Low-Fat Apple Cake

Make the most of apple season by baking this low-fat apple cake. It’s not overly sweet, it has a moist, tender crumb, and it’s packed with lemon flavor and fresh apple slices in every bite. Serve it with just a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream!

Slice of apple cake on a white plate.

Easy apple cake recipe

While this cake may look fancy, it couldn’t be easier to make. It’s so simple you can’t mess it up even if you tried! (Perfect for beginner bakers).

It’s such a great recipe to keep up your sleeves when you need a quick and easy dessert for a party or when friends are coming over on short notice.

The best part of it is that apples are available year-round! 🙌🏻

Ingredients and substitution suggestions

This low-fat cake uses pantry staples you already have:

  • Apples – lots of apples – both folded into the batter and layered over the top.  I like to use Pink Lady or Golden Delicious for this cake, but you can use whatever apples you love best. Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Braeburn, and Jonagold are all excellent options. Feel free to combine different varieties.
  • Lemon – lemon zest brightens up the flavor of the apples; lemon juice prevents them from browning. You can omit the lemon zest and replace it with cinnamon or vanilla extract.
  • Eggs – help the batter bake up light and fluffy with good structure.
  • Sugar – I used granulated white sugar.
  • Salt – sharpens the flavors.
  • Flour – I have only tested this recipe with standard all-purpose flour.
  • Baking powder – lifts the batter.
  • Milk – I used 2% cow’s milk for this recipe, but you could use skim, whole milk, or plant-based milk.
Apple cake ingredients on a textured background

How to make this healthyish apple cake recipe

To make this apple dessert, simply…

  • Prep the apples: peel, core, and slice the apples, then toss them in lemon juice.
  • Beat sugar + eggs: beat the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and salt until the mixture is thick and creamy. This will take some time—about 5 minutes.
  • Add the dry ingredients+milk to the batter: add the dry ingredients, beat until just combined, then add in the milk.
  • Fold in the apples: fold in two-thirds of the apples into the batter.
  • Add the remaining apples: pour the batter into the pan, and add the remaining apples on top.
  • Bake: sprinkle with a tablespoon of granulated sugar, and bake.

Serving suggestions

This cake tastes fantastic with just a dusting of powdered sugar on top. But for special occasions, you can serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

How to store leftovers

The sliced apples keep this cake deliciously moist. Store it in an airtight container in a cool place for 2 to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. In warm climates, it is better to store it in the fridge.

You can freeze this low-fat apple cake cake for up to 1 month. Once baked, cool it completely then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Bring it to room temperature before serving.

The recipe is adapted from the book  “La buona cucina di casa” written by the Simili sisters.

More apple recipes:

More cake recipes:

A sliced apple cake dusted with powdered sugar
a slice of apple cake dusted with powdered sugar
5 from 57 votes
Low-Fat Apple Cake
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
Author: Elena Tomasi
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: apple cake recipe, fall baking

This Low-Fat Apple Cake is incredibly easy to make. It has a moist, tender crumb and is packed with lemon flavor and fresh apple slices in every bite.

  • 1.21 lb (550 grams) apples
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon (90 grams) granulated sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon (110 grams) all-purpose flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon (75 ml) milk I used low-fat (2%) milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to sprinkle on top
  • powdered sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (356 degrees F).

  2. Grease and flour a 22 cm (9 inches) pan, and set aside.

  3. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Place the slices in a bowl with the lemon juice, toss to coat, and set aside.

  4. Put the eggs, sugar, grated lemon zest, and salt in a bowl, and beat until thick and creamy.

  5. Add the flour, baking powder, milk, and mix on low speed until combined.

  6. Using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold in two-thirds of the apples into the batter.

  7. Pour the batter in the prepared pan

  8. Arrange the remaining apple slices, flat-side down, over the top. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional).

  9. Bake the apple cake for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top is golden brown.

  10. Cool completely, then dust the cake with powdered sugar just before serving.

  11. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy it!

  • Apples:  I used 3 apples. The weight of the apples was 1.21 lbs (550 grams) BEFORE peeling/coring.  Net weight was 0.86 lbs (390 grams). 
  • Which apples to use: I used Pink Lady for this cake, but feel free to swap in any  apple that holds up well when baked- Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Jonagold are all good options.
  • Baking pan: I baked my cake in a ceramic pan. You can use your favorite pan as long as it’s 9 inches.
  • Baking time – all ovens are different and, therefore, the baking time for this cake may vary. If you notice your cake browning too quickly, simply place a sheet of foil over the top and continue baking. 
  • Nutrition –  Nutrition facts are for 1 of 8 servings. Each serving is approximately 90 grams.
Nutrition Information
Amount per serving (1 slice) — Calories: 133, Fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 18mg, Carbohydrates: 28.6g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 17g, Protein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #aseasyasapplepie. We’d love to see what you come up with!

low fat apple cake on a wooden background

137 comments on “Low-Fat Apple Cake”

  1. This is one gorgeous looking cake, love it!

  2. I love a classic apple cake. And you really have done it justice here – love that it’s so healthy too!

  3. I made this today, it was delicious. I swapped half the flour to whole meal and added a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sultanas, as I didn’t have quite enough apple. I’m going to do again and try and reduce the sagar, using sweetener and some honey, which will mean it would be a good treat for my diabetic dad. Thanks!

  4. This was delightfully good! I used Fuji apples. Substituted honey (lowered the temp to 325F and baked longer for 45mins), whole wheat flour, and almond milk. And even if I didn’t have any lemons on hand (hence, no zest), it still tasted really good. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  5. Gorgeous! I made this for Easter with a cinnamon topping and lowfat buttermilk. The lemon zest is a beautiful hint of flavor. Simply divine, thank you!

  6. Loved the Cake. The simplest,best and healthiest I ever tried. I will do it every week 🙂
    Thank you!

  7. I made this delicious dessert for a BBQ and added some sliced almonds on the top. I served it with vanilla ice cream too! An absolute delight. I’ll definitely make this again.

  8. I made this but added some vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. I also used three egg whites and one whole egg. It turned out fantastic. Thank you for the recipe.

  9. Very tasty for a low fat dessert, and super easy to make. I find it hard to believe that it works out so well, when there’s no shortening at all. Mine didn’t rise very well, but it may have been because I covered the top entirely in the left over apple slices. It looked great, and as I mentioned, it was very tasty.

  10. I do not have a scale to weigh the apples. Approximately how many apples do I need for this recipe?

  11. thank you for sharing can,t wait to try I love apples

  12. Hi,

    This looks great. I am wondering what I could replace the sugar with? Honey, Agave? And, how much do I use?

    Thank you in advance

  13. I made this yesterday and it is delicious! I can’t wait to make it again. Thanks for sharing! I’m type 1 diabetic so I found this great as its low in calories and carbs. I did swap the sugar for erythritol as this helps me reduce the carbs even more and it turned out beautifully. Though in fairness you’ve very little sugar in it anyway!. I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes.

  14. Absolutely delicious. I used barley malt instead of honey and soft dark brown sugar. Definitely making it again!
    Thanks for sharing.

  15. This was delicious! I made an autumn version, adding pumpkin pie spice and vanilla instead of the lemon. My family loved it! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  16. Made this last night, it turned out really well – couldn’t wait to try some and it was lovely straight out the oven, but even better today – the texture has gone a lot more moist and ‘squidgy’ 😀

    Mine came out a bit more like a tart than a cake but I think that was my choice of cake tin…and an apple tart is not a bad thing by any means.

    I’m going to make it again and get fancy with the mix-ins… I fancy some almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla …

    A lovely light dessert, thank you 🙂

  17. This cake is great. I substituted the sugar with honey.

    I also found that the amount of apple was a lot to have the batter cover them as shown in the picture so I just added 50% more batter (meaning I used 3 eggs, 165 g of flour, etc…).

    I just have to learn how to present it! 🙂
    Thank you for this great recipe! Will definitely read your blog more often 🙂

  18. This cake looks absolutely delicious! Can gluten-free flour or a gluten-free flour blend be substituted and, if so, what flour or blend? I would love to know if anyone has tried making this cake gluten free and any changes that were needed.

  19. Made this and it is quick to make, tastes delicious and is just as good the next day. If feeling indulgent this is beautiful with a drizzle of maple syrup and a little Greek yoghurt. Would definitely recommend and will be making again

  20. More or less 10/11 slices

  21. Hi Elena, It’s looks so delicious, I m sure everyone in the home/party or any type of celebration will definitely love it, because it is oil free and everyone love sweets and health-conscious. Mostly people love cakes but due to fat factor, they avoid it. Thanks for sharing it’s recipe.

  22. I have a dear friend who is restricted to a very strict no fat no cholesterol diet. Food choices are limited with variety is the most difficult aspect. I am going to prepare this (using only the egg whites, maybe three) for our annual Christmas Eve dinner dessert. She will be thrilled. Thank you for this.

  23. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G …. and guilt free! <3 <3 <3

  24. This is delicious! By far my favorite desert I have made since I have been being healthy, and even before I was being healthy! I’m so glad.i have found this recipe! Everyone in my house loved it! Thank you so much. Definitely will be making a lot more of this !

  25. Hi

    I just wanted to say i made this over the weekend and its divine. I wish i had put more apple in though as i only put one in but i am definitely going to make it again. Also i used gluten free flour and gluten free baking powder and its lovely.

  26. Made the cake and it turned up awesome. Very light and with natural sweetness. Great recipe and pictures

  27. Substituted the sugar for Swerve and the milk for Almond Milk. Also, about five minutes before it was done, I squeezed the lemon that I zested over the top. Served it with a dollop of low fat cool whip. Turned out divine and NO one even knew it was low…well basically everything. ha! Thanks for the recipe. I’ll hashtag my pic on insta. Happy June!

  28. One of the best apple cake I have ever tasted. Made it last night! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Hi Tabi! It’s the whole apples.
    I hope you will love this recipe 🙂

  30. Just made this cake with soya milk and served hot with vanilla soya yoghurt. It was delicious! Finally I can have my cake and eat it 🙂 (unable to digest fat). Thank you for this recipe.

  31. I made this tonight with only a small modification – I didn’t have any lemons, so substituted the zest with a splash of vanilla and some nutmeg. There didn’t seem to be much batter to the apples, and, to be honest, I thought “this is going to be nasty” as I poured it into the prepared pan. I baked as directed (used a 9″ deep pie pan) and can honestly say, the cake turned out amazing. It’s absolutely delicious, and I didn’t even bother to top it with the powdered sugar. This one’s a keeper – the perfect solution to craving something sweet yet keeping it healthy!

  32. My friend sent me the link to the apple pie recipe and as soon as I read it I wanted to make it. That was last night, I made it this afternoon, and my family had it for dessert after Sunday dinner.
    Oh my, it is absolutely fantastic. I have been losing weight recently and this fits right in with the diet I am following.  It is a rare tasty, sweet treat that doesn’t bust the diet. Thank you!

  33. Absolutely gorgeous and soo filling. An eighth is a really generous portion. Will definitely make it again. Thanks Elena

  34. I made this for my “sewing circle” and they liked it. I don’t keep milk on hand; I substituted Greek yoghurt diluted with water. I could not find a 8.5 inch round pan on line in the US. I used 9”; next time I would use 8”. Served the cake with apricot jam and whipped cream sweetened with honey.

  35. Great recipe! I didn’t have lemon zest, but it was still great. Everyone loved it. Definitely a repeater 🙂

  36. can this cake made 1 day before and refrigerated?

  37. Hi Marta! Thanks for trying the recipe. I’m glad it brought back childhood memories. 🙂

  38. Greetings from South-Africa, I made it today, so easy and tasty.
    Added some lemon juice about three tablespoons and one teaspoon vanilla extract to the egg and sugar mixture.
    Also tossed the apple slices in cinnamon and sprinkled some extra cinnamon over the top. Very yummy and great recipe thank you.

  39. I made this and cut the apple slices in half and squeezed this juice of the lemon over them before adding to the mixture. Plus l added 1 teaspoon of mixed spice to the flour. I left the apple as slices for the topping which gives it such a professional look. All in all very yummy x

  40. Great recipe and pictures

  41. Hello,

    I want to make this recipe, but I only have whole milk instead of the low fat milk on hand. What kind of adjustments would I have to make in order to use whole milk in this recipe?

  42. Great start to my low cholesterol diet. Made an error in not having a deep enough tin and just sprinkled some nutmeg as well as sugar on the top and it was very good.
    Thanks Sally

  43. Hi there! I love this recipe as is I’ve made it a few times and it’s alaays a big hit! Today I decided to venture out a little bit and added vanilla and sprinkled cinnamon on it as well before popping it to the oven. I have about 20 minutes left in the oven. Cross your fingers it comes out great! 

  44. Hi can you please tell me if all purpose flour is plain or self raising.

  45. Delicious. I made the cake today and we loved it. It has a very nice texture and is loaded with apples. I think it may be even better tomorrow. Thank you for the recipe !

  46. Apple cake has always been my very favorite,but it’s so fattening! This looks like a much better option! I’m going to top it with light cool whip,can’t wait to try it!

  47. how can this recipe be healthy with all purpose flour & reg baking powder? SOME OF US HAVE TO EAT ALL ORGANIC & CAN’T CONSUME COCONUTS OR ALMONDS==WE NEED RECIPES FOR US ALSO

    • Joanna, if you search on google there are million of recipes. I am sure you can find one suitable for you 😉

    • Really rude comments,.  Search online for precisely what your dietary preferences/needs are…just saying…

    • Hey Joanna,
      So don’t make this recipe and go find one that works for you!  Jeez, chill girl!

    • What a strange comment! I’m sure you can substitute whatever kind of flour and baking powder you normally use in a DESSERT; there is no coconut or almonds in this recipe…and after all, it is a DESSERT! One of the healthiest I have seen as far as fat and sugar content go.

  48. Absolutely delicious, thank you so much ❤️

  49. This is the first time my 17 years old daughter try to make a cake and it was a real success plus its healthy, moist and delicious.
    Thank you

  50. Elena, thank you so much for posting this recipe! I made if for Thanksgiving and had to ‘sample’ it before I served it because it was my first time baking a from scratch cake (and I was a little nervous about it). I shouldn’t have worried – this cake was sooooo good! I forgot to dust it with the powdered sugar, but it really didn’t need it. I think this cake could become my go-to dessert. Thanks again!

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