The combination of coffee and maple in this layer cake is a match made in heaven for this perfect dairy free ‘afternoon tea’ cake. Our eldest always asks for this cake when it’s his birthday and he was so excited to hear that I would be sharing it on the blog.
Why I Made This Recipe
I’ve been making this cake for years and it is definitely a well loved recipe that has evolved since my allergies developed. If you’re a fan of coffee flavoured baked goods, you will LOVE this.
Why You Should Make This Cake
My non-baking hubby has made this recipe a few times and if he can do it, so can you! It uses a one bowl mixing method and is a great basic layer cake recipe that can easily be adapted to other flavours.
Ingredients and Substitutions
To ensure that this cake is dairy free, I am using plant based butter. For other dietary requirements, check out my substitution recommendations below and my FAQ section.
Cake Flour: to create a light and fluffy consistency for our cupcakes, I am using cake flour. This type of flour has a lower protein content, and less gluten and will create a more gentle texture in your baked goods. It is very easy to make your own if you can’t find some in the grocery store. Weigh out 240 grams of all purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Sift two times to ensure it is incorporated fully.
Baking Powder and Salt: Baking powder helps the donuts rise. Remember that baking powder adds PUFF to a recipe which is exactly what we want here. I haven’t tried this with gluten-free flour but would recommend using a 1-to-1 GF flour substitute if you want to experiment. Salt is added to cut back on the sweetness, and also to enhance the flavours.
Sugar: I’m using white sugar in this recipe. If you want a slightly caramelly undertone, you could sub with golden or light brown sugar. See my flavour section below for more on this. You can also substitute with coconut sugar.
Butter: I am using unsalted plant based melted butter to add richness and fat to the cake. You can substitute with a light oil such as canola if you prefer. Or regular unsalted butter if you’re not dairy free or vegan.
Eggs: this is a decadent cake that uses 4 eggs to help with the leavening and also for richness and moisture. I usually use large eggs in my baking, which are equivalent to approximately 50g once removed from their shell. To make this egg-free, I recommend replacing the eggs with 4 flax eggs (4 tbsp flax meal mixed with 180 ml (12 tbsp) of water). Due to the high number of eggs used, apple sauce will not be a suitable replacement as it will make the cake too wet.
Maple Syrup: the addition of maple syrup in this cake adds another layer of flavour that works surprisingly well with coffee. Omit if you are not a fan of maple or sub with 50ml plant based milk.
Coffee Emulsion: I adore using emulsions in my baking as they tend to retain the flavour better than regular extracts. You could sub with cold espresso coffee (2 tbsps).
How to Make Coffee Maple Layer Cake
This cake batter is very quick to make so make sure you preheat your oven to 350F and gather all of your equipment and ingredients. The butter and eggs need to be at room temperature. I usually remove them 15 minutes before I start baking. Grease and line your cake pans with parchment paper. This will ensure that the cakes are easy to remove from the cake pans.
Start off by adding 250 grams of plant-based butter, 200 grams of white sugar, 50 ml of maple syrup and four eggs to the stand mixer bowl.
Combine together using the paddle attachment on a low speed. You don’t want to mix it for too long as we want to retain a light fluffy consistency.
Now let’s add the dry ingredients. Half a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of baking powder and also 250 grams of cake and pastry flour. For flavouring, I’m adding one tablespoon of coffee emulsion. This will give us that amazing coffee flavour and also a gorgeous rich colour to our batter.
Continue to mix it with your paddle attachment until everything is nice and light and combined. That should take no more than a minute.
Divide the cake batter between the two nine inch cake pans.
Level everything off with a spatula and then tap your baking pans on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
Bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 25 minutes but make sure you keep an eye on them around the 22 minute mark just in case your oven runs a little warmer.
The cakes will be well risen, slightly golden and firm to the touch. Allow the cakes to cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
Coffee Buttercream Filling
To make the delicately flavoured buttercream, add 150 grams of icing sugar, 50 grams of plant-based butter, 1 teaspoon of coffee emulsion and 20 ml of water to a mixing bowl. This is a very small batch of buttercream that is only enough to fill this cake. We’re not going to ice the cake with it but if you do want to do that, double the batch of buttercream.
Mix until combined. The buttercream should be smooth and fluffy.
Decorating the Coffee Maple Layer Cake
Once the cake layers are completely cooled, you may level them if desired. I like to use a wire cake leveller to level my cakes and use the offcuts to make cake pops (or just eat them with some buttercream).
Our layers are levelled and ready to stack.
Attach one cake layer to a serving plate or cake board with a small amount of buttercream. Using an offset spatula, spread coffee buttercream all over the layer.
Place the second layer on top, crumb side down.
Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.
This cake makes 8 generous slices (triangular). Best enjoyed on the day of baking. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. To freeze leftover slices, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
This is my go-to basic dairy free layer cake recipe and you can easily switch up the flavouring with a couple of easy substitutions.
- Need a simple vanilla layer cake? Sub the coffee essence with 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste and use water or plant based milk instead of the maple syrup. For vanilla buttercream, use 1tsp vanilla bean paste instead of coffee essence.
- How about Butterscotch? I love making a butterscotch layer cake with it by subbing the white sugar for 200g golden yellow sugar and adding 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste instead of the coffee essence. Omit the maple syrup as well and add 50 ml plant based milk instead. Use the buttercream recipe from my butterscotch slab cake.
Common Recipe Questions
This cake makes 8 generous slices (triangular) or 36 slices if cut across the cake (see recipe post for slicing guide).
I am already using plant based milk and butter in this cake. To make this egg-free, I recommend replacing the eggs with 4 flax eggs (4 tbsp flax meal mixed with 180 ml (12 tbsp) of water).
Absolutely. I recommend making your own GF Cake flour by
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. To freeze leftover slices, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
Craving more cake?
For more cake recipes, why not check out these recipes:
- My favourite vanilla layer cake with scrumptious buttercream (vegan)
- The cutest mini Victoria sponge cakes (dairy free)
- For any celebration, try my butterscotch sheet cake (dairy free)
Coffee Maple Layer Cake – Dairy Free
- Cake Leveller (can use a knife if preferred)
For the Coffee Cake
- 250 grams Plant Based Butter (unsalted)
- 200 grams White Sugar
- 50 ml Maple Syrup
- 4 Eggs (large – see note)
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 0.5 tsp Salt
- 250 grams Cake Flour
- 1 tbsp Coffee Emulsion see notes
- Extra icing sugar for dusting
For the buttercream:
- 150 grams Icing Sugar
- 50 grams Plant Based Butter (unsalted)
- 20 ml Water
- 1 tsp Coffee Emulsion see notes
- Preheat your oven to 350F and gather all of your equipment and ingredients. The butter and eggs need to be at room temperature. I usually remove them 15 minutes before I start baking.
- Grease and line your cake pans.
To make the cake:
- Using the all-in-one method, add all of the cake ingredients in to your mixing bowl.
- Whisk together for 1 minute until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- Split the cake batter evenly between the two cake pans.
- Bake for 25 minutes until well risen and slightly golden. The cakes should be firm to the touch.
- Allow the cakes to cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely.
To make the buttercream
- Add the buttercream, icing sugar and salt to the mixing bowl. Mix until combined.
- Add liquid and continue to mix for 1 minute until smooth and fluffy.
To fill the cake
- Once the cake layers are completely cooled, you may level them if desired. Use the offcuts to make cake pops (or just eat them with some buttercream).
- Attach one cake layer to a serving plate or cake board. Using an offset spatula, spread coffee buttercream all over the layer. Place the second layer on top, crumb side down.
- Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.
- This cake makes 8 generous slices (triangular) or 36 slices if cut across the cake (see recipe post for slicing guide).
- I am using coffee emulsion as the main flavouring. You can sub with 2 tbsps cold espresso coffee to achieve a similar flavour.
- I usually use large eggs in my baking, which are equivalent to approximately 50g once removed from their shell. To make this egg-free, I recommend replacing the eggs with 4 flax eggs (4 tbsp flax meal mixed with 180 ml (12 tbsp) of water).
- Best enjoyed within 2 days of baking. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- To freeze leftover slices, wrap each slice in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.