Mix the dry ingredients (garbanzo flour through nutmeg) together in a large bowl.
In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, melt the margarine, stir in sugar and dissolve. Add the molasses and applesauce to the margarine and sugar and heat gently while stirring to thoroughly combine.
Make a well in the flour mixture, and pour in warm wet ingredients. Stir until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Pour batter into a greased 9″ round cake pan. Bake in the center of the oven at 350 °F for 35 minutes or until cake springs back to the touch.
To prepare the caramel apple topping, peel and dice the 3 apples. Melt the 4 Tbsp margarine in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the apples and cook for about 5 minutes until the apples begin to soften. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook over medium-low to medium heat for approximately 25 minutes until the apples are very soft and the liquid has reduced. Yield 1 1/2 cups.
Serve gingerbread warm or at room temperature with 2-3 Tbsp warm topping.
The challenge of making a decadent, Thanksgiving table worthy gluten, soy, dairy, and egg-free dessert was the inspiration for this recipe. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but is no more difficult to make than any other gingerbread or coffee cake once you have them all on hand. The caramel apple topping could also be used with many other recipes or treats.
1/4 cup maple syrup may be substituted for 1/3 cup applesauce.