Classic Southern Caramel Cake

Classic Southern Caramel Cake: A Sweet Symphony of Southern Comfort

  The Classic Southern Caramel Cake is a beloved dessert that epitomizes Southern hospitality and culinary tradition. This decadent cake is a testament to the art of caramel-making, featuring layers of moist, tender cake slathered in rich, gooey caramel icing. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply craving a slice of Southern sweetness, this caramel cake is a symphony of flavors and nostalgia that will transport you to a front porch swing in the heart of Dixie. Let’s embark on a culinary journey and discover how to create this iconic Southern treat.


For the Cake:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Caramel Icing:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Prepare the Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the granulated sugar and softened unsalted butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the whole milk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.
  6. Stir in the pure vanilla extract until the cake batter is well combined.
  7. Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared pans.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Then, remove them from the pans and place them on wire racks to cool completely.

Prepare the Caramel Icing: 10. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the granulated sugar, unsalted butter, and evaporated milk.

  1. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel thickens and reaches the soft ball stage on a candy thermometer, which is around 238-240°F (114-116°C).
  3. Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the pure vanilla extract.
  4. Allow the caramel to cool for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens to a spreadable consistency.

Assemble the Cake: 15. Place one of the cooled cake layers on a serving plate or cake stand.

  1. Spread a generous layer of caramel icing over the top of the first layer.
  2. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the process, spreading caramel icing over it.
  3. Finally, place the third cake layer on top and frost the top and sides with the remaining caramel icing.

Serve and Enjoy: 19. Slice and serve your Classic Southern Caramel Cake, savoring the sweet and gooey caramel goodness.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Be patient while making the caramel icing. Stirring constantly and monitoring the temperature is crucial for achieving the right consistency.
  • You can add a pinch of salt to the caramel icing for a touch of salted caramel flavor.
  • Decorate your caramel cake with pecans or a sprinkle of sea salt for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
  • Store any leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two or in the refrigerator for longer freshness.

 The Classic Southern Caramel Cake is a symbol of Southern charm and culinary mastery. With its moist cake layers and rich, caramel icing, this dessert is a sweet embrace of tradition and hospitality. Whether you’re sharing it at a family gathering or indulging in a slice of comfort, this caramel cake embodies the essence of Southern sweetness. So, savor the flavors, and let the warmth of Southern hospitality fill your heart with every bite of this iconic cake.

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