Making this Caramel Cake for the first time may, or may NOT have been a good thing. Dan went nuts over it, loved it! Which, is always fun…but, now I am asked to make it like every week! He’ll invite friends over and say, “Mariel’s making an awesome Caramel Cake.” Then he comes and tells me I need to make one because he told his friends I would! Oh, heck. What have I done? Personally, I really like the cake but don’t feel the obsession that he does. I usually go for chocolate cake. But, whatever makes him happy and has him thinking that I’m amazing, I’m all for it. I’ll make Caramel Cake all day long. I guess it probably WAS a good thing.
Alright, to make this cake you need: buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, unsalted butter, dark brown sugar, heavy cream, and powdered sugar.
Let me start off by saying that there are 2 ingredients that you may THINK you can change, but you can’t. Believe me, I’ve tried. The first is using unsalted butter, don’t use salted or you will have salt-flavor overload. Granted, you can cut back on salt, but don’t mess with it. Just do what I say 🙂 Also, you really need to use the dark brown sugar, not golden. Thank you and you’re welcome.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans. Okay, one more important note…use cake pans that have straight sides, not tilted. That’s the easiest way to get your layers all the same size and your cake looking pretty. Whisk 1/2 cup buttermilk, 4 large room-temp eggs, and 2 tsp. vanilla in a bowl.
In another bowl, mix 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Using two sticks (16 TBS) cut-up and softened UNsalted butter, add to the dry mixture, one at a time, while beating with a hand-mixer.
Once only small pea-sized butter pieces remain, slowly beat in the buttermilk mixture until nice and fluffy.
Scrape the batter into the two prepared pans and bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out clean. About 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool for an hour or more before frosting.
Start the frosting. You want the frosting to be warm, so don’t make it too early. Heat a stick of UNsalted butter, 2 cups of packed DARK brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until you see small bubbles around the edge of the pan (see picture). Whisk in 1/2 cup of heavy cream and cook until bubble reappear. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tsp. of vanilla.
Pour the hot frosting into a bowl and slowly add in 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, while mixing with a hand-mixer. Mix for about 5 minutes before adding 4 tablespoons of UNsalted butter, continue to mix for a couple minutes.
Place your first of the 2 cake layers on a platter and spread about 3/4 cup of the warm frosting on just the top. Add the next layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides. Let rest for about 30 minutes for the frosting to set, before serving. And, there you have it!
And, another time I made it…
(America’s Test Kitchen)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk room temp
- 4 large eggs room temp
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2 sticks 16 TBS of UNsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 sticks 12 TBS. UNsalted butter, softened and sliced
- 2 cups packed DARK brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 2 9-inch round, straight-sided cake pans.
In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a hand-mixer, beat in the butter, one slice at a time.
Slowly add the buttermilk mixture and beat until light and fluffy.
Scrape the batter, equally, into the pans.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, from the middle. Let cool about an hour and remove from pans.
For the frosting: Heat on stick (8 TBS.) of butter, the brown sugar, and salt in a saucepan until small bubbles appear around the edge of the pan.
Whisk in the heavy cream and cook until bubbles reappear.
Remove from heat and add the vanilla.
Pour the hot frosting into a bowl and slowly add powdered sugar, while mixing with a hand-mixer. Beat for about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining 4 TBS of butter and beat until melted and the frosting is light and fluffy.
To assemble: Place 1 cake round on a platter. Spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting on the top of the first layer.
Add the second layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides.
Let sit about 30 minutes before serving.
Leigh Anne Wilkes says
Growing up my husband requested a caramel cake every year for his birthday. I have spent the last 30 years trying to find the perfect caramel cake for him – maybe this will be the one – can’t wait to try it!!
Sara @ Our Best Bites says
Oh I’ve made this one too- it is deeelicious! (And that’s one smart hubbie you’ve got there 😉
Two comments from famous people?!? I love it!
Yay. Can’t wait to try this one! I’m going to make it tomorrow. I might even dream about making it tonight. YUM
haha. I didn’t realize I was logged in under my husband. My husband is Jason. I’m Jen. He’ll sure love this cake though:)!
Hope you like it! Thanks for the comment, Jen 🙂
So… I’d been thinking about making this caramel cake for some time now. It keeps popping up on my Pinterest home page, so I figure it must be getting popular. I also happened to check out the comments and saw that Sara from OBB commented and I love that blog, so then I knew I should definitely try it! So I made the cake and brought it to Thanksgiving dinner. A couple of things:
1. You can use salted butter for the cake batter and frosting, as long as you keep in mind that 1 stick of salted butter has 1/4 tsp of salt added. So, off the top of my head I believe I used 1/2 t. in the cake batter and 1/8 t. in the frosting. It was fine!
2. This is a cake made from scratch which never taste the same as a cake mix cake. As a matter of personal preference, I like the stuff in the box, with some alterations like adding a little more flour, sugar, sour cream, etc. I was extremely reluctant about making a cake from scratch.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of the cake. It was moist and the density was just about right! I didn’t quite care for the flavor of the cake by itself. But the caramel frosting “takes the cake!” I mean, it’s like eating candy. As long as my bite of cake had that delicious frosting atop, I was a happy camper! That caramel frosting is so, so yummy. I wanted to save a bit to dip some apples in or something!
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the great feedback, Emily!
Made this last night and YUM! Thanks for posting! I totally agree about using UNsalted butter. I did just that and followed the recipe exactly and the icing was plenty salty enough as it was. I would even go so far as to call it “Salted Caramel Icing.” Thanks again for the delicious recipe!
Good, so glad it turned out! Thanks for stopping back, Valerie!
Megan Schopf says
I made this and it was good! I’ve never had a caramel cake before, either. Definitely unique. Do you remember where you got your cake stand? I love it!
Oh, good! Glad you made it. 🙂 Gosh… that stand is pretty old, but I think it’s from Target.