Mini Vegan Caramel Cakes

Caramel Cake 5

I have been wanting to make a caramel cake for some time, after seeing one that looked really good on a TV show I was watching, and drooling over another one on Pinterest which had caramel popcorn on top of it.  I thought, hey, I can make my own gluten free, sugar free (fruit sweetened) vegan version!  I knew just what  I would use to make taste like traditional caramel but healthier.  Dates.  Dates are always the answer when it comes to vegan caramel as far as I am concerned.

Caramel Cake 3

I fell in love with them when I first started making raw desserts, and I learned about date caramel.  Makes sense, because to me dates are nature's caramel (really even better than traditional caramel if you ask me because they have health benefits that regular sugar doesn't). When blended with just water and a little sea salt, you can make a delicious caramel sauce.  So I used them to sweeten the cake, as well as for the frosting.

Caramel Cake 4

I decided to make mini layer cakes, because of course it saves money (because I do not have a large family).  Plus I get my own little individual cake and they are cute!  I have included instructions though at the bottom if you would like to make a larger cake for a celebration or something.  For the frosting, I blended the dates with nut butter and a little vanilla and a touch of sea salt.

Caramel Cake 1

The cakes turned out even better than I imagined!  The dates providing just the right amount of moisture and sweetness, and the caramel gooey, sweet and better than real sugar caramel. I topped them off with some Vegan Caramel Corn that I had just made and it was the perfect topper!

Caramel Cake

Mini Vegan Caramel Cakes
Makes 2 6 inch 2 layer cakes

2 4 inch cake pans

3/4 cup quinoa flour (or all purpose gluten free flour)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup packed soft medjool dates, pitted, soaked in water for 30 minutes and 1/4 cup of the water reserved
2 Tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup filtered water
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup pitted medjool dates, soaked in water for 30 minutes and 1/2 cup of the water reserved
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw pecan butter or raw almond butter
1 Tbsp coconut butter, warmed to liquid
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
large pinch sea salt

Vegan Caramel Corn for topping (omit the pecans in the recipe)

Preheat the oven to 375F and position rack in center of oven. Line the bottoms of two 4-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper. Coat parchment paper and pan sides lightly with oil so that the cake doesn't stick. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, in a large bowl to blend well. Place dates, reserved date water and additional 1/2 cup water, oil, and vanilla extract into a blender, and blend until smooth, then whisk this blended mixture into the flour mixture until well blended.

Whisk cider vinegar into  the batter until bubbles form. Transfer cake batter to prepared pans and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour. Cut around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cakes out onto platter; peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
To assemble, place one cake layer on a plate, and spread frosting 1/2 inch thick over it. Place the other cake layer over that, then spread the frosting on the top and down the sides of the cake.
*Note: if you would like to make a 6 inch cake, double the cake recipe (and frosting recipe) and bake in two six inch round pans, it will take 30-40 minutes to bake.  If you would like to make a 9 inch cake, quadruple the recipe (frosting too) using two 9 inch pans and bake for about 50-60 minutes.
Caramel Cake 2

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About the Author

I am a vegan girl who loves to make healthier desserts and dishes with lots of veggies. Recipes are meant to be shared, that is why I started blogging!

  1. maria
    April 17, 2016 at 19:59

    I made this and it came out very beautiful and delicious, thank you for the recipe, you are very creative!

    • April 18, 2016 at 14:24

      You are so welcome! I am so happy you enjoyed the cake :)!

  2. Silvia
    May 3, 2016 at 10:32

    Hello Amy This cake looks so wonderful I decided to make it for my friend who is visiting today. Got all my ingredients ready though I doubled all to make the 6 inch cake. I wasn't sure about the 1/2 cup filtered water you mentioned under the list - is this to soak the dates or add it as the liquid ingredient? ... Well I added 1 cup of water plus 2/4 of the date water and once all ready, baked. Oh it came out smelly like it was burnt and of weird consistency like not risen properly. I love all your recipes and so far all of them came out great, but the one is going to be recycled in food trash.... :( is not edible I have no idea where I went wrong - probably the water? Was the 1/2 cup of water to soak dates or to add to batter? Thanks! Silvia

    • May 3, 2016 at 12:24

      You soak the dates in water, then save 1/4 cup of that soaking water, then add an additional 1/2 cup so it would end up with 3/4 cup for the entire original recipe. So you would have had to use 1 1/2 cups since you doubled it. You had the wrong amount of water most likely. Because I make my cakes like this every time and they always turn out :). Next time it should work.

  3. Silvia
    May 3, 2016 at 13:15

    Must have... Will try again some other day, blueberry cakes for today instead. Thanks a lot for the great recipes!! ????

    • Silvia
      May 3, 2016 at 13:17

      See the whole day I am doing something wrong - those question marks were supposed to be hearts! At least it's sunny day in London for a change :) have a good one!

      • May 3, 2016 at 22:56

        No worries Silvia, we all have those days ;). Have fun baking your blueberry cake :)!

  4. JO
    March 11, 2017 at 12:45

    I was convinced this wasn't going to work. I WAS SO WRONG! It is fantastic! I made this cake - at four times the ingredients, for my husband's 70th birthday. My daughter is vegan and a family friend needs gluten and wheat free, so it seemed perfect, but I don't make much vegan stuff. I was a bit confused about the ammount of water, so the comment you left, clarifying it was very useful, although it was difficult to trust it - it seemed like a lot of water to add, but it worked very well. We had 12 people to the birthday meal, most not vegan, and everyone loved it! Thank you SO much Amy.

    • March 11, 2017 at 13:40

      So happy to hear you made work for more people and enjoyed it :)! Yes, it is a lot of water, but it is because the dates need it. It means a lot that all of the non-vegans were impressed too ;)!

  5. Laurel
    April 21, 2017 at 14:31

    I can't wait to try this! I've only just started making the switch to vegan and caramel mud cake is a weakness of mine, so this looks great! Just a question, will it still turn out if I use plain wheat flour or will that change the result and I should use the gluten-free? It's just that gluten-free flour tends to be a lot more expensive here. :(

    • April 21, 2017 at 23:03

      Yes, it will still turn out! They are interchangeable.

      • Laurel
        April 24, 2017 at 02:41

        Fantastic! Just one other question, would this recipe work for cupcakes and if so what quantities would you recommend?

        • April 24, 2017 at 14:51

          If you are making cupcakes, you use the same quantities, but you would only need to bake for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Haley
    March 25, 2018 at 22:10

    Hi there, just wondering whether buckwheat flour would work okay and if so would you suggest adding a small amount of tapioca starch to thicken? Many thanks,

    • March 26, 2018 at 09:38

      I am not sure, I have never tried it. But I would assume it would if things like oat flour work. I would just try subbing it 1:1.

  7. Iris
    July 5, 2018 at 14:49

    Amy, I sooo love when you create grain free, lower carb, nut flour based cakes. Is there a reason you don't do it more often? More importantly, is there a way I can successfully convert your recipes to use nut flours? I so love every recipe I have made of yours.. and just drool over your cakes :-) TIA for any info, Iris

    • July 5, 2018 at 18:36

      Thank you :). I assume you are talking about baked cakes, because most of the raw ones on the blog meet those guidelines (low carb, nut or coconut based). To be completely honest, I make what I want to eat, because me and my family are the ones eating the recipes, and I have to spend money to buy ingredients on each and every one of them, so I don't want to make one using ingredients that I am not sure will work out or will make a cake that is below my standards (I am super picky about texture etc). Also, I haven't made a nut flour based cake that I liked in the past, so I try to stay away from them, so I am sorry but I don't have a good answer for you on that one. The ones I tried making turned into fails, and were too dense and heavy unfortunately and I was upset about it because nuts are expensive so I hate wasting them. I prefer the gluten free flour or whole wheat flour (to give people at least 2 options) which is why that is what most of my recipes are. Good luck though to you if you are experimenting with the nut flours :).

  8. Helen
    December 17, 2019 at 17:05

    Omg this looks amazing ! I am making this for Xmas day Can i use dried dates ? or do they have to be fresh ? Shopping today for the ingredients Thanks :)

    • December 17, 2019 at 20:32

      Thank you so much! You use dried :)!

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