Sweet and salty has never been so darn tasty as this delicious gluten-free and dairy-free Salted Caramel Cake. I will always be that girl who goes for the decadent cake flavors that precariously walk the yummy line between a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. The best of both worlds, me thinks! And this amazing salted caramel cake is exactly that!
Note: This post contains affiliate links to which I earn a small commission, but don’t worry there’s no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting CAKED by Katie.
Salted Caramel Cake (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)
Homemade salted caramel sauce that packs a heavenly punch of warm and scrumptious caramel flavor. Each fluffy gluten-free and dairy-free vanilla cake layer is marvelously marbled with the caramel sauce for a hit of deep caramel goodness in each bite. Whipped salted caramel buttercream made from that very same caramel sauce wrapped gloriously around each cake layer will leave you licking your plate clean and asking for seconds. This is a true salted caramel cake masterpiece.
How To Make Salted Caramel
Caramel, in all its tasty goodness, can often feel a bit intimidating to make. But I’m here to walk you through this easy homemade dairy-free salted caramel sauce so don’t start sweating yet. The key to caramel sauce is having everything measured and ready to go before you start. Therefore, you don’t have a mad scramble for ingredients and can focus on getting that perfect caramelization.
First, start by adding the granulated sugar to a medium pot and begin to cook over medium-high heat. Do not stir the sugar. Stirring will cause the sugar to crystalize and leave you with a grainy caramel sauce. No bueno! If needed, you can gently swirl the sugar in the pot by the handle but do so very sparingly. Allow the sugar to melt and begin to boil.
Next, continue to let the sugar boil until it begins to change color. This can happen quite quickly so keep your eye on it. Now is not the time to call your aunt Susan for a chat or take a bathroom break. As the color starts to change give the pot a gentle swirl but refrain from stirring or vigorously shaking it. It should start to smell like caramelized heaven.
When you get that deep amber color take the pot off the heat and slowly, very slowly, whisk in the room temperature dairy-free milk. Be careful at this point because the caramel will bubble up and might possibly spit. Once the milk has been incorporated, add in the room temperature dairy-free butter and again, whisk until combined. Return this mixture to the heat and allow to simmer for another 2 minutes.
Salted Caramel Sauce Vs. Regular Caramel Sauce
Now for the last step, after 2 minutes of simmering, take the caramel off the heat and stir in the salt. I’m a salty kind of gal and seeing as this is a salted caramel cake, I highly recommend adding the salt but if you prefer a plain caramel cake, skip this step. Pour the caramel into a heatproof container, I love me a mason jar for this, and allow it to cool to room temperature. As the salted caramel sauce cools, it will begin to thicken.
How To Store Caramel Sauce
I typically make the salted caramel sauce the day before and keep it covered at room temperature overnight but you can absolutely store it in the fridge for up to 14 days. Give it a quick little blast in the microwave to heat it back up slightly before you use it if needed.
How To Make Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cake Layers
This is my first gluten-free cake recipe since the celiac diagnosis my oldest daughter received late this past spring. I spent most of the summer getting comfortable with gluten-free flours and figuring out how to make a delicious cake that would fool even the most gluten and dairy-loving palettes. And I think I’ve finally got it.
Using my beloved reverse creaming method, I used a gluten-free all-purpose flour 1:1 baking blend (make sure it has xantham gum in it) and combined it with the dry ingredients. Second, slowly add the dairy-free butter piece by piece until a sand-like texture is achieved. The last step is to combine the wet ingredients and add them into the sand-like mixture in two separate additions. This is going to create a fluffy, smooth, and incredibly delicious gluten-free and dairy-free vanilla cake.
Hey, wait…I thought this was supposed to be a salted caramel cake?! Well, that’s what this fourth and final step is for! Divide the cake batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and drizzle approximately 1 tablespoon worth of salted caramel sauce on each cake batter layer. With a butter knife or toothpick, gingerly drag the point through the caramel sauce and cake batter creating a haphazard marbling effect. This is going to make the most beautiful salted caramel ribbons throughout each cake layer. Gorgeous and so totally scrumptious!
Dairy-Free Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
Much like the salted caramel cake layers, this frosting begins as my regular go-to Dairy-Free Vanilla Buttercream, but with the addition of the glorious salted caramel sauce we just made, it becomes a smooth and sinfully delicious salted caramel frosting.
A quick word on salt…I said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a salty gal. It’s no secret and I am the first to admit that I favor a tad more salt than the average joe. I used a whole 3 teaspoons of fine sea salt in the salted caramel buttercream. That said, I highly encourage you to start with 1 teaspoon of salt and taste your way from there. No shame if you’re not as salty of a simpleton as I am. Salt the frosting according to your tastebuds.
Salted Caramel Cake
And there you have it my sweet and salty friends, a gluten-free and dairy-free salted caramel cake that will knock your salty (or not so salty) boots off! Seriously! My kids ate their “Sunday Family Cake” slices in a ravenous manner that would lead a stranger to believe I had not fed them all week. On a special occasion, a family dinner, or a cozy weekend baking project, I promise that this amazing gluten-free and dairy-free salted caramel cake will not disappoint you!
Delicious Sweet & Salty Baking Recipes
If you’re like me and can’t get enough of that splendid sweet and salty combo, check these recipes out!
- Salted Bubblegum Funfetti Cake
- Salted Caramel Peanut Fudge
- Salted Maple Coconut Cake
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Sea Salt Granola by Lovely Baking Co.
- Easy Caramel Popcorn by Baked by Blair