Caramel Cake

Caramel Cake

Caramel cake. It’s my new obsession. That and fish tacos. But not together, because ew.

I originally made this for “family dinner”, which is when our family and the two neighbors from the old neighborhood indulge in our denial that we no longer live next to each other and we all have lunch after church. The last one got thrown together the night before, because that’s how family does things. I made this cake by mixing together a handful of recipes I already use and you have already seen. I was tired and lazy so I made it via the “poke cake” method in which you bake the cake in a 9X13 inch baking dish, poke a bunch of holes all over it (extremely therapeutic) and then drizzle dump caramel sauce over the top. After it all soaked into the cake, I covered it with frosting. Excessive? Don’t you dare. 

So, for round two, I made it for girl’s night. Another form of denial in which us ladies from my small group get together in “fellowship” and to “build relationships” (aka drink wine, eat junk, talk). The denial part comes in when we pretend that our food choices were responsible or grown up in any fashion of the form. 

I made round two in layer cake form because it’s pretty and feels more sophisticated but both ways are delicious. 

Start with making the most delicious yellow cake/butter cake. (Recipe below.) It’s your pretty basic “combine the dry, add the wet, mix” instructions. Bake either in a 9X13 or in two round pans. This was the perfect thickness in 8 inch rounds but 9 would work nicely too. 

Wanna learn a little trick? When you’re too lazy to pull out the Wilton baking strips (because that’s so much work) and so you end up with cakes that are rounded on top in the middle- turn them out of their pans and allow them to cool upside down. The weight of the cake will flatten out the tops and save you the bother of leveling your cake. Voila. 


Make caramel sauce and let it cool. So in other words, make it early.

Make some caramel frosting. So delicious. So easy.

Combine butter (don’t you dare use margarine), caramel sauce, and powdered sugar in your mixing bowl.



Turn your mixer on low. Gradually increase speed and as it gets crumbly, slowly add milk or cream. Crank that puppy up and let it whip until you have a thick, creamy, spreadable frosting.



Now build your cake. Here’s how I build a cake.

Place a little frosting on your cake surface to help keep it from slipping around on you.


Place layer one down, like normal. In other words, top up. Grab a plastic baggie and stick some frosting in it. Cut off the tip of one end. 


Pipe a simple border around the edge of the layer to contain your caramel filling. Otherwise your layers will slip and slide all over each other.



Add the second layer, top side down.


Frost cake with the rest of the icing. I LOVE my offset icing spreader for frosting cakes and my Wilton turntable. (Those are not affiliate links, I just love those products). If you’re lucky, like me, some caramel will ooze out the side of your cake despite your best efforts. 


That’s it! Cut. Eat. Yum.


Caramel Cake
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  1. 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1-teaspoon salt
  5. 1 1/4 cups milk (use something with some fat in it!)
  6. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  7. 1 stick butter (not margarine), softened
  8. 1-tablespoon vanilla extract
  9. 3 large eggs
Caramel Sauce
  1. 2 cups Brown Sugar
  2. 1 stick Butter (8 Tablespoons)
  3. 1 cup Half-and-half Or Cream (cream Will Make It Thicker)
  4. 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  5. 2 Tablespoons Vanilla
  6. 1/4 tsp. Salt
  1. 2 sticks of butter
  2. 1 cup caramel sauce
  3. 6-7 cups of powdered sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon vanilla
  5. milk or cream as needed (2-4 tablespoons)
Make the cake
  1. Combine the dry ingredients. Mix to combine.
  2. Add the oil, milk, vanilla, and butter and beat on high for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs and beat on high for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean (it should grab a few crumbs)
  5. If making the poke cake: let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then use a fork to poke holes all over the cake.
  6. If making a layer cake: turn your cakes out onto cake circles or a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Make the caramel
  1. Combine everything except the vanilla in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Simmer an additional 3-5 minutes until slightly thickened.
  3. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and whisk to combine. Pour 1 cup into a container to cool and the rest into a separate container to cool- do not scrape the side of the pan!
  4. Let cool
When the caramel has cooled, make the frosting
  1. Add all the ingredients except the milk to the bowl of your mixer and gradually increase speed. Gradually add milk or cream while your mixer is turned up to medium or high speed (careful not to splatter milk) and beat until you have a thick, creamy icing.
  2. If making a poke cake: Spread the remaining caramel sauce over the top of the cake and let it soak in. Then frost.
  3. If making a layer cake, pipe a border of frosting around the top of the first layer. Spread 1 cup (or so) of caramel sauce in the middle. Add the second layer and frost.
  4. Drizzle with any remaining caramel sauce for decoration.
A Sweeter Thing