3/4 C full fat coconut milk. Thanks, Maggie

    • Amanda Paa

      that was a typo! sorry :) no coconut oil needed, just the coconut milk. i edited the directions to reflect. enjoy!

  15. Jenny B | Honey and Birch

    This is such a gorgeous dessert – I don’t think I’ve ever made a buckle before, but I have apples and frozen berries so I’m all set! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yes, I think you’ll love the buckle! It’s so neat how the cake envelopes the fruit. Thanks for stopping by Jenny.

  16. Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps

    Envious of your Alaska trip! I never even realized I wanted to go to Alaska until my in-laws went a few months back, and their pictures could not have been more stunning. While I’ve been trying to avoid fall like the plague, I’ve been caving in the last week and started to slowly welcome it. This is the perfect transitional summer to fall dessert, a little bit of both seasons!

  17. Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction

    What a perfect way to welcome autumn! This cake is beautiful!

    • Amanda Paa

      thanks Jessica! happy fall ;)

  18. heather @french press

    SUCH a gorgeous cake! and I misss the changing season so badly. Minnesota was one of the nicest places I have lived, and I miss it all the time.

    • Amanda Paa

      Heather, I didn’t know you lived in Minnesota! Where abouts?

  19. Julie | Small Green Kitchen

    I will be experiencing the brutal Minnesota winter this year. My boyfriend and I are going to see his family at Christmas. They live in the Hibbing area and I think we are going to stay in Duluth, and maybe for a night in Minneapolis because I want to see the city! I cannot wait but I know I am going to be extremely cold! I’ve lived in Florida all my life and have only seen snow once. :)

    This cake is gorgeous, Amanda, The berries look incredible. I wish I had a slice to enjoy right now!

    • Amanda Paa

      Minnesota will embrace you! :) But yes, prepare for the cold. Duluth is wonderful, and if you get to Minneapolis I’d love to meet up. Just bring hats and mittens. It will be so fun for you to see snow if timing cooperates! xo

  20. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    Cheers to Autumn! I’ve had a hard time letting go of summer, but I think now I’m ready for the next phase. Fall is truly my favorite time of year. Love this gorgeous buckle. It’s like a little bit of celebration of both summer and fall.

    • Amanda Paa

      yes, a mashup of summer & fall for sure! so great to meet you in person this week. xo

  21. Marye

    Oh wow! This looks so gorgeously delicious!

  22. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    I’ve felt the same way about the Midwest at times. I always think ‘I want to live somewhere exotic!’, but eat time I come back, I love the ‘feel’ and friendliness that comes with the big town/small town vibe (especially in Milwaukee). I can’t wait to see more pictures from your Alaska trip, the ones you shared already look gorgeous and oh so lovely!