Apple cider layer cake makes the best fall cake! Featuring layers of spiced apple cider cake, homemade salted caramel sauce, and salted caramel frosting, this is one cozy layer cake made for fall gatherings!
Frosted with salted caramel buttercream and topped with a caramel drizzle, this cake is a must for your fall baking list.
The best apple cider cake components:
- Salted Caramel Sauce – Rich and creamy 5-ingredient caramel sauce
- Spiced Apple Cider – Made from pure apple juice and your favorite mulling spice blend
- Apple Cider Cake – Buttery and tender, flavored with apple cider reduction and warming spices
- Salted Caramel Frosting – Whipped salted caramel buttercream made with homemade caramel sauce
Make Ahead Tips
Homemade salted caramel sauce makes the best cake filling, caramel frosting, and decorative caramel drip. Make the sauce in advance, then let cool to room temperature (or refrigerate overnight) before using.
Homemade apple cider imparts rich flavor to the cake layers. To intensify the flavor, reduce the apple cider down to 1/2 cup. This concentrated apple cider is bold and flavorful, and pairs beautifully with cozy spices in the cake. Make the apple cider reduction a day ahead, let cool to room temperature, and refrigerate overnight.
Assemble the Cake
To assemble the cake, place one layer on a rotating cake stand and use an offset spatula to swirl salted caramel frosting over the cake layer.
Transfer about 1/2 cup of frosting to a large piping bag and pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of salted caramel sauce over the frosting, spreading gently with a clean offset spatula.
Add the second cake layer and chill the the stacked cake for 20 minutes. Use an offset spatula to apply frosting to the top and sides of the cake, gently smoothing the sides with a bench scraper. Chill the frosted cake for 20 minutes before adding the caramel drip.
Add the Caramel Drip
Make sure the caramel is at the right temperature for the perfect drip. If your caramel sauce is chilled from the fridge, warm it gently in 10-second bursts in the microwave first, stirring until smooth. The ideal temperature is fluid, but not warm or hot.
Start with one test drip on the back of the cake to check the consistency and flow before adding it to the entire cake.
Use a small spoon or squeeze bottle to continue the caramel drip around the top edge of the cake. As the caramel drips down the sides, the temperature of the chilled buttercream helps slow and control the drip.
Decorate the Cake
For a finishing touch, pipe remaining salted caramel frosting decoratively over the top of the cake. I used a large piping bag and a large open star tip (Wilton 8B). Happy fall cake baking!
Our favorite apple desserts:
- Caramel Apple Puff Pastry Tarts
- Brown Butter Dutch Apple Pie
- Caramel Apple Bars
- Apple Praline Bundt Cake
Apple cider layer cake makes the BEST fall cake! Featuring layers of spiced apple cake and salted caramel frosting, you’ll love this layer cake.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 batch of homemade salted caramel sauce
- 2 cups pure apple juice
- 1 medium apple, cut into ½-inch wedges
- 4 tsp mulling spice blend
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole cloves
Apple Cider Cake
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup reduced apple cider (from above)
- 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt, at room temperature
Salted Caramel Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 4 Tbsp homemade salted caramel sauce
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Make one batch of homemade salted caramel sauce. Set aside to cool to room temperature (or make in advance and refrigerate overnight).
- Combine apple juice, apple wedges, mulling spice blend, cinnamon stick, and cloves in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 30 minutes)
- Strain apple cider into a glass bowl or measuring cup and let cool to room temperature (refrigerate overnight if making in advance).
Apple Cider Cake
- For the cake, preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the cake pans with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
- Beat butter and sugars in a large mixer bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in oil and vanilla until incorporated. Add eggs and egg yolk one at a time and beat until combined. Combine apple cider and Greek yogurt in a small bowl. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with apple cider mixture (begin and end with flour mixture).
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles.
- Bake cake layers for 28 minutes, until cakes spring back to the touch, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the edges are pulling slightly away from the pan. Let cakes cool in pans for 15 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
Salted Caramel Frosting
- For the frosting, beat butter and salt with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in vanilla.
- Mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar on low speed until combined. Mix in 4 tablespoons of homemade salted caramel sauce until incorporated.
- With mixer on low speed, add remaining powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Increase speed to medium and beat frosting for 1 minute, until light and airy.
- To assemble the cake, place one layer on a rotating cake stand. Use an offset spatula to swirl frosting over the cake layer.
- Transfer 1/2 cup of frosting to a large piping bag and pipe a ring of frosting around the outer edge of the cake layer. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of salted caramel sauce over the frosting, spreading gently with a clean offset spatula. Add second cake layer and chill the cake for 20 minutes.
- Use an offset spatula to apply frosting to the top and sides of the cake, gently smoothing the sides with a bench scraper. Chill the frosted cake for 20 minutes before adding the caramel drip.
- Using a small spoon, place dollops of caramel sauce around the top edge of the cake, letting the excess drip down the sides. If desired, pipe remaining frosting decoratively on the top cake layer. Chill for 15 minutes before serving.
- Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.
Mulling spices: Use your favorite mulling spice blend to flavor the apple cider.
Reduced apple cider: In place of homemade apple cider, take 1 cup of store-bought apple cider and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, then let cool to room temperature before using.
Keywords: Apple, Apple Cider, Caramel, Salted Carmel, Layer Cake