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!

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A close up picture of a salted caramel cake covered in white frosting and a golden amber caramel drip. There's a slice cut and it's being taken out of the cake.

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.

A close up picture of a white frosted cake with white buttercream swirls on top, a cookie between each swirl, and a caramel drip going down the sides.

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.

The top view of a salted caramel cake. The frosting is white and the top has frosting swirls around it with a cookie between each swirl. A slice is cut out of the cake.

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.

A salted caramel cake inside slice shot that shows caramel sauce marbled in each vanilla cake layer.

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.

A slice of salted caramel cake. it's laying on a white plate and has salted caramel sauce marbled into each vanilla cake layer. There's a large bitetaken out of the cake slice.

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!

A salted caramel cake topped with white buttercream swirls and a cookie between each swirl. There is caramel sauce dripping over the edge all the way aound the cake.

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!

The inside shot of a salted caramel cake. There are 4 cake layers marbled with salted caramel sauce and stacked with white salted caramel buttercream frosting. Topped with frosting swirls and a cookie between each swirl.

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!

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A salted caramel cake topped with white buttercream swirls and a cookie between each swirl. There is caramel sauce dripping over the edge all the way aound the cake.

Salted Caramel Cake (GF & DF)

  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
  • Yield: 12 Slices 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Fluffy vanilla cake layers marbled with homemade salted caramel sauce and smothered with whipped salted caramel buttercream that will knock your socks off. The best part: everything is gluten-free and dairy-free. But even the most discerning palette won’t be able to tell because this Salted Caramel Cake is 100% delicious.



Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (83ml) dairy-free milk, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (180g) dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Salted Caramel Cake

  • ¾ cup (180ml) dairy-free milk, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup (280g) gluten-free flour 1:1 baking blend *
  • 1 ½ cup (300g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅔ cup (160g) dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons salted caramel sauce

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 1 cup (240g) dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (240g) all-vegetable shortening
  • 6 ¼ cups (750g) icing sugar
  • 1 cup (347g) salted caramel sauce
  • 13 teaspoons fine sea salt **
  • optional: cookies for decor


Salted Caramel Sauce

  1. Place the granulated sugar into a medium pot and begin to cook over medium-high heat. Be careful not to stir as this will form sugar crystals.
  2. Cook the sugar until it turns a deep amber color and immediately remove it from heat.
  3. Very slowly pour in the milk while whisking. Be careful as the mixture will bubble up and may spit.
  4. Add in the butter and whisk together until fully melted and smooth.
  5. Return the caramel to the heat and allow it to simmer gently for 2 minutes while whisking continually.
  6. Remove the caramel sauce from the heat, stir in the salt, and let it cool to room temperature. As it cools it will thicken.
  7. Store the salted caramel sauce at room temperature overnight or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Salted Caramel Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF degrees and spray and parchment line four 6-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer and with the flat beater attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and give it a quick mix together for approximately 1 minute.
  4. Add in the butter, in small pieces, to the dry ingredients and mix on low until it looks like coarse sand.
  5. Slowly pour in approximately half the liquid mixture from step 1 and mix on low for 2 minutes.
  6. Add in the remaining liquid mixture and mix on medium for another 2 minutes. Scrap the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  7. Divide the cake batter into the four prepared cake pans and drizzle on approximately 1 tablespoon of salted caramel sauce in each cake pan. With a butter knife or toothpick, swirl the two together.
  8. Bake for approximately 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs and the cake edges begin to pull away from the cake pans.
  9. Allow the cake layers to cool for 10 minutes and then invert them on a cooling rack to fully cool.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and shortening on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 10 minutes.

  2. Add in the salted caramel sauce and mix on high for another 2 minutes. ***
  3. Add the icing sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix on low until combined. Continue to add salt according to your taste preference.

  4. Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.

Cake Assembly

  1. Level each fully cooled salted caramel cake layer with a cake leveler or knife if needed.

  2. Place one leveled layer of cake on a cake board, plate, and/or cake turntable and top with approximately 1 cup of salted caramel buttercream.

  3. Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  4. Cover the cake with another layer of salted caramel buttercream and smooth the sides with a cake smoother. Refrigerate the cake while you prepare the salted caramel sauce for the drip.

  5. Warm the remaining salted caramel sauce in the microwave until smooth and pourable. Be careful it is not hot though.
  6. On a well-chilled cake, with a spoon or a piping bag, drip the warm salted caramel sauce over the edges of the chilled cake and put it back in the refrigerator to cool. ****

  7. Decorate the cake as you please. I used a Wilton 1m piping tip and piped swirls around the top and placed a cookie between each swirl. Enjoy!

  8. Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.


* I use and love Kinnikinnick gluten-free all-purpose baking blend. Results can vary depending on what gluten-free flour blend you use.

** Begin with 1 teaspoon of salt and increase according to your preferred taste. I used the entire 3 teaspoons.

*** If the caramel sauce is too firm or has been refrigerated warm it up in the microwave (short 5 second bursts) until it reaches a slow but pourable consistency.

**** Caramel drips will never fully set like a chocolate ganache drip. If you want the drip to firm up like a ganache add some white chocolate chips to the sauce when warming it up and stir until fully melted and smooth.

  • Prep Time: 80 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 952
  • Sugar: 74 Grams
  • Sodium: 301 Miligrams
  • Fat: 65 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 41 Grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 12 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 3 Grams
  • Carbohydrates: 95 Grams
  • Fiber: 3 Grams
  • Protein: 7 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 222 Miligrams

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