Apple slices are drenched in vegan caramel sauce and layered on top of a fluffy spiced cake, giving you this impressive Apple Upside Down Cake. It’s a gooey, comforting, and irresistible dessert that’s perfect for fall!

Looking for more vegan fall cake recipes? You’ll love my Vegan Pumpkin Cake Bars, Vegan Apple Cake, Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Coffee Cake as well.

A slice being lifted from an Apple Upside Down Cake on a white plate.

This is no ordinary vegan apple cake – Apple Upside Down Cake is so much more!

Buttery soft caramelized apple slices are layered on top of a comforting spice cake in this must-make fall dessert. The entire cake is assembled in the pan upside down in this order:

  1. Caramel
  2. Apples
  3. Cake

From there, it’s baked, flipped right side up, and ready to be enjoyed! Serve each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or lots of vegan whipped cream on top and you’ll instantly be hooked.

Why I can’t get enough of this easy apple upside down cake

  • Caramel + apples = perfection – Gooey, caramel-coated apples are layered on top of a fluffy spice cake that’s as warming as my Vegan Apple Muffins. Every bite is pure perfection!
  • Comforting flavors – Vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the caramel sauce and cake make this the ultimate comforting fall dessert.
  • Impressive, yet foolproof – Preparing a vegan upside down apple cake is foolproof. Just layer, bake, flip, and enjoy!
close up on a baked Apple Upside Down Cake on a white plate.

How to make an apple upside down cake

Start the apple topping by heating the vegan butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk until the butter has melted, then take the pan off the heat and stir in the cinnamon and vanilla.

To make a salted caramel apple upside down cake, stir in 1 teaspoon of salt when you add the cinnamon/vanilla. 

whisking vegan caramel sauce in a grey saucepan.

Pour the caramel sauce into the bottom of the prepared cake pan. Arrange the apple slices on top of the sauce (the more, the merrier!).

sliced apples layered on top of caramel in a grey round cake pan.

Next, make the cake by whisking the flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the melted vegan butter, applesauce, soy milk, and vanilla extract until just combined.

Pour the cake batter over the apples in the pan.

Bake the vegan upside down cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Set the cake aside to cool for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a serving dish. Slice and serve with vegan vanilla ice cream or vegan whipped cream. Enjoy!

brown cake batter in a round grey cake pan.

Frequently asked questions

Can it be made gluten free?

Yes! Just use quality gluten free all purpose flour in the cake batter.

Can I use store-bought or pre-made caramel instead?

Yes, you can use my homemade caramel sauce or salted caramel if you already have a batch on hand. Store-bought vegan caramel should work, too. 

It’s also a good idea to gently heat the jarred caramel in a saucepan first because this will give it a more pourable consistency and help it evenly coat the apples.

Does this recipe work with another kind of fruit?

Yes, you can use a mix of sliced apples and pears instead or swap the apples for another kind of fruit you like. You might want to change or omit the warm spices from the caramel and cake so the flavors don’t clash with the fruit you choose.

Pineapple upside down cake is always popular, as is rhubarb, strawberries, bananas, cherries, apricots, figs, and many other fruits.

How do you store the leftovers? Can you freeze apple upside down cake?

The leftover upside down cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The whole cake or individual slices can also be frozen for up to 2 months.

a baked Apple Upside Down Cake on a white plate.
close up on a slice being lifted from an Apple Upside Down Cake on a white plate.
5 stars (10 ratings)

Apple Upside Down Cake

Apple slices are drenched in vegan caramel sauce and layered on top of a fluffy spiced cake, giving you this impressive Apple Upside Down Cake.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings


Apple topping

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter or oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven and grease pan

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter the sides of a 9 inch cake pan. You don't need to butter the bottom. Set aside.

Prepare the apple topping

  • In a small saucepan, add the vegan butter and brown sugar. Turn the heat to medium and whisk occasionally until the butter has melted. Cook for about 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the cinnamon and vanilla.
  • Pour the sauce into the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange the apple slices on top of the sauce.

Make the cake

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  • Pour in the melted vegan butter, applesauce, soy milk and vanilla. Stir until just combined.
  • Pour the cake batter over the apples in the pan.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes then invert onto a serving dish.
  • Serve with dairy free vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in a covered container.


  1. Gluten free? Use gluten free all purpose flour.
  2. You can use other fruit, such as pear slices if desired.


Serving: 1of 8 servings | Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 1125IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. I made two and am freezing one wrapped in foil for the botttom and Saran for apples on top and all wrapped tightly in foil. Will it still be good after thawing after one month?

  2. Incredibly delicious, plus impressive looking despite being easy to prepare. Big hit for Christmas Eve dessert with some family who can be tough to please. Took a suggestion from some other reviewers and put a sheet pan on the next rack underneath the pan; I did use a 9″ pan and the sauce still bubbled over a bit. Might I humbly suggest adding that tip to the recipe directions?

  3. We loved this recipe with guests over last night. Didn’t remember to invert it so we scooped our portions more like a “dump cake.” We put whipped cream on it but next time I’d do ice cream. Great flavors and super easy to pull together. Thanks!

  4. This was a great cake, and very easy to make! My cake batter came out very thick and I’m not sure why, maybe my measuring was a bit lax, so I added a little more soy milk and it came out great. I brought it to Christmas dinner and the vegans in attendance were very pleased, my husband even ate two slices and he’s not a big dessert guy.

    1. Hi Caroline. Thank you for your wonderful review and feedback! I’m so glad the cake was loved by all!

  5. I loved this! I made two 6 inch cakes instead of one larger one and it came out perfectly! We ate one for Thanksgiving and froze the other for Christmas. I ysed a gluten-free all purpose flour and coconut sugar instead of brown sugar- so delicious. I am making 2 more small 6” cakes for gifts today. Thank you 🙏

    1. Thank you so much for the fantastic review, Gabrielle! I’m thrilled you loved the cakes and what a great idea to give them away as gifts!

  6. Just made this and am planning on serving it a dinner party. If I make ahead is it best served cold or should I rewarm it in the oven? Thanks

    1. I think it’s best served cooled actually, not from the refrigerator but not straight out of the oven either (though that’s perfectly fine to do). Just room temperature. Enjoy!

  7. I’ve been looking for a vegan version of the Apple upside down cake and I love your recipe.
    Can I replace vegan butter in the Apple Topping with just oil?

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I don’t think it will work super well. The buttery flavor will be missed, and it will change the general texture of the caramel topping.

  8. Made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! It may be one of my favorite desserts I’ve made since trying my hand at vegan baking. I loved the fall spice vibe 😊

    (I did follow advice from other comments and used a cookie sheet at the bottom of my stove to catch drippings, which was needed!)

    1. How awesome to know you loved the cake! Thanks for sharing your amazing review! Wishing you happy cooking!

  9. I used a 9 inch pan and it still spilled and my oven started smoking. Learnt my lesson! Next time I’ll be more prepared! But the cake came out excellent for our Thanksgiving dinner!

  10. Thank you, Nora! I made this fabulous cake for our vegan Thanskgiving this year! My daughter has 9 food allergies and we’re so grateful for you and your recipes – you’ve empowered us to feel like there are so many options out there in a world that limits.

  11. Turned out excellent! I used Earth Balance sticks for the caramel sauce and in the cake (not the oil option). I also made it with a large very ripe pear. It was not only beautiful but delicious. The flavor was very good with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Perfect Fall treat!!! Served with store bought vegan coconut whip cream in a can. **TIP: I didn’t have a 9 inch round pan so I used an 8 inch. The caramel sauce bubbled up and started going over the side of the pan and onto the bottom of the oven. If you use a smaller pan like me, put a cookie sheet under the rack to catch any spills and avoid a mess. Will definitely make again!

    1. Hi Alice. I sure do appreciate you sharing your baking experience with the apple upside-down cake! It sounds beautiful with the pear! I”m thrilled that it turned out excellent! Thank you for sharing your stellar review! Wishing you lots of happy cooking!

    1. Like whole wheat flour? I’d use whole wheat pastry flour if possible, if you don’t want to use white flour. It will be more dense, but that’s okay if you don’t mind it.

    2. I made this tonight for my family of six, and everyone rated it 10 out of 10. We especially enjoyed the dramatic flip onto the serving platter! Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipe.❤️ Even my child who doesn’t enjoy sweet desserts, enjoyed it!

  12. Cannot wait to try this, Nora! If I wanted to not serve/eat right away, should I wait to invert it? Like, keep it upside-down in the fridge? Or should I invert it and pop it into the fridge when cooled?

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