Introducing The Apple Cider Layer Cake!!! Layers of soft cinnamon apple cider cake surrounded by luscious apple cider cinnamon buttercream topped with an apple cider caramel drip. Yup. It’s autumn on a fork. Apple cider isn’t in season where you live? You can use a natural style apple juice instead! Oh and of course, it’s gluten free, nut free, egg free and easily vegan!
I just love apple cider flavored desserts. I can’t get enough!
Apple Cider Donuts?! I could eat them all day!
I even have an Apple Cider Cookie recipe!
With that said, I knew I had to create a layer cake using these flavors of apple cider and cinnamon!
This cake was so fun to make and it’s sooooo delicious!
Can I use apple juice instead of apple cider?
Yes! You can! I like to use apple juice and I’ll tell you why.
As much as I am obsessed with apple cider, the cider is made by local farms where they make other items as well.
None of the ciders local to me have a gluten free label.
I know what you’re thinking, cider doesn’t have gluten.
However, the facility could have gluten and I have a zero tolerance policy for cross contamination.
Over time, cross contamination with celiac can lead to horrible things like cancers, organs not functioning properly, heart disease, epilepsy, other autoimmune diseases, etc later in life and that’s not a chance I’m willing to take.
So for me, juice that says gluten free is the safest option.
I have a few tips if you will be using apple juice instead of cider:
- Only buy juice without added sugar-There is enough sugar in this recipe. We don’t need any more in the juice itself.
- Try to buy a natural style apple juice- This type tends to be thicker and more brown in color than a thin yellowy apple juice.
Tips for making Apple Cider Layer Cake
- Reduce the apple cider/juice- Start with 2.5 cups of cider or juice. Pour in a saucepan and simmer for about 25-35 minutes until there are about 1.5 cups of apple cider/juice left. Now it will be thicker and more full of flavor. Let it cool completely.
FOR THE CAKE
- Let the cakes cool completely before cutting them in half- This recipe makes 2 layers of cake in 8 inch pans.
- Once the cakes have completely cooled, slice the cakes in half horizontally- Now you have 4 thin layers of cake.
FOR THE FROSTING
- Beat your butter or vegan baking stick first- Before adding the other frosting ingredients, it’s best to beat the butter or vegan baking stick until it’s smooth and creamy. About 2 min.
- Add in the other frosting ingredients- After the butter or vegan baking sticks are smooth, beat in everything until combined and smooth.
- Split your frosting up into 4 equal sections- This way you will use the exact same amount of frosting on each layer.
For The Caramel
- Set saucepan over medium heat- Constantly whisk all ingredients together until it begins to boil. Once boiling, continue whisking for two more minutes.
- Let cool- Transfer to a heat safe bowl and let the caramel sit on the counter for a bit, whisking here and there until the bowl isn’t blazing hot. Then pop in the fridge to thicken for about an hour.
- Frost one layer- Place one layer of cake on the bottom of the cake plate. Scoop ¼ of the frosting on top and use an icing spatula to spread it around.
- Repeat the process- Place another layer of cake on top and repeat this same process. Do this with 3 layers of cake.
- Keep the sides thin- Once you get to the top layer, use an icing spatula to frost the top and a thin layer on the sides. This will be a semi naked cake.
- Use a cake scraper- Or use a large icing spatula to scrape the icing off the sides so it’s a super thin layer. Pop the entire cake in the fridge uncovered for 15 min so it is more stable to work with.
- Do the caramel drip- Take the cake out of the fridge. Spoon tablespoons of caramel on top of the cake. Take an icing spatula and push the caramel around to the edges of the cake so it drips down the sides. Pop cake back in the fridge to harden the caramel.
- Decorate the top- If desired, put any extra buttercream into a piping bag and make little swirls or dollops all around the edge of the top of the cake.
CAN THIS CAKE BE VEGAN?
Yes! Follow these tips to ensure the cake is vegan:
- Use a gluten free flour that’s free from dairy.
- Make sure to use vegan baking sticks instead of butter.
- Only use a non dairy milk of choice.
- Use a non dairy heavy cream in the caramel drip.
I am so obsessed with this cake! I love autumn and apple cider, so this cake was so fun to create!
This Apple Cider Layer Cake is a delicious apple flavored dessert that’s gluten free, nut free, egg free and easily vegan! Enjoy!
Apple Cider Layer Cake
For the cake:
- 2 ¼ cups gluten free flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup reduced apple juice start with 2 ½ cups and boil down
- 1 cup milk of choice
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 2 sticks 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan baking sticks, room temperature
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 cups confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ cup reduced apple cider
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the apple cider caramel drip:
- ¼ cup reduced apple cider
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter or vegan baking stick
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Pour the cider into a medium pan set over medium low heat. Let the cider simmer for about 25-35 min. You should be left with about 1.5 cups of cider. (You don't want less than 1 cup). Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the cooled cider, milk of choice, the light brown sugar, the vegetable oil and the vanilla.
- Slowly add the cider mixture into the flour mixture and use a spatula to combine as it gets thick.
- With a spatula, scoop half the frosting into one pan and the other half into the other pan. Smooth the tops with a butter knife.
- Bake both cakes in the center rack for 35 minutes.
- Let them cool in the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, cut them in half horizontally. Now you will have 4 thin layers of cake.
- Make the frosting: Beat the butter or vegan baking stick and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy. About 2-3 min.
- Add in all the other frosting ingredients and beat until combined and smooth. If the frosting seems too thick, add more water ¼ teaspoon at a time. If it is too thin, add more confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Divide the frosting into 4 equal servings.
- Place one cake layer on the cake stand. Take ¼ of the frosting and frost the top. Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting. Repeat the frosting layer. Repeat this process with all the cake layers. For the top, divide the last ¼ of the frosting in half. Use half for the top and half for the sides of the cake. Pop it in the fridge to chill.
- Make the caramel: Whisk all the caramel ingredients together in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Whisk constantly. When the mixture starts to boil, keep whisking constantly and let it boil, while whisking, for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and place in a heat safe bowl. Let sit on the counter until the bowl is no longer blazing hot. Give the caramel a whisk and then pop in the fridge uncovered.
- Let chill for about an hour. After, whisk the caramel, it should be thick. If it’s too thick and not pourable, microwave it in 5 second increments until it is able to be poured.
- Take the cake out of the fridge. Pour the caramel on top of the cake and use an icing spatula to push the caramel to the edge to let it naturally drip down.
- Pop the cake back in the fridge so the caramel hardens. After caramel is hardened, you can decorate the top with more buttercream if you desire. To get the swirl I did on top of the cake, while the caramel is wet, carefully put some buttercream on a paper towel and swirl it into the wet caramel.
- Store cake in the fridge in a cake dome or wrapped in plastic wrap. If wrapping in plastic, put the cake in the fridge until the frosting hardens and then wrap it. If you wrap it when the frosting is wet you’ll have a giant mess.
- Let the cake sit out on the counter for about 15-20 min prior to serving.
The recipe for the Apple Cider Caramel is from My Recipes Apple Cider Caramel Sauce.