Toffee Apple Cake (GF)

Gluten free tofee apple cake for an autumnal celebration

The perfect autumnal celebration cake, this heavily spiced cake packed with dates and dried apples is sandwiched with almond butter caramel and more spiced apples, topped with a lightly sweetened cream cheese frosting and then finished with more caramel on top. Gluten Free.

celebration • sweet treats • autumn

Gluten-free toffee apple cake for an autumnal celebration

Every now and then, I get in the mood to bake a cake.

Not just any cake, but one that requires an entire afternoon, if not day, to bake and assemble. I don’t know why this happens, because normally I am not the most ambitious of people and I tend to like to bake things with the minimal amount of time and effort between me deciding to bake and me eating what I’ve baked.

This type of baking is much different. It’s like the itch you get before a story begins whispering into your ear or a painting starts manifesting in the nether regions of your imagination. It’s just an overwhelming desire to create something, except instead of paints or words, cake is my canvas and spices and flavors are my colors.

Thankfully, this doesn’t happen too often, or I’d probably bake us out of house and home.

Gluten free toffee apple cake

This cake is a celebration of autumn and one I made to mark the autumnal equinox this past weekend.

The cake itself is heavily laced with warming spices and packed with cider infused dates and dried apples. Sandwiched between the cakes is an almond butter caramel that I am happy to say requires no pots of boiling sugar or risk of third degree burns; just a pan and a whisk. On top of the caramel goes a layer of gently spiced apples softened in a little butter, maple syrup and cider. The entire cake is then coated in a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and finally, because why not, a generous portion of caramel gets drizzled over the top so that it runs down the sides in ooey, gooey, irresistible looking streaks of sticky goodness.

gluten free toffee apple cake

I’ve given you instructions below for making the full showstopper (excuse my GBBO lingo) version of the cake, but you could certainly pare it back and make something a little less involved if you aren’t in the full-on cake baking mode. For instance, you could just bake the cake all in one layer in an 8 inch pan and serve it with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of the caramel over the top. I’ve also given you the option below to make it either as a 6-inch three tiered cake or an 8-inch two tiered cake depending on how grandiose you are feeling.

Whatever you do, definitely don’t skip the caramel and probably you’ll want to go ahead and make extra for drizzling over your morning oatmeal or dipping apple slices into. It’s seriously magical stuff.

As always, if you make the cake let me know what option you went with and how it turned out! And happy autumn to everyone.

gluten free toffee apple cake

Toffee Apple Cake

Total time: 2 hours


Serves 6 - 8

For the cakes:

  • 3/4 cup (100 g) chopped dates (about 15 whole dates)

  • 3/4 cup (45 g) dried apples chips, chopped or broken into small pieces

  • 3 tbsp + 1 tsp (45 ml) apple cider

  • 3 oz (90 ml) apple cider

  • 2 + 1/4 sticks (240 g) butter, softened

  • 1 + 1/8 cup (190 g) coconut or light muscovado sugar

  • 1 cup (112 g) almond flour

  • 3/4 cup (112 g) brown rice flour

  • 2 + 1/4 tsp baking powder

  • 1.5 tbsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp all spice

  • 1/4 tsp cloves

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

For the spiced apples:

  • 3 medium sized apples (380 g)

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

  • 1 tbsp apple cider

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp ginger

For the caramel:

  • 1.5 sticks (160 g) of butter

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/3 cup almond butter

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz (226 g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature

  • 3 tbsp butter, softened

  • 5 tbsp honey

  • 1 tbsp milk

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt


For the cakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 8-inch cake pans or three 6-inch cake pans with parchment paper and then grease with oil or butter.

  • Place the chopped dates in a small saucepan with half of the apple cider. Warm gently over low heat, stirring frequently, for about ten minutes, until most of the cider has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and use a fork or the back of a spoon to mash the dates into a a thick purée. Set aside to cool.

  • Place the dried apples into a bowl with the rest of the cider and allow to sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

  • In a large bowl, beat the butter for several minutes until very soft and light. Add the sugar and beat again for around 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy and you can no longer see individual sugar grains.

  • In another small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and mix well.

  • Beat the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time, adding a tbsp or two of the flour mixture with each addition. Once you’ve added all the eggs, fold in the remainder of the flour along with the dates and the apples (they should’ve absorbed most of the cider, but any still left in the bottom of the bowl can be added too). Stir well to combine.

  • Divide the mixture between either the three 6-inch tins or the two 8-inch tins and bake on a middle shelf in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tins, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

for the spiced apples:

  • Peel, core and slice the apples into thin wedges about 1/8 inch thick, as if for a pie a filling.

  • Heat the butter in a frying pan over moderate heat. Once it’s hot, add the apples along with the lemon juice, maple syrup, cider and spices.

  • Cook for five minutes, or until the apples have just become tender. Set aside to cool.

for the caramel:

  • Combine the butter and maple syrup in a saucepan over a low flame. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and add the almond butter.

  • Whisk until everything is combined and set the caramel aside to cool and thicken slightly.

For the frosting:

  • Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until well mixed.

  • Add the honey, milk, vanilla and salt and mix again on high until well incorporated.

To assemble:

  • Place the first cake top-side down on a serving platter (note: if the cake is slightly domed on to the top, you can slice the dome off to make sure it sits flush against the plate).

  • Depending on whether you are making a two tier 8-inch or three tier 6-inch cake, you will then spread either 1/2 or 1/3 of the caramel over the top, leaving a good 1/2 inch gap around the edges as the caramel will spread out once you add the next layer.

  • Top the caramel with either all or 1/2 of the apples, and then top with the second cake, again top-side down. If you are doing the 6-inch cake, repeat the following steps again for the second tier.

  • Once the cake is assembled, spread a very thin layer of the cream cheese frosting around the sides of the cake. Spread the remaining frosting on top.

  • Just before serving, spread the remaining caramel over the top of the cake, taking it just the edges. It will naturally begin to trickle over the sides.

  • Refrigerate any leftover cake, allowing it to warm slightly at room temperature before serving.


Muscovado sugar is made by evaporating the liquid from cane juice without removing the molasses, therefore leaving more minerals and nutrients behind. It’s different from brown sugar — which is refined sugar combined with molasses. I’ve linked to a muscovado sugar you can find on Amazon below, but you also substitute coconut or brown sugar if you’d prefer.

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8-inch cake tins

brown rice flour

light muscovado sugar