Southern Caramel Cake

Indulge in Sweet Southern Tradition with Southern Caramel Cake: A Heavenly Delight

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Prepare to embark on a journey of sweetness and nostalgia with our Southern Caramel Cake recipe. Rooted in Southern tradition, this decadent dessert is a celebration of rich caramel flavor and moist, tender cake layers. With a luscious caramel frosting that’s as velvety as it is indulgent, each slice of this cake is a heavenly delight that’s sure to leave you craving more. Whether you’re honoring a special occasion or simply treating yourself to a taste of Southern hospitality, this recipe is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth and warm your heart. So, let’s dive into the kitchen and create a dessert masterpiece that’s worthy of any Southern table!


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For the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the Caramel Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Prepare the Cake Batter:
    • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
    • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
    • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Bake the Cake Layers:
    • Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula.
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
    • Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. Prepare the Caramel Frosting:
    • In a medium saucepan, heat the granulated sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula.
    • Continue to cook the sugar until it melts and turns a deep amber color, being careful not to burn it.
    • Once the sugar has caramelized, remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully add the butter, stirring until melted and combined.
    • Slowly pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
    • Stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Allow the caramel frosting to cool slightly before using.
  5. Frost the Cake:
    • Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread a generous layer of caramel frosting over the top.
    • Place the second cake layer on top of the frosted layer. Spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake, using a spatula to create a smooth finish.
  6. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Slice the cake and serve it as is, or garnish with additional caramel sauce or chopped nuts if desired. Enjoy the indulgent sweetness of Southern Caramel Cake!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Add Pecans: For a classic Southern touch, sprinkle chopped pecans over the top of the frosted cake for added crunch and flavor.
  • Infuse with Bourbon: For a boozy twist, add a tablespoon of bourbon to the caramel frosting for a rich depth of flavor.
  • Experiment with Frosting: While caramel frosting is traditional for Southern Caramel Cake, you can also try variations such as cream cheese frosting or chocolate ganache for a unique flavor experience.
  • Make Mini Cakes: Instead of baking two 9-inch round cakes, divide the batter among mini cake pans or muffin tins to create individual-sized cakes for special occasions or gifts.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

  • Keto-Friendly: To make a keto-friendly version of this cake, substitute almond flour for the all-purpose flour and use a sugar-free sweetener such as erythritol or stevia in place of granulated sugar. You can also replace the buttermilk with a combination of heavy cream and water to reduce the carb content.
  • Low-Carb Option: For a lower-carb option, reduce the amount of sugar used in the cake batter and frosting or use a sugar-free sweetener. You can also use a combination of almond flour and coconut flour for the cake layers to further reduce the carb content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter? A: While unsalted butter is preferred for better control of the saltiness in the recipe, you can use salted butter if that’s what you have on hand. Just be sure to adjust the amount of salt added to the cake batter and frosting accordingly.

Q: Can I make the cake layers in advance? A: Yes, you can bake the cake layers in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Alternatively, you can wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months.

Q: Can I use store-bought caramel sauce instead of making my own? A: While homemade caramel sauce adds a rich, homemade flavor to the cake, you can use store-bought caramel sauce if you’re short on time. Just make sure it’s a thick, pourable consistency that’s suitable for frosting.

Q: Can I use whole eggs instead of just egg whites in the cake batter? A: While using only egg whites results in a lighter, fluffier cake texture, you can use whole eggs if you prefer. Just keep in mind that the cake may be slightly denser and richer in flavor.

Q: How should I store leftover cake? A: Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving for the best taste and texture.

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In conclusion, Southern Caramel Cake is a timeless classic that embodies the warmth and hospitality of Southern baking. With its moist, tender cake layers and velvety caramel frosting, this indulgent dessert is sure to be a hit at any gathering or celebration. Whether you’re savoring a slice with a cup of coffee or sharing it with loved ones, each bite is a heavenly delight that transports you to a place of sweet Southern comfort. So, gather your ingredients and embrace the joy of baking as you create your own masterpiece of Southern sweetness. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life and savor every moment with Southern Caramel Cake!


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