This Caramel Cake recipe is perfect for that die hard caramel fan in your life. Homemade caramel sauce is used in the cake layers, frosting, and the drip!
I am obsessed with how pretty this Caramel Cake turned out. Not only the perfectly smooth cake combed sides, but the caramel drip that was just the right consistency to not drip all the way down and create a hot mess. It’s not often things work out smoothly over here, so I need to celebrate it when it happens!
- Do not attempt to make the caramel with cold cream or butter — they must be at room temperature (see below).
- You’ll want to use a larger pot than you think you’ll need. The caramel bubbles a LOT when the cream is added. At least 4-5x the volume.
- The caramel will be HOT so handle with care. If you’re making a salted caramel, be sure to let it cool before tasting it! Dip a spoon into the hot caramel, let it cool, taste, add more salt as needed.
- Don’t take your eyes off the sugar. Once it starts to turn color it can burn very quickly.
- Brushing down the sides of the pot is important to prevent your sugar from crystallizing — we don’t want a grainy caramel!
For the Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2/3 cup butter cut in small cubes
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 tbsp water
For the Vanilla Cake
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons good quality vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups milk, you can use undiluted evaporated milk for extra richness if you like.
- 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
For the Caramel Frosting
- tbsp a few milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce
- 3 1/2 cups to 4 icing sugar, powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
PREPARING THE CARAMEL SAUCE
- You will want to prepare the ingredients and have them at the ready. Timing is very important in a good caramel sauce, so having the butter and cream ready at the crucial point is critical to the success of your sauce.
- When the sugar syrup hits the right stage to add the butter and cream it will be over 300 degrees F so it is important to take particular care. It is also very important to use a proper sized pot.
- Although the recipe only makes about 2 cups, you will need a 2 1/2 to 3 quart/liter heavy bottomed saucepan because the sugar syrup will foam up considerably and produce a considerable amount of steam when the butter is added and again when the cream is added.
- These safety tips are not meant to deter, it’s just good advice to make these sorts of things when you can take the time without distractions and give it your full attention.
- A successful caramel sauce is also one that has been given careful attention. With a little practice you will be a caramel ace in no time.
PREPARE THE EQUIPMENTS AND INGREDIENTS
- Begin by mixing the sugar and water in a large saucepan.
- Boil the sugar and water over medium heat until the mixture begins to turn a light to medium amber color. It is very easy to burn this mixture which can happen very quickly once the proper color is achieved, so have your butter and cream at the ready, as timing is crucial for this recipe.
- Do not stir the boiling sugar, this can cause it to crystallize. If you find the sugar starts to crystallize, use a pastry brush to brush water around the inside edge of the pot as it boils. You may have to do this several times. Carefully swirling the pan occasionally is also helpful to avoid crystallization of the sugar.
- When the color is right, quickly add the butter and stir quickly until the butter is melted.
- Remove from the heat immediately and pour in the whipping cream, stirring constantly until the sauce is uniformly smooth.
- Cool completely.
MAKE THE VANILLA CAKE
- Grease two 8 or 9 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Sift together the app purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter sugar and vanilla extract well at high speed with whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the vegetable oil. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Do not over mix the batter. As soon as it has no lumps in the batter, pour into the two prepared 9 inch cake pans.
- Bake at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
MAKE THE CARAMEL FROSTING
- Beat all ingredients together until smooth, fluffy, and a spreadable consistency.
- Use a couple of tablespoons of milk to begin and add more if need be or of it becomes too thin, just add a couple more tablespoons of icing sugar at a time.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
- Cut the two layers into 4.
- Reserve about 2/3 cup of the caramel sauce (1/2 cup for the frosting and the rest to drizzle on top of the cake.)
- Divide the remaining caramel sauce in 3 parts and use it to fill the three inner layers of the cake.
- Frost with the caramel frosting and drizzle with any remaining caramel sauce.