Lyndsay Sung’s Apple Caramel Cake with Oatmeal Cookie Crumbles

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  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Occasions: Thanksgiving, Autumn, Fall
  • Makes One 7" 3-layer cake

We recently had the delightful opportunity to chat with the fantastic author Lyndsay Sung (aka @CocoCakeLand) about her brand-new, sensational plant-based cookbook, "Plantcakes"! Brace yourselves for a cake adventure like no other, because these sweet treats are crafted exclusively from plant-based ingredients. You guessed it - no dairy or eggs in sight!

Baking, once the domain of dairy and egg enthusiasts, is now getting a magnificent vegan makeover. Lyndsay has boldly taken on this challenge and delivered a whole book filled with plant-based alternatives that'll make your taste buds do the happy dance.

Fall is here, and with it, the return of cozy indoors and oven pre-heating. Lyndsay is sharing her secret fall-inspired cake recipe with the How To Cake It community, and guess what? We're not the type to keep delicious secrets!

So, put on those aprons, gather your friends, and get ready for a recipe that will leave you and your loved ones craving seconds. Check out the mouth-watering recipe below:

ingredients image squiggle


Apple Cake

  • 2½ cups (350g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (250ml) vegetable oil
  • ½ cup (140ml) unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup (150g) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (100g) granulated white sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (300g) grated apple

Oatmeal Cookie Crumbles

  • 5 tbsp (75g) granulated white sugar
  • ¾ cup (75g) rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup (46g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 tbsp (60g) unsalted plant-based butter, room temperature, cut into cubes

Salted Caramel Buttercream


Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup 2 tbsp water
  • ½ cup (125ml) plant milk
  • 2 tbsp unsalted
  • plant-based butter

Salted Caramel Buttercream

  • 1¾ cups (392g) unsalted plant-based butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (260g) icing sugar, sifted + more as needed
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 tsp fine sea salt

Read It!

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Prepare three 7- × 2-inch round cake pans by spritzing them with vegetable oil and lining them with parchment paper circles cut to size. Spray again with oil to prevent sticking.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the vegetable oil, applesauce, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

    With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing until combined, 15–30 seconds. Fold in the grated apple.

  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. Give the pans a light tap on the counter to reduce any air bubbles. Bake for 22–25 minutes, until the cake edges are lightly browned, the cake springs back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only moist crumbs.

    Let the cakes cool completely in their pans set on top of wire racks.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, rolled oats, flour, and salt. Sprinkle in the butter, toss to coat, and then mix until well incorporated.

    Using a spatula, spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 18–20 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Let cool completely in its pan set on top of a wire rack.

    Once cooled, break it up into cookie crumbles with your hands or lightly bash them with a rolling pin.

  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the sugar, corn syrup, and water over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture boil without stirring until it reaches a medium amber color, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the plant milk (it will bubble up ferociously, so go slowly). Whisk in the butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Let cool completely; it will thicken as it cools.

    Use ¾ cup (185ml) salted caramel for the buttercream (below), and reserve the rest for decorating the cake with caramel drips. Leftover caramel will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks—it is delicious drizzled on ice cream or stirred into yogurt.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract, and ¾ cup (185ml) of the salted caramel on low speed to combine, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. If the frosting seems too loose, add 1 tbsp of icing sugar at a time to thicken it until it is creamy and spreadable, being careful not to over-sweeten.

  • While building the cake layers, follow the dugout pool method to carve out a small pool in the center of the buttercream and add some extra salted caramel to the layers. Continue on until the final frost stage. For the photo opposite, I used an au naturel style for the second layer of frosting.

  • Decorate the cake with a piped salted caramel buttercream border on top, or an artful array of piped dollops or drop stars. You can also add drips of salted caramel to the outside of the cake. To preserve maximum crispness, add the oatmeal cookie crumbles in various-sized pieces to the top of the cake just before serving!

    This cake will taste freshest enjoyed within a day of making it but can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. 

    We'd be thrilled to catch a glimpse of your Apple Caramel Cakes on social media! Don't forget to mention us at @howtocakeit and @cococakeland so we can savor your cake masterpieces before they vanish!


    Excerpted from Plantcakes by Lyndsay Sung. Copyright © 2023 Lyndsay Sung. Photographs by Lyndsay Sung. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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