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An apple cider cake styled on a light background with dairy free caramel drizzling on top.

Apple Cider Layer Cake with Dairy Free Caramel Buttercream

This apple cider cake is filled with dairy free caramel buttercream, chopped up apples, cinnamon, and apple cider baked right in! It is super moist and fluffy, you will just love this cake!
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Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Diet: Kosher
Keyword: apple cake for holidays, fall dessert, thanksgiving cake, thanksgiving dessert, the best fall cake
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling and Decorating: 35 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 1 large cake
Calories: 390kcal
Author: Sam Adler


For the cake

  • 12 oz sparkling apple cider
  • 1 gala apple medium, peeled, cored, diced small
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs large
  • 3/4 cup non dairy milk

For the caramel sauce

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp non dairy butter such as earth balance, diced
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream such as trader joes brand, cold
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

For the buttercream

  • 1 cup non dairy butter such as earth balance, at room temp
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tsp dairy free caramel sauce
  • 1 tsp dairy free milk


  • 1 gala apple sliced thin (optional)


Apple Cider Layer Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and spray 3, 9” baking pans with baking spray or line them with parchment paper.
  • In a medium sized pot, add the sparkling cider and bring it to a boil. Continue boiling until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the diced apples to the cider and put the mixture in the fridge to cool.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugars and oil, and beat on medium speed just until combined. Turn the mixer to low add the eggs in one at a time after each one is incorporated.
  • Combine the dairy free milk and the cider together. With the mixer on low, alternate adding in the dry ingredients with the dairy free milk mixture starting with 1/3rd of the dry ingredients and ending with it too.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake edges separate from the pans and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool.

Dairy Free Caramel

  • In a medium sized pot over medium heat add the sugar and stir continuously with a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon.As the sugar heats up it will clump together and turn a golden amber color. Keep stirring well and eventually the clumps will melt.
  • Stand back and add in the Earth Balance or margarine. The coldness of the margarine will cause the sugar to boil vigorously so make sure you are not too close. Stir until the margarine melts, and then slowly add in the coconut cream, standing back again!
  • Add in the salt and stir until combined.Allow the caramel to cool just a little, then add it to a heat proof container.

Dairy Free Caramel Buttercream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add in the cold Earth Balance or butter alternative, and the confectioners sugars and mix on medium speed until combined.
  • Add in the dairy free milk and caramel sauce, and continue to mix on medium speed for 1 minute until light and fluffy. You may have to scrape down the bowl once or twice to mix it well.

Assemble the cake

  • Using a long sharp serrated knife, cut off the domed tops of the cake to create an even top.
  • Place one cake layer on a cake board or plate, and top with ⅓ cup or so of buttercream, smoothing it out evenly over the cake. Add another cake layer, and more buttercream. Top with the last cake layer and frost the whole cake with the remaining buttercream.
  • Take the apple slices (for garnish) and arrange them along the top of the cake, and then drizzle the top with the caramel.Keep in the fridge and enjoy!


  • Dairy free caramel sauce recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction caramel sauce.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice on the apple slices that are for garnish, it will prevent them from turning brown.
  • If the buttercream is too liquidy, add in more confectioners sugar. If it is too dry add in more liquid starting with ½ teaspoon at a time.
  • It's best to use the Earth balance straight from the fridge because it melts quickly. If the buttercream softens quickly, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to harden slightly.


Nutrition Facts
Apple Cider Layer Cake with Dairy Free Caramel Buttercream
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 390 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Polyunsaturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 62mg21%
Sodium 207mg9%
Carbohydrates 44g15%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 6g12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.