Down Home Caramel Cake
Servings: 8 - 12
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients for Cake:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for baking pan, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for Frosting:
- 2 ½ cups plus ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 (9-inch) round cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Stand mixer (paddle & whisk Attachment) or electric hand mixer
- 2-3 spatulas
- Wire rack
- Saucepan or Dutch oven
- Candy thermometer
- Long serrated knife
- Cake Stand or plate
- Offset spatula
Caramel Cake - cake layers can be baked and wrapped in plastic several days ahead. Store the cakes at room temperature for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 6 months.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees and prepare both round cake pans by greasing the pans with butter. Then sprinkle a little flour into each pan, tilt and shake to spread evenly. Tap out excess flour and finish by lining the bottom of both pans with parchment.
- Using the stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or hand mixer, beat 1 stick of butter and both granulated and light brown sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
- Drop the speed of the mixer to add the eggs one at a time. Increase the speed to medium high once all eggs are incorporated. The mixture should be creamy and pale yellow in color.
- In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder and salt; set aside
- In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients: milk and vanilla; set aside.
- Starting with the dry ingredients, alternate adding dry and wet ingredients into the batter on medium speed until fully incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat the batter for 3 to 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Divide the batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When properly baked, the top of the cake has a slight bounce back when pressed and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- When the cakes are ready, remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip the pans over onto the rack and tap gently on the top. Lift the pans gently to remove from cakes. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting - approximately an hour.
- Place ⅓ cup of sugar in a dutch oven or saucepan and cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar turns a golden brown liquid. If the sugar starts to get lumpy/clumpy, do not worry! Continue to stir and the sugar will melt into a gold brown liquid. Remove from the heat.
- Add the remaining 2 ½ cup of sugar, flour and cream to the golden brown liquid and whisk until smooth. Be careful not to touch the sugar, as it will bubble up.
- Return the pan to medium high heat and let the caramel cook. You’re looking for the caramel to get to 238°F on a candy thermometer, which is known as the soft ball stage. This process should take approximately 12 minutes. Once the temperature has been reached remove the pan from the heat.
- Quickly stir in 1 stick of butter and vanilla extract. Continue to stir until the temperature drops to 110°F. To speed up the cooling process, fill the sink halfway with ice cold water and place the pan in the sink, stirring continuously.
- While the frosting is cooling, you can level the cooled cakes by grabbing a serrated knife and removing any uneven layers from the top of the cake.
- Once the frosting mixture is at a cooling temperature, pour it into a stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment or a separate bowl with a hand mixer. On high speed, whip the caramel for 10 minutes, allowing it to crystalize a bit, lighten in color and begin to thicken. Add the remaining stick of butter and and continue to whip on high speed until the butter is fully incorporated.
- Set 1 cake layer on a cake stand on a plate. Pour ¾ cup of the frosting onto the cake layer and spread the frosting using an offset spatula. Invert the other cake layer onto the frosting (you want the bottom side up so that you have a flat top) and pour the remaining frosting over the cake. Using the offset spatula, spread the frosting from the top of the cake to the sides. Do your very best to work quickly, as the frosting will start to set. If it starts to set before you're able to properly spread the frosting, dip the spatula in warm water (this can help prevent sticking as you spread).
- Once the cake is frosted, allow it to sit for at least 1 hour before serving.