This caramel apple cake is a fluffy and moist apple spiced cake, layered with vanilla frosting and a drippy caramel sauce. Made without eggs or dairy, this is one show stopping vegan cake!
Vegan Caramel Apple Cake
During the cooler months, instead of meeting friends out for dinner, I love playing host and having cozy and comforting dinner parties. I often always whip up a stew or hearty casserole, and ALWAYS end the meal with a fancy and seasonal dessert. More often than not, I make my famous apple cake, but recently, I wanted to take it up a notch and add some caramel magic to it! One of my favorite flavor combinations is caramel apple, so transforming it into a caramel apple layer cake was imminent.
Now, this caramel apple cake may look fancy and intimidating, but I promise you it is SO easy to make and requires NO fancy kitchen gadgets or ingredients.
No eggs, no oil, and no dairy 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!
I served this the other night when my friends came over for dinner, and NO ONE believed me when I said this cake was secretly vegan and gluten free- It tasted like any bakery cake out there, if not better!
Ingredients for a caramel apple spice cake
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this caramel and apple cake. Please ensure that you use vegan butter from a block, and avoid substituting the ingredients, unless specifically stated.
- 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 in them.
- Sugar of choice– Any granulated sweetener can be used. White sugar, brown sugar, coconut sugar, and also sugar free subs.
- Butter– As this is a vegan cake, I used vegan butter. Be sure to use a vegan butter from a block and NOT from a spread. The latter often has added water that can affect the texture.
- Vanilla frosting– Any vanilla frosting of choice can be used. I used my homemade one, that is also sugar free.
- Caramel– Homemade or store bought. I thinned out a vegan caramel, so it wouldn’t firm up too much when setting.
How do you 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 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 perfect caramel apple cake
- 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 around 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, try and find a dairy free one, to keep this cake vegan.
- For added apple flavor, replace the cinnamon with apple pie spice.
Is this a gluten free cake?
Yes, this recipe has been tested out successfully using gluten free flour. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking flour, which has added xanthan gum in it.
Please note that NOT all gluten free flour blends are the same. Bob’s Red Mill also do another gluten free flour, but that does not include the gum. If you use another brand, be sure that it includes it, otherwise, your cake will not bake correctly.
Can I make this grain free?
I tried using different flours for this cake, including almond flour and coconut flour. While the coconut flour failed, the almond flour worked okay, but just not a great cake texture.
If you’d like a lower carb cake, you can make this keto cake and fold through apple pie spice throughout.
How to store this cake
- 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.
More vegan cakes to try
Caramel Apple Cake
- 3 cups flour white, wholewheat, or gluten free * See notes
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- 2 cups milk of choice I used unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups sugar white, brown, coconut, or sugar free subs ** See notes
- 1 1/3 cups butter vegan or standard, softened
- 1 cup vanilla frosting
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce
- 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.