Southern Caramel Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 3-layer 8-inch cake
For the Cake:
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¾ cups (12 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed (3 ½ ounces) light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 6 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
To make the cake:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, and flour pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine sour cream and buttermilk in a measuring cup and set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar on a medium-high speed until combined. Slowly pour in vegetable oil and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg and egg yolks, one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 2 additions, mixing until just incorporated. Do not over mix. Give the batter a final stir by hand.
  3. Divide the batter between the pans evenly. Smooth the tops with an offset spatula and tap the pans against the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for 20 to 26 minutes, rotating halfway, until a tester comes out mostly clean with some crumbs. Do not over bake the cakes. Remove from the oven, let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Invert cakes onto cooling racks until completely cooled. On their own, the cake layers can be stored, individually covered in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for 3 days. If wrapped in plastic and then aluminum foil, the cakes can be frozen for 1 month. The cake layers need to be completely defrosted before unwrapped and dressed with frosting.
To make the Frosting:
  1. In a medium sized saucepan combine the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar and melt over medium heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and whisk the sauce frequently to prevent it from burning or over flowing, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. The caramel should thicken to the consistency of a loose pudding that coats the back of a spoon and be the color of amber. Remove from heat and transfer the frosting into a heat safe bowl. Let it cool for 20 minutes before adding the vanilla and salt. To speed up cooling time, put the frosting in the refrigerator and stir it occasionally until it has thickened, it will still be thinner than traditional buttercream frostings. The frosting has to be thick or else it will ooze out of the cake.
To assemble the cake:
  1. Use a serrated knife and level off the tops of the cake layers. Line edges of a cake platter with parchment paper. Place 1 layer on the platter and pour 1 cup of the frosting into the center of the layer. With an off set spatula to gently push some, but not all, of the frosting to the outer portions of the cake. Repeat this step with the second layer. On the third layer, spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Try not to overwork the frosting. Letting the frosting pour down the sides will ensure a cleaner, smoother outer finish. Carefully remove parchment before placing it in the refrigerator to set up. Serve the cake after it has set up.
Recipe adapted from Grandbaby Cakes
Recipe by Layer Cake Parade at