Caramel Cake

Caramel cake is tender and tasty, with layers of light cake smothered with caramel frosting and topped off with caramel syrup!

Caramel lovers with fall in love with this cake.  To-die-for caramel frosting smothered over fluffy layers makes the perfect fall cake to celebrate the season. For more treats to satiate that caramel taste-bud try Caramel Apple Dip, Caramel Cookies, and Caramel Popcorn.

A slice of caramel cake on a white plate

Calling All Caramel Lovers!

Caramel is one of my fave flavors. I especially love homemade caramels. What could be better than combining that buttery sugary flavor with a cake! This cake hits that caramel spot. It is tender and moist and bursting with caramel goodness.

You could even mix it up a bit by adding flavors that compliment caramel. It would be oh so tasty to add a thin layer of caramelized apples in the middle, or maybe even some candied pecans sprinkled on top.

Even if you leave the cake as is, it’s a perfectly delish fall treat. I’ll take mine with a hot glass of cider. Mmmm.

Step by step photos of making homemade caramel cake

How to Make Homemade Caramel Cake

PREP. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour two eight inch cake pans.

CREAM. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

WHISK. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla.

MIX. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour to the batter in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

BAKE. Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

SIMMER. While the cakes are baking, add the butter to a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, ¼ cup of cream, and the salt. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the caramel mixture begins to bubble and simmer. Simmer two minutes, then remove from heat.

COOL. Pour the caramel into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.

COMBINE. After the caramel has cooled, add 3 cups of powdered sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of heavy cream, and mix until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar as needed to make a frosting that is smooth, with a buttercream consistency.

ASSEMBLE & SERVE. To assemble the cake, level the tops with a serrated knife. Spread 1 cup of frosting on top of one layer of the cake, then top with the remaining layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake. Drizzle with the caramel ice cream topping as desired, and serve.

Cake: After reading the recipe card you’ll notice that the cake part  is really just a vanilla cake recipe. You can definitely use your favorite vanilla cake recipe. If you’re in a hurry you can make a box cake or purchase two round plain vanilla cakes from the bakery. 

The cake part can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer. Allow the cakes to cool, wrap with plastic wrap and again with foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, frost and serve.

Frosting for caramel cake in a mixing bowl

The Caramel Frosting

It’s up to the frosting to really make this cake shine as a caramel cake.

  • You can use light or dark brown sugar or even a mixture of the two. 
  • Use a larger pot as the caramel tends to bubble up, a lot, and you don’t want it spilling over the sides.
  • Don’t overcook the caramel or it will become too hard to mix
  • Brush down the sides of the pot as it cooks to help keep crystals from forming
  • Make sure that the butter and cream are at room temperature before adding them to the caramel mixture. 

Decorating the cake can be as simple as smoothly spreading on the caramel frosting or you can break out your piping tips and pipe on different designs. You can add a caramel or chocolate drizzle. Finally, you can top it with a pretty design of toasted chopped nuts.

Caramel Cake recipe on a cake stand

Cupcake Version + Storing

Caramel Cupcakes: A nice thing about cake batter is that you can easily bake it in different cake pans. All you have to do is adjust the bake time. To make these into cupcakes line the pan with cupcake liners and fill the liners with batter about ⅔ of the way full. Bake at 350° for 15-20 or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Top with caramel frosting.

STORE this cake at room temperature on a cake stand with a lid, or lightly covered with plastic wrap. To keep the plastic wrap from touching the caramel, you can stick a few toothpicks in the top of the cake, and drape the plastic wrap over the top. The cake should keep well at room temp for 1-2 days or in the fridge for 3-4.

You can also FREEZE leftover cake. Flash freeze first by placing the leftovers on a baking pan and sticking them in the freezer until solid. Wrap with plastic wrap then again with foil. Freeze for 2-3 months. When you’re ready to eat simply unwrap and allow to thaw.

If you want to make this cake ahead of time, it’s best to store the cake and frosting separately until you’re ready to frost and serve. Use the storage tips from above for the cake. Store frosting in an airtight container in the fridge up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.

A slice of homemade caramel cake on a white plate

For more cakes, try:

Caramel Cake Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Caramel cake is tender and tasty, with layers of light cake smothered with caramel frosting and topped off with caramel syrup!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 937 kcal
Author Lil' Luna

Ingredients

for the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

for the frosting:

  • 12 tablespoons butter cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour two eight inch cake pans.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla.
  • With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour to the batter in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Mix until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  • While the cakes are baking, add the butter to a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, 1/4 cup of cream, and the salt. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the caramel mixture begins to bubble and simmer. Simmer two minutes, then remove from heat. Pour the caramel into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
  • After the caramel has cooled, add 3 cups of powdered sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup of heavy cream, and mix until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar as needed to make a frosting that is smooth, with a buttercream consistency.
  • To assemble the cake, level the tops with a serrated knife. Spread 1 cup of frosting on top of one layer of the cake, then top with the remaining layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake. Drizzle with the caramel ice cream topping as desired, and serve.

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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. this cake looks delicious,but i am looking for help,in the recipe for lemon sheet cake it calls for 3oz white choco instant pudding,if i convert it to canadian metric it looks like about 3 packadges,is this really true sounds like alot.

    1. 3 ounces (which is also 2/3 cup in U.S. measurements) of instant pudding should equal 85 grams when converted to the Canadian metric. I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes!

  2. thanks for the info as requested on the lemon sheet cake,i made it and it turned out great,thank you for the great recipe along with the canadian conversion veryhelpful.stay safe