Easy Caramel Cake
From Cook's Country
We used the reverse creaming method for our Easy Caramel Cake, which meant beating the butter into the dry ingredients to achieve a tender, finer-crumbed cake. A more traditional large-crumbed cake wouldn’t be sturdy enough to support the thick frosting. Switching from cake flour to all-purpose flour also gave the cake more structure to handle the heavy frosting.
For a truly easy caramel frosting, we simmered just the brown sugar and butter before adding cream—the flavor of caramel was unmistakable. To ensure the icing wouldn’t stiffen before we frosted the cake, we beat a little softened butter into the finished frosting. The fat from the butter kept the frosting soft and spreadable for a few precious extra minutes.
In step 5, the cooled frosting stays soft and spreadable longer than other recipes, but it will harden over time. If the frosting does begin to stiffen, you can microwave it for about 10 seconds (or until it returns to a spreadable consistency).
- 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups Confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. For the cake layers: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in large measuring cup. With electric mixer on low speed, mix flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, until only pea-sized pieces remain. Pour in half of buttermilk mixture and beat over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add remaining buttermilk mixture to bowl and beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
2. Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks. Cool completely, at least 1 hour.
3. For the frosting: Heat 8 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and salt in large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan (see photo at left), 4 to 8 minutes. Whisk in cream and cook until ring of bubbles reappears, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in vanilla.
4. Transfer hot frosting mixture to bowl and, with electric mixer on low speed, gradually mix in confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until frosting is pale brown and just warm, about 5 minutes. Add remaining butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. To assemble: Place 1 cake round on serving platter. Spread ¾ cup frosting over cake, then top with second cake round. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Serve.