The Best Caramel Cake

Caramel Cake Recipe

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The rich, buttery caramel sauce combined with the moist, tender vanilla cake creates a harmonious blend of flavors that’s simply irresistible. I first stumbled upon this recipe during a family gathering a few years ago. My aunt, renowned for her baking prowess, brought this stunning caramel cake to our annual reunion. The cake was an instant hit, with everyone raving about its decadent layers and the perfectly balanced sweetness of the caramel. Ever since, it has become a staple for our special occasions and get-togethers.

One of the things I love most about this caramel cake recipe is its versatility. While the traditional recipe is undoubtedly delicious, there are several tweaks and variations you can experiment with to suit your taste. For instance, you could add a pinch of sea salt to the caramel sauce for a delightful salted caramel twist. This adds a new depth of flavor and enhances the overall taste of the cake. Alternatively, incorporating a layer of chocolate ganache between the cake layers can create a rich contrast to the caramel and elevate the cake to a whole new level of indulgence.

Another tweak that I find appealing is substituting the milk with undiluted evaporated milk, as suggested in the recipe. This simple change adds an extra layer of richness and creaminess to the cake, making each bite more luscious and satisfying. Additionally, for those who enjoy a bit of crunch, sprinkling chopped toasted nuts, such as pecans or almonds, between the layers can provide a delightful texture and complement the smooth caramel frosting perfectly.

As you embark on making this delightful caramel cake, remember that patience is key, especially when preparing the caramel sauce. Achieving the right amber color without burning the sugar is crucial to ensuring the sauce’s perfect balance of sweetness and depth. Once you master this, the rest of the process flows seamlessly, and you’ll have a show-stopping cake that’s sure to impress your family and friends.

Making The Best Caramel Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk (undiluted evaporated milk can be used for extra richness)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • A few tablespoons milk

Directions

  1. Gather all ingredients before starting to ensure a smooth cooking process. Timing is critical for caramel sauce preparation.
  2. In a 2 1/2 to 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and water. Boil over medium heat until the mixture turns light to medium amber. Avoid overcooking to prevent a burnt taste.
  3. Quickly add butter to the sugar mixture, stirring until melted. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the cream until smooth. Let cool completely.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease two 8 or 9-inch cake pans and line them with parchment paper.
  5. Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  6. In a mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla extract at high speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the vegetable oil, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  7. Alternate folding in the dry ingredients and milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  8. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  10. To make the frosting, beat all frosting ingredients together until smooth and fluffy. Adjust the consistency with milk or powdered sugar as needed.
  11. Cut each cake layer in half horizontally to create four layers. Reserve 2/3 cup caramel sauce (1/2 cup for frosting and the remainder for drizzling).
  12. Divide the remaining caramel sauce into three portions and spread between the cake layers. Frost the cake with the caramel frosting and drizzle with the reserved caramel sauce.

FAQs:

How can I avoid burning the caramel sauce?

To avoid burning the caramel sauce, keep a close eye on the color as it cooks. Remove it from the heat when it reaches a light to medium amber color. It’s better to be slightly under than over, as burnt caramel can taste bitter.

Can I use regular milk instead of evaporated milk in the cake?

Yes, you can use regular milk instead of evaporated milk. However, evaporated milk adds extra richness and a slightly different texture to the cake.

What is the best way to store the caramel cake?

Store the caramel cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate it for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.

How do I achieve a smooth and fluffy frosting?

To achieve smooth and fluffy frosting, beat the ingredients at high speed until light and airy. Add milk gradually to reach the desired consistency, or add more powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin.

Can I make the caramel sauce in advance?

Yes, you can make the caramel sauce in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it gently before using it in the cake or frosting.

Why is it important to sift the flour?

Sifting the flour helps to aerate it, ensuring a lighter and fluffier cake. It also removes any lumps and ensures that the baking powder and soda are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Caramel Cake

Caramel Cake

Make the ultimate caramel cake with our step-by-step recipe. Rich, moist, and utterly delicious. Bake this treat now!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 39 minutes
Course Cake
Cuisine American
Servings 12
...

Ingredients
  

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup butter cut into cubes
  • 4 tablespoons water

For the Vanilla Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups milk undiluted evaporated milk can be used for extra richness

For the Caramel Frosting:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • a few tablespoons milk

Instructions
 

  • Prepare all ingredients beforehand to ensure smooth execution. Timing is crucial for caramel sauce, so have butter and cream ready at the right moment. Use a 2 1/2 to 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan since the sugar syrup will foam up and produce steam when butter and cream are added.
  • Combine sugar and water in a large saucepan. Boil over medium heat until it turns light to medium amber. Experience helps in perfecting the color, but it's better to be slightly light than too dark, which can taste burnt. Once the color is right, add butter quickly, stir until melted, then remove from heat and pour in cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Cool completely.
  • Grease two 8 or 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Sift all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together and set aside.
  • In a mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla extract at high speed until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in vegetable oil, then eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Fold in dry ingredients alternately with milk, starting and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, then pour into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For the frosting, beat all ingredients together until smooth and fluffy. Add milk a little at a time to reach the desired consistency, or more powdered sugar if too thin.
  • Cut cake layers in half to create 4 layers. Reserve 2/3 cup caramel sauce (1/2 cup for frosting and the rest to drizzle). Divide remaining caramel sauce into 3 parts to fill the inner layers. Frost with caramel frosting and drizzle with leftover caramel sauce.
Keyword Caramel

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