vegan apple spice cake with maple buttercream

Grab your apron and make this heavenly vegan apple spice cake with maple buttercream! Nothing beats filling your house with the irresistible scent of warm cinnamon spice, am I right?!

vegan apple spice cake with maple buttercream_hot for food

Lucky for you, this recipe is super simple and your house will be smelling scrumptious in no time. 

Every bite combines fresh apple, cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, molasses, and brown sugar with a fluffy and sweet maple buttercream frosting.

If that doesn’t convince you to give this vegan apple spice cake a try, I don’t know what will!

Honestly, you’ll be feeling quite proud of yourself after making this and the reward of eating it is even better.

You know I love my cake, cake, cake. So if you want to some more delectable ideas check out my hazelnut torte, this pumpkin spice latte pie, or my carrot cake doughnuts.

Happy baking! 

vegan christmas recipe apple spice cake with maple buttercream
vegan apple spice cake recipe
vegan apple spice cake with maple buttercream_hot for food
4.45 from 40 votes
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vegan apple spice cake with maple buttercream

This cake is simple to make and combines fresh apple, cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, molasses, and brown sugar with a fluffy and sweet maple buttercream frosting. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple spice cake, cake, cinnamon, vegan dessert
Prep Time 41 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 59 minutes
Servings 10
Author Lauren Toyota


apple spice cake

  • 1 C soy milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 C vegetable oil or coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp unsulphured molasses
  • 1 C peeled and shredded apple
  • 3/4 C pecans, finely chopped

maple buttercream frosting

  • 3 to 4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 C vegan butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/4 C maple syrup (or 2 tsp maple extract)
  • 1 tbsp soy milk (if using maple syrup), or 2 to 3 tbsp soy milk (if using extract)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Prepare 2 cake pans that are between 7″ to 8″ wide. You can also bake one at a time if you only have 1 pan. Generously oil or butter the pans and then dust with an even layer of flour to help easily remove the cake from the pans.

  3. In small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside to curdle for about 5 to 10 minutes.

  4. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, all-spice, ginger, and sea salt.

  5. Once the soy milk and vinegar has thickened, add brown sugar, oil, molasses and vanilla extract and combine until smooth. 

  6. Add the liquid ingredients and shredded apple to the dry ingredients. Fold the batter until it’s just combined, ensuring not to over mix it. Small lumps in the batter are fine, but you shouldn’t see pockets of dry ingredients that aren’t incorporated.

  7. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Spread out the batter so it’s even and to the edge of the pan.
  8. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes on the centre rack. Cake is done when a toothpick comes out mostly clean from the centre of the cake.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool on wire racks for 10 to 15 minutes before removing them from the cake pans. To remove the cakes, place the wire rack on top of the cake pan and flip it upside down. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting and assembling. 

  10. To make the frosting, beat the chilled vegan butter with about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar in a food processor, with a hand mixer, or in a stand mixer. Only once combined and smooth, add a bit more sugar and then add a little bit of maple syrup. Continue mixing portions of sugar and maple syrup along with the soy milk until a smooth and fluffy frosting is achieved. Be sure you don’t add any liquid too soon in the process, as it can sometimes start to separate the butter. 

  11. Place one cake bottom side down on your serving plate and spread frosting evenly with a spatula across the entire top of the cake. Place the other cake, bottom side down, on top of the frosting. Use remaining frosting to cover the entire cake.
  12. Using the palm of your hands, gently press small handfuls of roughly chopped pecans along the entire side of the cake until well coated. The cake is best served the same day as baking and frosting. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge or at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. If refrigerated, let cake sit at room temperature before consuming to take the chill off. 

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36 thoughts on “vegan apple spice cake with maple buttercream”

  1. Entertained last night and served this for dessert. Delicious. Moist and flavorful. Looked beautiful on a cake stand. My cake didn’t have the levity of the cake you’ve pictured–it was more dense, which makes me wonder if I was too heavy handed in its batter stage. Others should pay heed to your instructions to "not over mix it." Thank you for another winning recipe! Thinking about having a slice with this morning’s cup of coffee…

  2. Looks amazing! One question though–I only have the standard 9" cake pan. So just checking to see if your pans are indeed 7.25 inches? (If so, I suppose my 9" cakes will be very thin, hehe.) Thanks! : )

    1. ya they’ll be a little thinner. I don’t know why I have that size of a pan, but I thought I better mention the size just so people are aware!

  3. I didn’t want a sandwich cake so put all of the batter into a 9" tin… safe to say, it takes MUCH more time to cook, I’m talking over an hour. It’s still in the oven now! but the smell is amazing…

  4. Okay so mine didn’t cook at all… no matter how long it was left in the oven for, it is more or less caramel in the middle…I followed the recipe to a t, any idea what I might have done wrong?

  5. Emily Elizabeth

    Turned out great! I’m making this again next month for a friends birthday
    Also I used almond milk instead of soy because that’s all I had, and I added 1/2 tsp of nutmeg

  6. Alejandra Talamantes Ramirez

    I ended up doubling the dry ingredients on the recipe because i wanted more apple and with the liquids i thought it would end up too watery!
    turned out great! also didnt make the frosting which would have been really good idea to make it to give it that sweet flavor!

    all in all great recipe!
    ps. I made half with it cake, and the other half into a bread tin… sliced it up and froze it!

  7. Just made this and it was amazing! One of the best vegan cakes yet ! I used almond milk instead of soy and I mixed it in a kitchen aid but I really made sure not to over mix it. Next time I would add more apple but overall and amazing cake 🙂

  8. Good Apple Cake receipe. I’ve made this a few times and it’s also very. good without any frosting or with a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce 🍎

  9. ADORED this cake!!! Gave me so much more joy than you could ever imagined. It’s a sophisticated cake, looks beautiful, and felt so accomplished for pulling it off! The only thing I slightly altered was the frosting, to which I added quite a bit of salt as I thought the syrup + powdered sugar was too sweet. The salt created a kind of salted butterscotch flavour which my baking guru aunt praised highly. Went down super well with the whole non-vegan family! So excited about this cake. Thanks Lauren + John! You’re the best.

    1. Oh also! I had only the standard 9 inch pan and so used 1.5 times all the ingredients and worked PERFECTLY! So if you can’t get hold of the smaller pan size, I reccomend multiplying the ingredients by 1.5.

  10. This was super crazy delicious. No one could believe it was vegan. For the milk I substituted home-made coco-cashew-brazilnut milk flavored with nutmeg (think: eggnog). And I brushed the cakes with whiskey before icing… and added whiskey and Angostura bitters to the icing (because yummy and like a cocktail). It was impressive and beautiful. I ate it for breakfast the following day. Heh.

  11. i used vegan butter instead of coconut oil, turned out really good i loved it. also skipped vanilla because i didnt have any on hand

  12. Delicious! My friend, who is an accomplished cook, wanted to make me a birthday cake, so I gave her this recipe.
    Everyone loved the cake, (including the intractable non-vegans!)

  13. The maple buttercream is absolutely outstanding. I used the 1/4 c maple syrup, 3 c powdered sugar and did add something like a 1/4 tsp of salt and beat it until it was really light and whipped. Everyone loved it.

    The actual cupcakes were good, but they did seem a bit dense, and I didn’t love the pecans. I think the problem for me was that I couldn’t taste the apple and the dice of the pecans resulted in more of a gritty texture. I also really wanted that bite of apple and didn’t get it. If I make these again I’ll probably double the apple (dicing instead of grating) and reduce the pecan amt along with chopping them a bit larger. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. What variety of molasses did you use? I only have blackstrap and am concerned it will be too bitter with the other cake elements. Maybe maple syrup would be a sufficient substitute? Thank you! You are such a talented and inspiring person! Stay well and take care. 🙂

  15. I just needed a Maple buttercream frosting recipe for my Vegan Gluten free Sweet Potato, oatmeal, flax muffin and this definitely was an awesome recipe. Totally in love with this frosting recipe. I had to stop myself from eating any more after trying it to check how it taste. OH MY!!!!!

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