Old- Fashioned Caramel Cake



Caramel cake is a classic cake and a staple recipe for many Black Americans and Southern families. It can be a cake for special traditions, since it does take a little while to make it. But, most great things take time!

I typically make this cake for family get-togethers and holidays since it’s so sweet and delicious! I like making this cake in a 9 x13 pan, but you can also make as a 2 or 3 layer cake. It is your preference.

I suggest saving the butter cake recipe since it is a good one, and can be used in many recipes. You can top it with a buttercream icing or a simple cake icing. The caramel icing is extra sweet, but I have a major sweet tooth. I cook my caramel icing for almost 2 hours so the flavors and the icing can really develop.

I have seen a lot of recipes for caramel cake, but many take a shortcut on the icing. I prefer a traditional caramel frosting recipe including butter, sugar, evaporated milk and vanilla. Below is my version --at your next family holiday, bring this cake along!

Recipe – I recommend the brands below to get the best results. I’ve experimented with other brands, but I get best flavor with the following.

Butter Cake Ingredients

2.5 sticks of unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

6 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

½ cup of whole milk

½ cup sour cream

2 ½ cups Swans Down Cake Flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

Caramel Icing Ingredients

Nestle evaporated milk (buy one 12oz can + one 5oz can)

2 ½ teaspoon vanilla

1.5 sticks of unsalted butter

2 cups granulated sugar

Making the Cake


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Using Baker’s Joy, grease and flour a 9x13 cake pan (or 9 in. cake rounds)

3. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar at high speed until fluffy about 5 minutes. Add sour cream and mix an additional 1 minute.

4. Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.

5. In small bowl combine cake flour, salt and baking powder. Sift flour gently adding to mixing bowl.

6. Add milk and vanilla, mix well.

7. Pour batter into cake pan and tap to remove air bubbles.

8. If using a 9x13 pan, Bake 325 degrees 30 minutes. Continue cooking in 10 minute increments, checking for doneness. Total time is typically 50 minutes. If using 9 in cake rounds, cook time may vary between 30-35 minutes.


Making the Caramel Frosting


1. Add butter, evaporated milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and sugar to a saucepan.

2. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and cool mixture at medium- low. Cook uncovered and stir periodically for 2 hours—or until sauce reaches optimal thickness.

3. Remove from heat and add additional 1-2 teaspoon vanilla. Let caramel completely cool about 45min-hour.

4. Pour over yellow cake and serve!


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