Unique Thanksgiving Recipes: Rustic Buckwheat Apple Cake

A Thanksgiving favorite, reimagined…

Can I share something with you? I’m not really much of a cook. Never have been. It surprises some people when I confide that to them, especially when they’re aware of the number of recipes I post to this blog. But while my other half gleefully takes on the task of dreaming up what we’ll eat for lunches and dinners and everything in between, it’s baking that has always been the more meditative, enjoyable experience for me. While some are quick to write off baking as a difficult and time-consuming process, I love the magic of it. Mixing one set of ingredients with the other in a specified order, stirring until just combined — nothing more, nothing less — eventually pulling the (hopefully edible) product of my efforts from the oven to be enjoyed in a quiet moment right then and there, or later on in the week when a little respite is needed. My own personal science experiment.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I’ll be contributing to our menu. In recent years, Thanksgiving has become one of my favorite holidays. Void of the familial pressures and obligations that come with the December festivities, Thanksgiving is a day when we stay right where we are and enjoy the autonomy that comes with living a little too far from home. Naturally, the sides and desserts have always been my favorite part of the mini feast, a meal unto themselves and totally deserving of their own spotlight, so this week I’ve whipped up four healthy variations of my Thanksgiving favorites to share with you. Whether you prefer savory or sweet, there’s a little something for everyone at the table.

Apple pie has long been a favorite of mine, and everyone else in this world it seems. A seasonal classic, but perhaps a bit routine at this point. For this recipe I’ve traded the traditional apple pie for a rustic skillet cake, one that’s perfect as dessert or a Thanksgiving morning breakfast, and an easy way to use up the remaining apples you likely picked in early October. This recipe is naturally gluten-free, thanks to the buckwheat (despite the wheat in its name, buckwheat is actually derived from the seeds of a flowering plant and more closely related to rhubarb) and can be easily made vegan by switching out the eggs for two flax eggs or two tablespoons of ground chia seeds mixed with six tablespoons of water soaked for 30 minutes and mixed with a pinch of baking soda.

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Rustic Buckwheat Apple Cake


About 2-3 peeled apples, thinly sliced

2 eggs (or two flax eggs if making vegan)

2 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp blackstrap unsulfured molasses

2 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup coconut milk or almond milk

Coconut oil or butter for skillet

9-inch skillet or baking dish (if using a baking dish, baking time will be longer)



Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Use butter or coconut oil to generously grease the bottom and sides of the skillet. Peel, core and slice the apples into think half moons and arrange in concentric circles in the baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients until combined. Pour the batter over the apples in the skillet and wiggle gently to allow the mix to spread evenly.

Bake in heated oven for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Carefully remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve warm in the skillet, or turn the cake out and store in the refrigerator. This is best enjoyed within one to two days of baking.

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Stay tuned for three more unique Thanksgiving recipes later this week.

+What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Be sure to share in the comments!

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  1. I have to say, I’m impressed. When I received this in the last Free People email, I thought to myself, “now if this recipe DOESN’T include refined sugar and has coconut sugar instead, that means they’re “in the loop” of conscious eaters, people who choose to eat healthier and live healthier lives. Lo’ and behold, your recipe had just what I was hoping for, including other healthy ingredients. Good to know that the team at Free People are onboard with healthy living—knowing that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to mean deprivation but having the knowledge on the alternative ingreds. to make yummy treats such as this. My hat is off to you … and thank you. Will for sure make this as it looks and sounds very yummy. :)

  2. Have finally tried this – fabulous!!! The nutmeg with apples and buckwheat give a great flavour!!! However it would stick to the baking dish – any tips to prevent that?

  3. This recipe is brilliant, I used the flax eggs, replaced molasses with honey and coconut sugar with brown sugar as I didnt have the called-for ingredients. Absolutely delicious, moist cake.

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