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An apple cake covered in salted caramel frosting with cinnamon specks. Caramel sauce is dripped over the top of the cake and buttercream swirls around the top of the cake.

Gluten-Free Apple Cake (Dairy-Free)

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  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
  • Yield: 14 Slices 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Perfect for autumn, this gluten-free and dairy-free apple cake is paired with the most delicious salted caramel buttercream frosting with a hint of cinnamon and finished off with a decadent salted caramel drip.


Units Scale

Apple Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups (350g) gluten-free 1:1 flour blend *see note
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum **see note
  • 1 3/4 cups (350g) brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature *can sub liquid egg replacer for vegan
  • 3/4 cup (177ml) canola or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (177ml) dairy-free milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) applesauce, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large apples (216g), peeled and shredded ***

Salted Caramel Sauce/Drip

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59ml) water, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (79ml) dairy-free milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (56g) dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 2 1/2 cups (560g) dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
  • 6 3/4 cups (810g) icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (140g) salted caramel sauce, room temperature


Apple Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and prepare three 8-inch round baking pans with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and xanthan gum (if using) and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, milk, applesauce, and vanilla extract and whisk together until smooth.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients from step 2 and whisk together until fully incorporated.
  5. With a spatula gently fold the shredded apples into the batter until just combined.
  6. Divide the cake batter evenly into the three prepared 8-inch round baking pans and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake layers on the cooling rack and allow them to fully cool. If freezing the cake layers for a later time, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

Salted Caramel Sauce/Drip

  1. In a medium pot, combine the sugar and water and swirl together until the sugar is covered in water. Place on medium heat and begin to cook until the sugar is fully dissolved. Swirl the pot every minute or so but do not stir.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Place the lid on the pot and allow the mixture to gently simmer until it turns a light amber color. Check the mixture every minute and remember to swirl and not stir. It should take approximately 5-10 minutes.
  3. Once the mixture has reached an amber color immediately remove it from the heat and whisk in the milk. Be careful as the caramel sauce is quite hot and might bubble up.
  4. Add in the butter and salt and mix until combined. Pour into a heatproof jar. Keep at room temperate if using right away in the buttercream or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. It may separate slightly when cooled so simply reheat in the microwave if need be and stir to combine when you are ready to use it.

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
  2. Add in the icing sugar, cinnamon, and salt and mix on low until combined.
  3. Add in the salted caramel sauce and mix on low until combined.
  4. Turn the mixer to high and allow to beat for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.


* Check to see if the gluten-free flour blend contains xanthan gum or not.

** Omit the xanthan gum if the gluten-free blend already contains it or if you are not using gluten-free flour.

*** I used tart granny smith apples but you can use whatever you prefer.

  • Prep Time: 60 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 876
  • Sugar: 91 Grams
  • Sodium: 127 Miligrams
  • Fat: 52 Grams
  • Carbohydrates: 113 Grams
  • Fiber: 3 Grams
  • Protein: 5 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 111 Miligrams