This caramel apple cake is a fluffy and moist cake, layered with vanilla frosting and a drippy caramel sauce. Made without eggs or dairy, this is one deceptively easy dessert recipe.
Why this recipe works
- Simple ingredients. There are no eggs needed, and the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples.
- Ready in 30 minutes. This cake is ready to frost in no time.
- Cake or muffin. While baking it as a cake is preferred, this exact batter works as muffins, too.
No eggs and no oil are needed, but you’d never be able to tell! The cake is moist and fluffy, and the vanilla and caramel filling is sweet and creamy. Only a small amount of caramel is used, so it won’t be overwhelming at all!
This recipe calls for pantry staple ingredients that you likely already have on hand. Here is what you’ll need:
- Flour– Any plain baking flour can work, like white flour or wholewheat flour. See my tips below for dietary substitutions.
- Salt– Brings out the sweetness and balance of the cake.
- Baking powder and baking soda– Helps the cake rise and be fluffy inside. The baking soda also reacts with the vinegar to mimic what an egg would traditionally do.
- Cinnamon– A must for any recipe calling for applesauce!
- Milk– I used unsweetened almond milk, but any plant-based milk can be used.
- Vinegar– White vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Unsweetened applesauce– Double-check to make sure your applesauce is 100% unsweetened. More and more supermarket brands have added sugar to them.
- Sugar of choice– Any granulated sweetener can be used. White sugar, brown sugar or coconut sugar.
- Butter– Standard butter or a dairy-free blend.
- Vanilla frosting– Any vanilla frosting of choice works.
- Caramel– Homemade or store-bought. I thinned out a vegan caramel, so it wouldn’t firm up too much when setting.
How to make a caramel apple cake
In a large mixing bowl, start mixing together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of your ingredients and whisk together. Let the batter sit for 5 minutes, before gently folding through your dry ingredients until just combined.
Next, grease and line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper, and distribute the batter amongst them both. Bake for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, before carefully transferring a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cakes have cooled, layer the cake. Spread one cake with a thick layer of vanilla frosting, followed by a thin layer of caramel. Place the second cake on top and top it with the remaining vanilla frosting. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, for the frosting and caramel to set between the cakes.
Tips to make the best recipe
- This recipe makes a layer cake. If you’d like to make this as a single-layer cake, halve all the ingredients. If you’d like to make it a 3-layer cake, double the ingredients and bake the cakes in 3 9-inch pans instead.
- Leave 1-2 inches of parchment paper overhanging the cake, for easy removal. Even better, omit the parchment paper and use a springform pan.
- Any caramel sauce can be used. If you use a store-bought one, choose ones that have a thicker texture.
- For added apple flavor, replace the cinnamon with apple pie spice.
- To store: Cake should always be stored in the refrigerator, covered. Be sure to let the cake sit for 30 minutes before serving.
- To freeze: Store the cake in the freezer, in a sealable container, for up to 6 months.
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Frequently asked questions
To ensure the caramel remains intact, ensure the frosting is thick and creamy. When spreading the frosting on, form a well towards the center to hold extra caramel.
For a richer apple flavor, add thinly sliced apples on top of the caramel.
Yes, this recipe has been tested out successfully using gluten-free flour. I used Doves Farm gluten-free flour, which has added xanthan gum to it.
Caramel Apple Cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line 2 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon, and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of your ingredients until smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Gently fold through your dry ingredients into the wet, until just combined. Transfer the cake batter amongst the two cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 30 minutes, before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, frost the cake. Spread half the vanilla frosting on a cake, covered with the caramel. Place the second cake on top and cover with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, for the frosting between the cake to firm up.