The Perfect Caramel Cake (with sea salt and optional salted caramel popcorn)
This Southern-style caramel cake is simply dreamy. The best yellow cake you’ve ever had, filled and covered with the creamiest, not-too-sweet caramel icing, sprinkled with sea salt and topped with optional salted caramel popcorn for a surprise crunch!
*Please note that some of the cake images of this post look very different from one another. This is because I baked and photographed the cake 3 different times on 3 different occasions. All are made from the same exact recipe, but just different presentations. The first time, I topped the cake with caramel popcorn (refer to 2nd image), but then I felt bad that the glistening surface of the cake was hidden, wasn’t very satisfied with the cake sides and I also wanted to show you the option of omitting the caramel popcorn if you prefer, so its more like a classic caramel cake. The second time around (image below) I played around with making a swirl and doing a better job covering the sides. While very pretty, I must confess that it was very challenging and frustrating. This is because its really hard to try and manipulate caramel that wants to set and it also risks separating (I don’t recommend going through the same ordeal). For that reason, I made another photoshoot with caramel that has been simply poured on and have not been played around with (refer to 3rd and 4th image), which in my opinion is the way to go. So there you have it…3 looks; the choice is yours:)
Remember a bajillion days ago when I posted my last recipe, the No-Bake Salted Caramel Popcorn?
Yeah? Well this cake post was supposed to be the sequel. And the “smart” plan was to post it a few days after it, because they revolve around the same idea and that should’ve made a ton of sense!
But as you can see, I’m an “awesome” planner 🙁
I baked the cake (3 times!!!), shot the photos (3 times!!!), and took all the material with me to my summer vacation destination, thinking I’m super organized, with a strong determination that I will edit them and finish off the post for you shortly.
Pffff…who am I kidding? Work on vacation? Yeah right!
Then came back-to-school week (oh how do I love theeee) which got me quite occupied…in the best of ways, I must admit.
But! I had the best of intentions, so I know you’ll find it in your heart to forgive me for keeping this dreamy cake from you for that long.
See that ol’ salted caramel popcorn from the last post piled on top? Makes sense now? Can you see where I was going?
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a SEQUEL!
Seriously guys, this caramel cake is a triumph!
Do you know how long I’ve been searching for the perfect Southern-style caramel cake? I lost track, but its A LOT!
But this one has finally put an end to my search. No more caramel cake recipe testing for me because this one is PER-FECT!
Three perfectly moist and tender yellow cake layers filled and covered with a not-too-sweet caramel glaze, that it soft enough to the bite, yet sturdy enough not to roll off the cake. A little sprinkling of sea salt, tickles the mouth, while a topping of salted caramel popcorn adds a pleasant textural contrast. I’m in love.
The perfect caramel cake has to start with perfect yellow cake layers, which is not easy to come by.
The yellow cake layers used here are melt in your mouth mmmmmmmmmoist,super tender with a very fine crumb. To the naked eye, it might appear dense, but once it touches the tongue, it’s OMG so FLUFFY! It’s THE BEST yellow cake I’ve ever made or had and I’ve made A LOT! You name the recipe…I guarantee you I’ve tried it.
I was kinda on this foodie mission to find the best yellow cake recipe, so I was crazy with experimentation. For years! Until I met this one on Mel’s blog. She developed it after having test it over 16 times so we could enjoy the fruit of her labor.
Mel…if you’re by any chance reading this…BIG high-five and thank you! Really really.
To get the ins and outs of this yellow cake, I urge to hop to her blog, to read all about the details. Very interesting.
Now you can’t have a perfect caramel cake without a perfect caramel icing. Right?
It must taste unmistakingly of caramel…obviously, but as importantly it must not be not be as liquid as a caramel sauce. The icing should be able to fill the cake layers without causing them to slide around and should adhere to the outside of cake as soon as it sets. The glaze should also be soft enough to bite, kinda like chocolate ganache, without sticking to the teeth.
A lot of the recipes that I’ve tried either call for adding a ton of powdered sugar to a caramel or toffee sauce to thicken it up. That actually mutes the caramel flavor and just makes your teeth want to fall off. I might have a sweet tooth but I’m not a fan of overly sweet frostings by any means.
Other recipes that are authentic to the Southern version caramel glaze are perfectly sweet, but require 1 1/2 to 2 hours of cooking over the stovetop with occasional stirring. Yes! You heard that correctly…1 1/2 to 2 hours!!!! I must admit that in the past, I was desperate enough for a good caramel icing that I just had to try it. To be completely honest, it did not work out at all for me. It could be that I’m not skilled enough, but I’m not planning to dedicate another 2 hours of my life to trying to get it right any time soon.
And why would I, when this version takes only 15 minutes MAX on the stove and tastes heavenly?
Creamy, thick, shiny, soft and perfectly sweet.
I’ve adapted it from Lottie + Doof’s blog only cooking it slightly longer to get it to a thicker consistency.
To make the caramel cake, you’ll begin by whipping up the Best Yellow Cake recipe, divide it among 3 (8 inch pans) and bake ’em up. You might notice a little shrinkage of the cake sides a few minutes after they come out oven, down worry, they’re still gonna taste and feel amazing. Flip them over a wire rack and allow them cool completely.
While the cake layers are in the last few minutes of cooling, start making the caramel icing.
Light brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and heavy cream all go into a LARGE saucepan. Don’t skimp on the size of the saucepan or you might end up with the icing spilling everywhere.
Due to the large ratio of cream to sugar (hence the not too-sweet-icing), the mixture will look like a pale pot of beige soup at first.
Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reduces down, thickens, turn into a dark amber caramel color and register from 230F to 234F on a thermometer (aka the soft ball stage). Now a food thermometer will make this icing a no-brainer to make. However, if you don’t have one (seriously consider buying one, if you cook and bake often) but don’t worry, I’ll still show you how to know when you’ve reached the right temperature.
This is for my non-thermometer owning friends: As soon the icing starts showing signs that its ready, drop a teaspoonful of the icing in ice cold water. Allow it to cool for a few seconds, then feel it. The icing should easily form a ball while in the cold water, but flattens once removed. The caramel should be soft but it shouldn’t be fluid; kind of like a slightly molten piece of mozzarella cheese. See how I’m able to hold it, yet it stretches like the cheese on a hot pizza? That’s exactly want you want.
Once it has reached the right temperature, don’t stir it around again.
Let it cool off slightly; only about 5 minutes, give one stir to reincorporate (if necessary), then start pour over the layers. It is important that the icing remains very warm, so its still pourable, but not very hot that it spreads all over and creates a big mess.
Let it drip all over the sides, and my advise to you is to leave it alone and let it flow naturally over the cake. It’s ok if some areas on the sides aren’t covered. Naked side cakes are all the rage right now. Trying to play around with a caramel icing that wants to set will only cause you to lose your sanity.
I almost did.
See? Pretty right? The sides are perfectly flawed and the top is like the surface of a piano.
Now who wants to ruin that?
Apparently someone I know that shall remain nameless…
Swirl at your own risk…you’ve been waaaaaarned.
On the other hand, if you take my advice and leave things well alone, you’ll be rewarded with these perfectly clean cuts.
Sea salt or not. Caramel popcorn or not. This cake is downright delicious!
Heheheeee…just wanted to show you this wonky looking slice that spent the night in my sauna-like kitchen. August in Egypt is tough stuff you guys.
Well at least you now know that this it the worst case scenario.
A yummy looking disaster, if I do say so myself.
The Perfect Caramel Cake (with sea salt and optional salted caramel popcorn)
Using a kitchen scale for the yellow cake recipe is highly recommended, for the most accurate results. Please make sure that you only make the icing after the cakes have been baked and cooled. The icing needs to be very warm when poured on the cake and it doesn't reheat well if made in advance. Please be sure to read the 'NOTES' in the bottom.
For the Best Yellow Cake:
- 2¼ cups cake flour, lightly measured (9 oz, 255 g)* (see note for substitution)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda*
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk (1% or above),at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream (light or regular), at room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, (8oz, 250g) softened to room temperature
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar (13 oz, 368 g)
- 1½ tablespoons vanilla
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
For the Caramel Icing:
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1½ cups packed light brown sugar (10½ oz, 300g)
- 3 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sea salt flakes or coarse salt (for sprinkling), optional
- Store-bought caramel popcorn or ½ recipe No-Bake Salted Caramel Popcorn, optional
To make the yellow cake:
- Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350F/180C.
- Prepare 3 (8 inch) cake pans by spraying the bottom with non-stick cooking spray, then line with parchment rounds. Spray the parchment and sides of the pans. (Alternatively, you could grease the pans and parchment with butter and dust with flour)
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt through a fine-mesh strainer, the whisk together to evenly combine; set aside. (Do not be tempted to skip the sifting step in order to achieve maximum lightness and fluffiness in the final cake).
- In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and milk; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a handheld electric mixer and a large bowl), whip the butter on medium speed until pale in color and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes).
- Add the granulated sugar and beat until lightened in both texture and color, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.. Add in the vanilla.
- On lowest speed, add in ⅓ of the flour mixture and blend until almost combined. Add in half of the milk/sour cream mixture and mix in until mostly combined. Gently mix in another ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by the last half of the milk/sour cream mixture; beat until almost combined. End with the final ⅓ of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. (Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed). Give the batter one good, final stir to make sure that everything is well incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, smoothing the surface out with a spatula.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden around the edges, the center springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few cooked moist crumbs attached. Do NOT over bake so the cake doesn't dry out. Resist the urge to open and close the oven to check on the cake mid baking as this can cause the center of the cake to fall and never recover.
- Let the cakes rest in the pans for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, peel off parchment paper, and allow to cool completely before filling and icing.
- When the cakes have almost cooled, start making the caramel icing.
To make the Caramel Icing:
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine together the cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. (Be sure to use a saucepan a lot bigger than you think you'll need, because the mixture expands dramatically as it boils).
- Place the saucepan over a stovetop adjusted to medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula until the sugar has dissolved and everything is well incorporated. The mixture will look very pale and watery at first, so don't be alarmed.
- If the mixture is not boiling well over medium heat, increase to medium-high. Continue boiling the mixture, stirring constantly until the icing thickens and darkens into a dark amber caramel color, and registers 230 to 234°F (110C to) on a thermometer, about 12 to 14 minutes. This is known as the soft ball stage. Stir in the vanilla, if using. Stop stirring once the caramel has reached the right temperature. The less you handle the icing after its been cooked the better, otherwise it risks getting a greasy film over it.
- If you don't have a food thermometer, keep a cup with ice cold water nearby. As soon the icing starts showing signs that its ready, like looking thick and caramel-colored, drop a teaspoonful of the icing in the cold water. Allow it to cool for a few seconds, then feel it. The icing should easily form a ball while in the cold water, but flattens once removed. The caramel should be soft but it shouldn't be fluid; kind of like a slightly molten piece of mozzarella cheese. If this this is not the case, then let the mixture boil for a few more minutes, then test again.
- Allow the icing to cool slightly, about 5 minutes before using it to fill and glaze the cake. It is important that the icing remains very warm, so its still pourable, but not very hot that it spreads all over and creates a big mess.
To assemble the cake:
- Place one cake layer on the serving platter or cake stand, give the icing one final stir to reincorporate (if needed), then pour about ¾ cup of icing on top of it. You should just pour enough to cover the surface of the cake. Use an offset spatula to help spread the icing to the sides.
- Top with another cake layer and pour on another ¾ cup of icing, spreading it all over the surface.
- End with the last cake layer, then pour the remaining icing over the top of the cake, letting excess icing drip over the sides. My recommendation is to leave the icing to drip and set on it own WITHOUT touching it, leaving part of the sides naked and natural-looking, instead of trying to cover the sides up using a spatula. The surface will still be super smooth. I've found that moving the icing around with a spatula, can cause it to break and separate, creating a greasing film. If you attempt to completely cover the sides and swirl the top, as I've done in some of the pictures, you must be warned that it could be a very frustrating process, because the setting caramel is very hard to control.
- Sprinkle the surface of the cake (or just around the rim) with sea salt flakes. Top with salted caramel popcorn, if you like.
- If you don't have cake flour (which I never do), use 210 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour and 45 grams (1/4 cup) cornstarch (cornflour) instead and sift them together. Then add the other dry ingredients and sift once more.
- According to the creator of the yellow cake recipe, Mel, several of her readers have commented "that while the cake tastes amazing, it is sinking in the middle or is baking flat." While I personally had no sinking problems with the cake, she recommends that if you are worried about sunken layers, increase the baking soda to ½ or ¾ teaspoon. I actually tried that and noticed no difference in the outcome, but its up to you.
- Timing is key for the success of this recipe. Do not be tempted to make the icing in advance because it doesn't reheat well. Start cooking the icing only after the cake layers have been baked and almost cooled completely.
The Best Yellow Cake adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Caramel Icing mostly adapted from Lottie + Doof
Measurements Note: All recipes of this site have been developed using weight measurements. Although US volume measurements have been included for your convenience, it is highly encouraged that you weigh your ingredients using a kitchen scale to get the best possible results. Due to the sensitive nature of baking, kitchen scales are proven to yield more accurate and consistent results than measuring cups. Enjoy!
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I have never made good yellow cake.
I was this close to sending you a message asking you for a recipe, because I’ve followed a couple of your recipes and it has always been a success. Thank you!
Regarding the cake flour, do you think that using actual cake flour and not the flour/cornstarch substitute yields a better result.
What a coincidence?! I like to think of it as telepathy 🙂
This yellow cake is absolutely wonderful; I think you’re gonna love it. I would also suggest you check this other vanilla bundt cake here. https://cleobuttera.com/cakes/glazed-vanilla-bean-bundt-cake-with-macerated-strawberries/ It’s a really great everyday yellow cake that needs no frosting.
I’ve only tried this recipe once using cake flour when I was living in Canada because it’s widely available there, but since moving back to Egypt (where cake flour is not very common), I’ve only made it using the flour/cornstarch substitute. The only difference I’ve noticed was that the cake made with actual cake flour was airier and had a more open crumb, but in terms of moistness, tenderness and flavor, they’re both the same. So I’d say that if you can find cake flour, then go for it, if not, then rest assure the substitute still produces some pretty impressive results too.
Do you think this is a make-the-same-day-you-eat-it cake, or can one make it a day ahead of time? How would the cake and icing keep overnight? Or can one make the layers one day, then frost the next? The way you’ve written this, it almost seems you recommend icing this just after it’s cooled—but not cold/room temperature. Wanted to make this for a special Saturday evening dinner, so your thoughts would be appreciated!
Hey hey! Both ways will work just fine. You could make the whole thing, iced and all, a day ahead, and store it in an airtight cake box at room temperature. Do not refrigerate as refrigeration dries out cakes in general. The other option would be to bake the cake layers, cool them, wrap them in plastic wrap, store them in a zipper lock bag or in an airtight container at room temperature overnight. The second day, make the caramel & ice it. I hope that helps.
Good luck & happy baking ?
Thank you for responding so quickly! I think I will bake it today, ice it tomorrow. I’m always so concerned that a “next day” cake will somehow be “lesser than,” but that’s probably overwrought thinking! This way, I can bake it today, and if it’s a disaster, still get another into the oven tomorrow! Will let you know how it works out. Blessings.
I hope it turns out amazing!
This cake is so BEAUTIFUL! That caramel is mouthwatering!
Thank you Marsha! Everything you make is always so delicious looking too 🙂
Could i substitute the milk for oil to make the cake lighter or fluffier?
Que rico te ha quedado, debe de estar de muerte lenta ummmmmm
Thank you Mayte! Its so great to hear back from you. I’m glad you like this cake 🙂
That looks pretty awesome! I like the addition of caramel popcorn on one of the versions, I can imagine the textural contrast there is perfect 🙂
Thank you June! The crunch of the popcorn against the softness of the cake and creaminess of the frosting is indeed a pretty awesome experience.
I can’t seem to find any corn syrup here in Egypt. Can I substitute it with golden syrup? If not where can I buy corn syrup? I love your blog!
I completely understand Mona. Corn syrup can sometimes be hard to find in Egypt. That’s why when I do find it, I stock up on it. It’s preferable that you stick with light corn syrup because its tasteless so it doesn’t affect the caramel flavor. Golden syrup on the other hand, has a more prominent taste. It will make a great substitute nonetheless, but it will give your caramel another flavor dimension (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
I recently just bought corn syrup from Petro in Mohandiseen. I usually have good luck finding it at Ahmed Abdallah and Royal House in Heliopolis and sometimes Seoudi. Great chances you’ll find it in Maadi at supermarkets like Mariam and Kimo. I would call them beforehand though to make sure that have it before driving there.
Yummm! I LOVE the swirl on top. I know that if I make this I will ignore your recommendation, attempt to swirl the caramel, and regret it immediately haha.
Hahaaaa! Worst case scenario…cover the top up with caramel popcorn and no one has to know 😀
I just first wanted to start off by telling you how in love I am with your blog and how I intend to try every single recipe up on here because of how mouthwatering they look. I then wanted to ask you if you had any recommendation for a corn syrup substitute as I am dying to try this recipe but know that I will have trouble finding it!
Thank you so much for stopping by and for all your flattering words. I’m so happy you like it around here and hope you bake along with me:)
Regarding the corn syrup, I actually just saw it at Mariam Market in Maadi and had very recently bought some from Ahmed Abdallah and Darb El Barabra in Heliopolis (which also has a branch in Mohandiseen). Corn syrup is essential to the recipe as it prevents the icing from crystallizing (the nightmare of all things caramel). However, since the amount here is very small, I think you could get by with substituting honey or you could make a homemade substitute which is similar to the syrup we use for konafa, basbousa, etc. but thicker.
Here’s a link for a homemade corn syrup substitute:
I also wanted to ask you which size pan I should use if I wanted to half this recipe and if you have any idea how it would turn out to be if I baked it as one cake and divided it into three, rather than baking 3 separate cakes!
Thank You so much
I halved the recipe several times making a cute little 6 inch cake. I used 3 (6 inch) cake pans and it worked beautifully. I wouldn’t recommend baking the entire batter in one pan as the batter will overflow as it rises and spill in the oven. You could however, bake them in 2 pans and make a 2 layer cake. The cake layers will be thicker though (which is still nice) but you’ll have some leftover caramel icing. Alternatively, you could bake half the recipe in one (9 inch) pan and make a 1 layer cake. You’ll need about a 1/4 of the caramel icing recipe for that.
Best of luck and please let me know if there’s anything else I could help you with 🙂
So I baked this today and it tasted absolutely perfect! I used glucose instead of corn syrup and it worked perfectly fine for me! The cake was so fluffy and tasted amazing with the caramel but my caramel sauce was too thick for the cake’s fluffiness! Where do you think I went wrong with this? Did I leave the mixture on the heat for too long?
You made it! I’m really glad you like it Aliaa. You’re absolutely right…it sounds like you cooked it for a little longer than you should’ve. Did you use a thermometer or the cold water method? Either way should really help you nail the right consistency; but a thermometer is ofcourse more accurate. I’m also suspecting that the glucose has something to do with it as its a lot thicker than the corn syrup, but I can’t confirm that to be honest.
Hi Tasbih, this is a gorgeous blog. I just tried your dinner rolls recipe and it was so delicious… I have eaten up at least 10-12 of them even before my kids got to them. I’m planning to use this caramel frosting on a chocolate cake as I’m a big fan of the combination of caramel and chocolate. I live in Bangalore, India and could not find corn syrup here.. I usually substitute honey instead. Would that work here too? Also how long do I need to cool the frosted cake? As I need to take the frosted cake to a friends house which is at least an hour’s drive.. Do you foresee any problem in keeping the frosted cake covered till I get to my friends house like the caramel melting or something?
Thanks in advance, Sarah
I’m so happy you liked the dinner rolls. I know! They’re totally addictive; so hard stop at just one 😀
About the cake…the frosting sets pretty quickly; within a few minutes, but I would give it at least 30 minutes to make sure that its completely cooled before transferring it anywhere.
Honey would be a good substitute, but keep in mind that honey flavor undertones maybe detected, which in my opinion is not a bad thing.
Concerning transporting the cake, it should be fine as long as the air conditioning is on. As you can see from my last picture, this is what happened when it stayed out in my warm kitchen overnight, without the AC on. If you feel that the layers are unstable, you could secure them by inserting a wooden skewer in the middle of the cake all the way down. That usually gives a little extra insurance when transporting cakes.
If you manage to nail down the temperature of the caramel perfectly, then it should be sturdy enough to hold the cake together without sliding yet soft to cut easily and melt in the mouth.
I’m drooling!!! I will try it this week isA! Looks so good! Everything you make is amazing, mA!!!
Please don’t forget the mango kunafa. I can only imagine how great yours will be!
I can’t recommend this cake enough; I love it! I really hope you like it as well. I’d love to know how it turns out when you do try it.
I definitely haven’t forgotten about the mango kunafa; it one of my all time favs. I can’t wait to start experimenting with it, but because its more associated with Ramadan, I might have to push it a little and give priority to fall baking. I promise though, that I’ll share as soon as I’m ready with a great recipe.
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Do you think you can use a bundt pan for this recipe?
Hi Kari! I think it should work just fine. Most cake batters for layer cakes easily covert to bundts, although I’ve noticed that they sometimes turn out denser. It will still be so tender and soft though.
Please dear can you tell me what the difference between the golden and corn syrup is !! I couldn’t find the corn syrup where I live ?
So in a nutshell, the difference is that corn syrup is made from cornstarch, is clear in color and has a very mild flavor so it adapts to anything without changing its taste. It inhibits crystallization which makes it perfect for making candy, caramel, etc.
Golden syrup on the other hand, is made from sugar cane, has a light gold color and a toasty flavor. It can also inhibit crystallization. The good news is that because they have so many similar properties, they can be used interchangeably. So go ahead, golden syrup will make a great substitute in this recipe ??
I plan on making this cake in the near future for the birthday of a coworker who loves caramel. And, like Mariam I know I will ignore your recommendation and try the swirl. However, I would like to know what you used to create the swirl. My first instinct is to use the tip of a spoon that has been buttered so that the caramel doesn’t stick to the spoon. What did you use for creating the swirl?
Hey Patricia! I love your sense of adventure. I hope you nail it! The only issue I had with doing the swirl, is that I found that fiddling with the caramel too much, causes it to extract some greasiness. I fixed that by dabbing it with a tissue paper after the caramel had set. So you could just do that as well.
To do the swirl, I place the cake on a turntable (lazy Susan) and keep spinning the cake around while swiping it with the tip of a metal spatula. Because it’s difficult to explain, I’ll link you up with a video that shows pretty much the same method I used. I also used this style of swirling in the Nutella Dream Cake.
Here’s the link:
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Hhh now I ran out of golden syrup, can I use sugar syrup instead ?. And I have no pans of same sizes , can I use one cake pan then after divide the cake into three equal layers !!
Don’t try to bake this entire recipe in one pan. There will be too much batter. If you must use the pan you have that is closest to 8 inches and bake three layers separately in the same pan. This isn’t really the best thing to do because you should bake the cake as soon as the batter is ready but it beats trying to use one single pan and have the batter run over into the bottom of your oven.
If you like to bake my best recommendation is to invest in three 8 or 9 inch pans. These are is the most common size used for layer cakes.
As for using sugar syrup instead of corn syrup probably not. Run to the store and purchase more while your cake continues to cool.
Just a note… when cooking anything it is best to gather your ingredients before you start working on the recipe. This accomplishes two things. 1) Some recipes move very quickly and if you have to search for ingredients it can ruin your dish. 2) If you are running low on something you know before you start cooking and at that point select a different dish or purchase what is needed
Wow Patricia! I just answered Salwa before seeing your reply & then realized that I like yours much more lol! I couldn’t have said it better. Perfect answer, useful tips & great advise! Thanks for your help?
Hi Salwa. The purpose of corn syrup here is to prevent crystallization from forming, which could ruin the texture of the icing. Agave is an excellent choice if you have it and honey is not a bad one either. Honey won’t prevent crystallization as well as corn syrup and will leave notes of honey in the final flavor, but it’s still a satisfactory option. To be honest, I’m not sure if sugar syrup (simple syrup) will reduce the chances of crystallization, but it sounds risky.
Concerning the pans, unfortunately 1 pan won’t fit all this batter, so it will overflow & spill in the oven. You could either bake it in a much larger pan, say 30cm in diameter, and make it as a one layer cake. Or you could bake it in 13X9 rectangular pan, then cut it horizontally in thirds, layer these on top of each other and have a rectangular shaped layer cake.
Patricia thanks for your advices dear .. Tasbih I’ll try the other option and make it in rectangular pans but after I get my golden syrup.. Wish me luck
So I just made the cake. Actual cake part tastes amazing (from a little nibble I took). Concerned the caramel is too hard. How hard is yours and does it soften as you leave it? It didn’t run down as easily as I had hoped. Any suggestions if it is too hard to salvage the cake for the birthday dinner in about 3 hours!? Thanks!
Hi Tiffany! I hope my reply is not too late ? The caramel is actually on the saucy side when hot, and stiffens slightly as it cools. So unfortunately it won’t soften as it sits. At room temperature it should still be soft yet stable and doesn’t stick to your teeth. It should slice very easily too. If it got harder than that like taffy, that it might have been overcooked. The only way to salvage that, is to warm up individual cake slices in the microwave & just eat it warm. It will taste delicious and the caramel well soften. I hope it turns out as delicious as you’d hoped for.
I just made it exactly like the recipe says and it is hard, like toffee.
Sorry it didn’t turn out for you Paul. Did you use a candy thermometer or the ice water test as you go? Thermometer is best here, as candy making (which is essentially what this icing is) requires precision, so it can be tricky to spot without it. Hitting the right temperature is key to getting the right consistency. For it to reach the hard toffee stage means that it must’ve been overcooked and had reached around 290F which is known as crack stage. The temperature called for in the recipe (330-334F) is below the soft ball stage, which means that it should be even softer than soft caramels. It’s just basic candy making facts. To get the most accurate temperature reading, remove the pot from the heat and tilt the pan to one side. Use your thermometer to stir the caramel back and forth to equalize hot and cool spots to make sure you are getting an accurate reading. Also be sure that the bulb of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot, as that tends to give inaccurate measurements. Hope that helps!
You are so right! This recipe is perfect! I made the yellow cake with cake flour and also with the substitute. I actually like it better with the cake flour substitute. I can’t believe that I nailed it on the first try. Can’t wait to try the vanilla bundt cake! That’s for sharing
Yaaaaaaay Angela!!! I couldn’t be happier to hear that ?? It’s actually relieving to know that you liked the substitute better, as cake flour is not always available for everyone. Thanks for sharing your feedback.
I made this cake over the weekend and man this is so good! however, I find the caramel icing to be a tad sweet, is there any way to make it less sweet?
And is the cake a eat on the same day cake or can I put it in the fridge and eat it over the next few days?
I tried putting mine into the fridge and the caramel turned really hard, making it so tough to slice.
Any advice would be good.
Hi Belle! First of, LOVE your name?
To make the icing less sweet I wouldn’t recommend decreasing the brown sugar as that would affect the consistency and make it soupy. What you could do is double up on the salt. That would definitely cut through the sweetness & give you a more pronounced sweet & salty flavor, if you’re into that kinda thing.
The cake is at its utmost deliciousness on the day of, but I’ve had leftovers the second day and it was still great. I wouldn’t suggest refrigerating cakes in general as that dries out the crumb. Only oil based cakes, such as carrot cake, do well in the fridge as the oil stays liquid even when it’s cold. Butter on the other hand solidifies in the cold which turns the texture of the cake coarser. The best way to store cakes is at room temperature under a cake dome or an airtight container like Tupperware or lock & lock. If you would like to keep the cake for a longer period then you could freeze it then bring it back to room temperature before serving. Unlike refrigeration, freezing does not have a negative affect on the texture of the cake. Just make sure that it’s super well covered.
I concur with Tasbih! I’ve made this cake twice now, and can say that more sea salt gives the icing a bit more sweet/savory balance–but backing out sugar would destroy the structure of it completely.
Keeping the cake under a dome or sealed environment, at room temperature is key. Refrigeration would destroy both the crumb of this fine cake, and render the caramel stiff and indelicate.
Awesome! Thank you so much for your tips. So helpful ?
Ah! no wonder. Thank you both 🙂
Do you think the salted caramel and cream cheese frosting complement each other?
Absolutely! They make a great combo. I paired them together here in this pumpkin recipe:
Looks great! I baked this yesterday! It was perfect! =D Teehee. The only thing I changed was the amount of salt I used.
Awesome! That’s so great to hear!
Is there anyway to cut this recipe in half and make a smaller cake??? Looks amazing! But I am not sure my little family needs a three layer cake. I guess we could give it away. 🙂
Absolutely! I’ve halved the recipe & made it as a 3 layer (6 inch) cake so many times.
GREAT. so 6 inch pie pans? or can I use 2 9 inch?
For half the recipe, I use three 6 inch pans, but one 9 inch pan will work for a single layer cake.
Why use unsalted butter in this cake? Isn’t salt added?
Using unsalted butter gives better control over the amount of salt added to the cake. Also different brands of salted butter contain different amounts of salt so it’s not that reliable.
So I’ve decided to undertake this for my girlfriend’s child’s birthday (he specifically requested “caramel chocolate cake”). Now, I can bang out a pretty awesome chocolate cake batter/cake, presence of a Y-Chromasome notwithstanding, but I find myself sorta swayed by your waxing romantic about this yellow cake above.
Consequently, I’m tempted to go with either a chocolate ganache or a chocolate custard filling between layers, and do the caramel pour for the outer “sheathing”. Top it with chocolate curls or chocolate minecraft (that age. I know) blocks or the like.
So a few thoughts:
• If, as you say above, I can make the cake flats a day in advance, this implies the flats can be room temp. As such, applying the caramel “when the cakes have almost cooled” shouldn’t much affect the outcome.
• I should be able to bake and fill, let the resulting yellow-plus-chocolate-goo proto-cake set up, then apply the caramel at my leisure.
• I should need substantially less caramel – does anyone have a good formula for that? R / ((cD * (cL – 1)) + (cL * h)), maybe? – if I’m only coating the outside.
Anywho, couple of questions:
1. Any recommendations on the type of chocolate filling? I simply dunno how the heavy, warm caramel might snafu me.
2. Will the heat of the caramel have time to liquefy another filling before it’s set and emulsified?
3. Do you already have a chocolate modified version of the caramel? Am I making this harder than needed? Just add a cup of cocoa powder/etc. to the goo?
Good luck on the cake! And minecraft? Totally get it…I have 2 boys who are currently in this stage of obsession ? Your version sounds delicious! Either way, both chocolate or vanilla cakes go swimmingly well with a chocolate & caramel combo…so you can’t go wrong here.
If you plan to only glaze the outside with the caramel then I’d recommend making half of the recipe. Pouring the warm caramel should not affect the filling, but if you want to be more cautious then you could chill the cake until the filling hardens before glazing.
I’d recommend going with a chocolate ganache for the filling as it’s not too sweet. I think a traditional buttercream might result in an overly sweet cake. Unless you want to take the Italian meringue route & I have a killer recipe for it. Here’s the link: https://cleobuttera.com/frostings-and-sauces/make-chocolate-cloud-italian-meringue-buttercream/
I would not recommend adding cocoa powder to the caramel…that will most probably ruin it.
Best of luck! I’d love to know how it turns out!
I stumbled upon your blog yesterday, whilst searching for a recipe for salted caramel cake, and am really looking forward to trying this, as well as the salted caramel popcorn and the cinnamon swirl cake. I’m in London and have not come across corn syrup here in the UK. Do you know whether golden syrup can be used? Also, since the frosting uses cream, does that mean the cake needs to be refrigerated?
Hi Tanya! I’m happy you found your way to here!
Golden syrup will work just fine, just be sure to use the light kind because you don’t want a strong flavor overshadow the caramel.
No need to refrigerate the cake because the cream is cooked here so it’s safe at room temp.
I have made this cake 3 time and neither have been perfect. It takes me about an hour to make the caramel and I have found that the last two times the caramel is too hard. IF I meant for it to be candy it’d be perfect. My guess is that it is due to me raising my stove and the caramel heating up too quickly. Have you found that to be true? Could I possibly leave the stove on medium high and simply take it off when it reaches the 220 degrees?
Hi DeMond! It sounds that the caramel has been over cooked. 1 hour is definitely too long and like you said, will turn it into candy. You were aiming 220 Fahrenheit and NOT Celsius right?
I would do like you said, lower down the heat a bit & remove it as soon as it reaches 220F. Better luck next time.
Yes, the cake is delicious and I kept aiming for 230 – 234 degrees. So I actually peeled the caramel off and gave it to my grandmother (it makes great candy btw) and I stayed on medium high and when it hit 220 and I have felt it was a good consistency it came out PERFECT. My mother who is an expert baker and not easily impressed absolutely loves this cake. Thanks so much for the tip!
It’s great that everyone still liked it ?
Another thing to be aware of when making caramel is the temp that the recipe indicates is usually at the altitude of the person who created the recipe. If that person lives at sea level and you if live at over 5,000 feet you are going to have to adjust the temperatures that are recommended. The temperatures you need to reach will be lower the higher your altitude.
Whenever I’m making candy the first thing that I do is calibrate my thermometers. I do that by bringing water to a boil and checking the temperature reading of each thermometer. I then adjust the temperature for the thermometers by the difference between the boiling point of water at sea level and the boiling point where I live. Which is by the way, over 5,000 feet. Due to altitude, I have to adjust nearly every baking recipe I use. I adjust flour, sugar, liquid, baking powder… it can be quite a pain but the results have always been worth the trouble.
Best of luck on your next attempt. Caramel always tastes good as long as
Making this yet again–one of my best friends insists it’s the only cake he’ll accept for his birthday celebration! I really need to start snapping pics for you; only once have I remembered to get one, and it was after I’d taken many slices from it.
In past, I’ve made this in 3 8″ cake pans with no issue–they come out level, no incidents of dense edges. But this year, my birthday-celebrating friend wants me to make them in 9″ pans, because he wants it to be served on one of his most treasured plates. Don’t ask–he’s very big on control and aesthetics!
Do you think there would be a problem with making this in 3 9″ pans? I can only think it’ll result in a slightly lower-height cake, but I am willing to be wrong. Your thoughts?
Thanks so much! I love seeing how different people are handling this very popular cake!
I’m so happy you’re having success with this recipe! And friends…they have great taste ? I’d LOVE to see pictures of your upcoming one!
Three 9″ layers, like you said, will result in really thin layers, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You could also go with two 9″ layers instead if you don’t mind sacrificing a layer of frosting in the middle.
I’d love to know how it goes! Best of luck and happy birthday to your friend!
Okay–tell me if I’m completely crazy: I’m thinking to make 1.5 recipes of the batter to make up for the loss with 9″ cake tins. That is, of course, if I can get the math right. I prefer weighing ingredients in baking, so I know it’s possible!
My friend is Southern-born in the States, so not only is this recipe (and many of your others) his thing, but a big cake, in his mind, presents better. Layers and size are absolutely necessary to dramatic presentation!
Do you think it would be safer to double the recipe and simply use the excess batter for a smaller cake that stays at home? Have you ever had to double to cake batter recipe? Your thoughts are very welcome here.
Will forward some pics of the finished product!
I must agree with your friend. BIG cakes are definitely the way to go! I think that 1.5X the recipe will be perfect here. I never doubled the recipe but I did make 1.5X and it worked just fine. Weighing making the process much easier; I even weighed the eggs because as far as I remember the amount wasn’t even. Would love to see how it turns out!
Hah! Now you’ve upped my obsession—I’ve never weighed the eggs, but now I have to!
Indeed, in the South (and much of America), bigger is better! This friend collects cake pedestals, even though he never bakes, barely lights his stove. You will certainly be in receipt of some memorable photos and details!
Mea maxima culpa! I realize I didn’t report back my 1.5x-sized triple layer cake experience!
I decided to bake the cake layers the evening before my friend’s birthday. Late night, with no distractions, I am more in my wits to think through increasing everything by 50%.
I weighed everything–including the eggs–and the layers came out fabulously golden. My only failure was buying a third cake pan, exactly the size as the other two, but with a different coating/finish. Let’s just say I’m grateful the cake is iced, so no one knew the difference.
The lessons are many!
Would that the challenges stopped there. The day of the party, it was an unusual 98 degrees in mid-May New York, and so humid that even air conditioning couldn’t compensate. Add to that the fact that my galley kitchen is not air conditioned, it saw me using my dining table as the icing and boxing spot.
So I thought I was clever, doing 1.5x the icing receipe; I should have doubled it. I cooked the caramel to slightly more firm than usual, thinking it wouldn’t completely melt in transporting the cake. This worked against me, because it didn’t uniformly drip much past the first layer. I stopped thinking about my hair, and worrying about how to present something so underfinished.
Luckily, I keep both good bittersweet chocolate and a variety of nuts on hand–and took advantage of the birthday recipient’s love for both. I whipped up a simple ganache, and iced from the bottom of the cake upwards to meet the caramel drips for a two-toned look, matte chocolate meeting shiny caramel. Then I threw chopped pecans at the sides of the cake as I turned the pedestal.
My husband ushered me down to the curb, cake held aloft, and I held my breath as the taxi whisked me up Sixth Avenue. I thought the two potholes we hit would see me losing my mind, as I continued holding it aloft.
Arriving at the restaurant, I asked the Maitre d’ to wait 30 minutes, stick the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes in-box, then bring out to serve at dinner’s end. I held my breath as he approached the table with the candles lit, and I was relieved to see that the sides only slightly melted past the bottom layer (caramel stretches in heat, people!), resembling a kind of Edvard Munch painting.
The birthday boy was utterly pleased with the result, and continued to crow about it in the days following. Crisis managed, and dessert lover very satisfied!
Thank you so much for your encouragement, Tasbih! I’ll try to email you some pics.
Oh wow that was one intense comment. So much suspense ? I was at the edge of my seat reading this lol. So happy you pulled it off in the end and all turned out amazing! The pictures you sent me are downright gorgeous. You girl got some skillzzzz! I’m so wowed by your capability of turning out what what supposed to be a disaster into a stunner!
Thanks for the update!
I made this cake a couple of days ago and it is absolutely divine! It’s the best yellow cake I’ve EVER eaten, and I can’t believe that I made it, as I’m a novice at baking. I shared the cake with family and friends and everyone is looking forward to me making it again. I went with a traditional caramel sauce which calls for butter, sugar, carnation milk and vanilla. I purchased a candy thermometer per your suggestion, and I’m so glad I did being that it was my first attempt. It took the guesswork out of the process. The caramel was perfect as well, but it did take 2 1/2 hours to make. I could absolutely eat this cake without any frosting, it’s just that good. I plan to make it again with chocolate frosting. Recipes like this one makes you realize just how much better things taste when homemade instead of being purchased from the grocery store. I’m now on your site searching for a recipe to make on my next baking adventure. Thanks for sharing.
Wow Lucian! I’m beyond happy that you loved this cake! I have to tell you that I did pair the yellow cake layers with chocolate frosting before and it was so good as well. I hope you find something on the blog that you’ll enjoy just as much. Thanks for your amazing feedback!
I want to try out this recipe soon. Could you please tell me what to substitute sour cream with as I dont seem to have it.
Hi Sukti:) Full fat Greek yogurt is the best substitute for sour cream. If you only have natural yogurt where you live, you could strain that over a cheesecloth overnight to get rid of the access liquid & use the thickened yogurt. Hope that helps ?
After a long research I believe I found the perfect salted caramel cake and will test it this weekend as I am planning to make it in November for my engagement BBQ party.
Because I am having 40 guests I believe a 2 tier cake is the option to go?
Also, because of the caramel on top of base tier, what are your thoughts in regards to that? will it be messy the caramel under the cardboard holding the top tier when i remove it to serve?
Thanks for sharing this recipe that seems amazing!
Hi Alessandra! Congrats on your engagement ? Wishing you the most amazing day!
I hope your trial run of the cake turned out well. I honestly wouldn’t recommend this cake for tiering. The whole concoction is on the softer side & I don’t feel like it’s stable enough for this kind of presentation. You will have a better feel of it once you try it yourself, then you can better judge for yourself.
I’ve now made this four times, both double and triple layered (the latter required me to increase everything by 50%–I don’t recommend it if you’re easily frustrated. Doubling is much easier!).
I can vouch that this is, on the whole, too soft to tier. But if you’re concerned you can’t serve 40 going with a traditional layer cake, why not try doing it sheet cake-style? It would be so much easier to serve at a barbeque that way.
I only caution that making and setting a carmel icing in hot or humid weather can frustrate the best baker–as my last go with this cake proved to me!
Thanks for your valued input! Deeply appreciated ?
Hi, does this caramel icing harden or stays really firm ?
Hi Shunti. The consistency after the caramel cools & sets is almost like really soft caramel candies. It should not be hard at all. Soft but stable.
Thank you, I’m gonna put this caramel on a pound cake and i just wanna make sure it sets pretty firm.
No worries it set ups just fine. Just be careful not to overcook it or it could harder up like candy.
Cool, thanks again.
I have made this cake. I wanted to share with you what I have learned.
First of all – the cake is great. But I have made several mistakes that I don’t want you to repeat, so listen up.
1. Measuring cream for the caramel. I used a cup to measure the cream and a lot of cream sticks to the cup. As a result, I think I used about 2.5 cups of cream instead of 3, which lead to the caramel, that, although delicious, had a bit more bite to it than I would prefer. The top layer of caramel was hard to cut with the knife, it was more pressing than cutting. Next time I will use the Pampered Chef measuring cup for sticky stuff, like honey or molasses, pushes stuff out, nothing sticks to the sides.
2. The cake pans that I have are 9″ and have handles. 3 of them did not share space well on the same shelf in the oven. 2 pans baked the cake at a slight angle and my eventual cake looked like a terrace. It was still delicious, but F for presentation. Next time will put 1 pan on a lower shelf.
3. The recipe says 15 minutes for cooking caramel. It took me 35 minutes of constant stirring. I have a gas stove and I had it on 6 at first and then turned it up to 7. Now I am thinking, it should be on 8 first and then move it to 7 once it starts to boil. That’s how you cut on that constant stirring time. But I am proud to say that no caramel burned at the bottom.
I plan to enter in our office party Halloween dessert contest with this cake. Will let tell you later how that goes!
Wow thank you so much Darya for your valued tips! I have to admit that this cake tends to be on the trickier side, so any feedback & advise is greatly appreciated so other readers can learn for them. Best of luck on the dessert contest! I sincerely hope you win. Go Darya ??
I can’t wait to try this recipe! Quick question. Did you “ice” the layers in between pretty quickly? I was thinking that by the time i do that, the rest will cool to fast to finish the entire cake. That won’t happen will it?
Hi Isabel. I did ice the layers moderately quickly but I didn’t rush the process or anything. You actually want to give the icing in the middle some time to set a bit so the layers don’t slide. No worries, the remaining icing shouldn’t set that fast, but in case it did, you can warm it up slightly over the stove top.
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Can I use the Fudgy Frosting from the Epic 12 Layer Chocolate Cake in between the layers and the caramel sauce on top? Or will it be too sweet?
I basically need a chocolate layer in between the cake layers.
Ofcourse! The combo sounds amazing! I don’t think it will be too sweet, but if you’re worried about that, you can use a darker chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage to offset the sweetness.
Will be trying this recipe tomorrow! Just wanted to know whether I could substitute the sour cream with yogurt since we don’t have sour cream available here in Pakistan.
Hello Noor. Full fat Greek-style yogurt would be the best substitute for sour cream. If you don’t have it, you could place regular full fat yogurt over a strainer overnight to get rid of the excess moisture. Measure after the straining process.
Can i substitute the sour cream with yogurt since we don’t have sour cream available here in Pakistan.
Loved the perfect caramel cake batter! What are the baking times for cupcakes? Thank you in advance!
Happy to hear that Kimberly! I’ve never actually tried this recipe as cupcakes, so I can’t tell for certainty. But generally, cupcakes take between 15-20 minutes to bake. Start checking at 15 minutes, then add a couple of minutes at a time if they’re still not done. Bake until they spring back to the touch & a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy ?
I absolutely loooove your website & can’t wait to try everything on it, it’s like letting loose a kid/ adult in a lolly shop ?. Can you please please come to Australia so all your fans can meet you? You’re such a culinary genius Masha’Allah ?
Hahahaaaa Naglaa I’d love to! Australia has been on my travel bucket list for so long! I wish I could make it there one day. Thank you so my dear for your sweet comment ?
Thank you so much for this recipe! I wanted something simple yet classic that was reminiscent of the classic kid’s birthday cake for my sister’s birthday. The results were absolutely stunning. The butter cake really is perfect and I took your advice and left well enough alone- the cake looks amazing with the caramel draped over simply. Everyone loved it as well!
I’m so glad this cake turned out so well with you Alison! I cannot be happier that you guys loved it. I hope your sister enjoyed her birthday cake and had a wonderful day. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your wonderful feedback.
I am making my daughter’s birthday cake this weekend and she requested a caramel filled cake (that looks like a tiger, haha!!). So I am planning to do brownie bottom with caramel filling and the top 2 layers to be yellow cake. For the tiger I want to use chocolate ganache and caramel….will this sauce pipe easily?
I also wanted to make a vanilla frosting for overtop that I have that isn’t too sweet with a slightly salted after flavor that is really good. I had a question about it. I was throwing around the idea in my head of pouring the caramel sauce over the cake like you have and letting it set, and then putting my vanilla frosting over top of that. Do you think that would turn out well or do you think that the vanilla frosting would just slide off of it? Also I was wondering if the caramel for the filling tends to soak into the cake or does it stay solid in the middle like other cake fillings do? Thanks!!!
The beauty of this cake (i’ve Now made it 5x) is it’s simplicity. The caramel can be adjusted to carry he salt flavor, so I add more salt as the sauce begins to set over heat, tasting constantly.
When made to the timing Tasbih’s recommended, there’s no way the caramel will “soak” into the cake—if the cake is made per the recipe. Ice the tonof the bottom layer, then wait for it to cool and set fairly firmly before setting the top layer on it.
In my opinion, frosting would slide off this caramel icing. Combining brownie with yellow cake is certainly one thing, but the caramel would unite the two so beautifully on its own. And when you add candles to the top and light them, everyone’ll Be impressed with how it glows—like a high-shine lacquer!
Happy birthday to your little princess! The girl’s got great taste with all her yummy requests.
Ok so I’m loving the flavor combo! I think the most important to thing you need to know about this icing is that you need to work with it so fast, while it’s still hot, and that it sets so fast. Due it’s nature, I don’t think it’s the perfect caramel to pipe and make designs with. Just like thatgirl pointed out, it doesn’t sink into the cake layers, but it’s very smooth and slippery so your buttercream might just not be stable over it. My recommendation for a caramel that’s easier to work with at room temperature would be the one I used in the recipe below:
Best of luck!
How can I make this cake with 3 9 inch layers ?
Hi Judy! I’d suggest making 1 1/2 times the amount of cake batter. As for the caramel icing, it’s quiet plenty and should be enough to cover a three 9″ layer cake, but if you want to be on the safe side and have extra (better have too much than too little right?), then I recommend making 1 1/2 times the recipe as well. Best of luck and enjoy!
Thanu you so much . This is a wonderful recipe !
It’s my pleasure Judy! So happy you like it 🙂
Thank you so much . This is a wonderful recipe !
I did this cake yesterday for my birthday and everyone appreciated it!! However, the layers didn’t come out as expected. They were much denser and looked like the dough became raw in the middle – I left each layer in the oven for 25 minutes, until it got a light brown colour. I did not use cake flower, and did not add the corn starch, could that be the problem?
Other than that, it was really good, even the caramel icing really easy to make. Just make sure it thickens enough, I had to bring it to boil a second time, after it had cooled down. (I did not use a thermometer, my bad :D).
I will definitely try to make it again, I just wish I knew what went wrong 😀
Hello Alexandra! Please allow me to apologize for my embarrassingly late reply. I had technical issues with the comments section for the past couple of weeks that disabled me from replying, nor receiving new comments. So relieved it’s fixed now, along with a new look for the blog!
Cake flour or the cornstarch/all purpose substitute definitely makes a noticeable difference in the fluffiness department. Because they’re lower in protein, they develop less gluten, which in turn result in a more tender, less dense and fluffier cake. As for the raw middle, it sounds like it needed a few extra minutes in the oven to bake through. Please note that since every oven is different, it’s important to test for doneness using visual clues and not time. The timing is just an estimate, but every oven will vary. The best way to know when a cake is done, is when the center springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I hope your next cake turns out more than perfect.
This really is THE PERFECT CARAMEL CAKE! I have baked it today for my friend’s birthday and oh my land!!! It is amazing! I am not a big baker but your recipe is just foolproof. The yellow cake was perfect, it never fell and was light and moist and delicious. And the caramel… mama mia!! The best thing I have tasted! I have to say my friend was very impressed and couldn’t stop complimenting on it. Thank you so much for this recipe. Love it!!
Oh wow Gabka! You have no idea how happy your feedback makes me feel. I’m really glad you enjoyed this cake as much as we do. Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know how much you loved it; it’s always so nice to hear.
Hi I was just wondering does the caramel actually come out really dark when you make the caramel icing? I’ve tried several recipes in the past that used brown sugar and they didn’t come out looking like how your Carmel looks. The pictures of your caramel cake looks so beautiful and mouthwatering. I grew up eating caramel cake my family is from Mississippi and my grandmothers would use white sugar they’re no longer living I don’t had the recipe ?. i’m looking forward to making this caramel cake
Hi Branson! Yep…the caramel comes out the same color as in the pictures. I think the light color of other recipes may be due to either adding powdered sugar to it at the end? Not sure…I’m just guessing. I hope this one reminds you of the one you grew up with. Best of luck and enjoy!
I just made the caramel icing and it came out delicious. The caramel icing was not super sweet. Happy it didn’t take 2.5 hours to make. Next time I make the icing I’ll only use one and a half tablespoons of light corn syrup . What’s the purpose for light corn syrup? Thank you for sharing this recipe.
I’m really happy to hear that you loved this one Branson! The purpose of the corn syrup is to prevent the sugar from crystalizing, which could ruin the texture of the icing. You can experiment with reducing it, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend omitting it.
Thank you for the amazing recipe! I’ve made cake several times and it tastes amazing but I have had troubles with the caramel icing looking as presentable as in your photos. 🙂
I am using an electric stove, so was thinking this could be the cause of my troubles. The caramel icing also usually takes me 30-40 minutes to make. Do you have any tips? Do you have a video of your making the caramel and assembling the cake?
I’m planning on making this cake again for my mother’s birthday celebration next week but don’t want to present another sloppy looking cake!
Hi Andrea! I’m really happy to hear that you enjoyed this cake. Happiest birthday to your mom!
I haven’t yet filmed making this cake/icing on video, but now that you’ve brought it to my attention, I be do it very soon. I think it’s one of those recipes, that can benefit from more visuals.
To better help you, may I please know what kind of issues you have with the icing that makes it not look as pretty as you would like? I use an electric stove too, but maybe you just need to turn the heat a bit higher. Just be sure to stir all the time so the bottom doesn’t scorch. After making this cake several times, I came to the conclusion that it’s best to leave the icing untouched after pouring it over the cake and allow it to fall freely. Trying to make swirls in it (as in some of the pics) can cause it to break out greasiness. To get the smoothest finish, you need to pour it while still very hot and fluid. If you wait too long to pour it, the icing will probably cool down and not spread well over the cake. I hope that helps!
instead of using 1 1/2 of a cup of light brown sugar can I use white sugar ?
Hi John! It’s best to stick with brown sugar as its natural butterscotch-y taste, is what gives the icing the deep caramel-y flavor it has.
The cake sounds amazing! Question, because of the caramel glaze does this cake require being stored in the refrigerator?
Thank you Bernadette! The cake should be ok stored at cool room temperature, as refrigeration dries out the cake crumb. I’m assuming it’s safe, still the cream has been cooked, but you may want to double check on that. Enjoy ?
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Love this recipe . Instead of doing layers can I make it in a 13×9 pan ?
Thank you! Yes that would actually be a great and much easier way to go at it!
It is me again Judy Can a 13×9 pan be used instead of doing Layers ?
Hi Judy! I’m really sorry for my late reply. Yes! That would work wonderfully ?
Made a half batch in cupcake form to test out the batter and frosting before making the real cake for an upcoming party. So good in that form too! I’d recommend doing more caramel and squeezing a dollop into the center of each cupcake with a frosting tip made for that purpose because cupcakes are taller than cake layers so the bottom half is lacking that caramel goodness.
As a note, half batch makes a dozen cupcakes.
Cupcakes sound delicious! I love your suggestions…thank you for sharing ?
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You say cornstarch (cornflour) as a substitute for the cake flour. But in the US corn starch and corn flour are not the same thing. Do you mean corn starch the white powder that can be used a thickener or actual flour made from corn?
Hi Lucy! Yes what I mean here is the cornstarch as it’s known in the US as the fine white powder. It’s confusing I know, as it’s known in other countries as cornflour.
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I am one of those who don’t really write comments but this time I will make an exception 😉
I just wanted to say thank you for an amazing recipe.
Overall the cake is extremly sweet, but it doesn’t make it less perfect.
The cake layers turned out perfect, I was impressed.
The icing didnt turn out same dark color (I dont know the reason) and of course I overcooked it a little bit but I still managed to but it on the cake 😀
I used some crushed walnuts on top of first layer just to experiment a bit and it actually turned out nice and crunchy so I might include this the next time.
I also used the red currents only for decoration, it was a good way to hide some imperfections 😀
I can’t wait for another birthday and to try again this recipe.
Take care and happy cooking 😉
That looks absolutely stunning Lina! WOW! What a showstopper?! Thank you so much for leaving a comment; it really made my day. I’m so happy you liked this cake so much.
Hi i made this cake . It was good but i had trouble with the frosting i fallowed your recipie and my candy thermometer wouldnt go past 225 so i did the ice water thing . And it worked i cooled the cakes .but the frosting had separated and got very oily . Plus it seem to be not enough to cove sides to run over the edges
I tried this cake yesterday. The cake part is fine, but the icing was a mess. I followed the directions and used a candy thermometer. When the temp got to 234 degrees the icing had a big pool of oil ( I think) on top. I stopped stirring when it got to 234. I wonder if my candy thermometer did not work. It got to boiling pretty quick, but took forever to get to 234. Longer than the 15 minutes suggested. Closer to 25 minutes. I did bump the heat to med-high. Not sure what happened, but thanks for posting the recipe.
I think the cake is lovely but I didn’t take the caramel far enough
Hi. I am making htis for my brother’s birthday and he LOVES carmel soooo much so when i saw this i was like wow definently making this. so He has braces so do you reccomend any other topping for it? also, I think maybe cracker jack could go well on it bc of the nuts. also is the icing on the outside get really chewy or hard? (to know if i should make this bc of his braces).
Thanks a lot and I love your blog. Thanks
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I made the caramel icing for my own “go to” yellow cake for my mom’s 90th birthday. it was fabulously delicious!!! I made two 2 inch x 10 inch layers (for 22 people) and not a crumb was left.
Hi. i made this cake for my husband birthday and he loves it.thanks for shearing this.
This cake looks amazing and I’m dying to make it but I have family members with dairy allergies. Is there any possible way to make this with substitutions for the dairy ingredients? Cream and milk…?
Hey! Do you think I can make ahead the icing to the use it as a fillig for a cake? maybe reheating in a water bath.