Southern Caramel Layer Cake

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You may recall that this past Sunday was a birthday Sunday dinner menu.  Since we enjoyed his favorite lamb roast for that dinner, I put his other favorite, Southern Fried Chicken, on the menu for his actual birthday.  When you serve a Southern chicken classic, you certainly need to serve a classic Southern cake for dessert.  

This is a basic buttermilk cake with a sweet caramel frosting.  The cake calls for self-rising flour which makes the prep a little easier.  I must note that if you use White-Lily self-rising flour like I do, you will need to add an additional 6 Tablespoons of self-rising flour to the recipe.  

The frosting, oh the frosting... You start out by making a caramel sauce (reserving some for garnish) and then use it as a base for the buttercream.  I like a nice, fluffy frosting instead of a spreadable one, so I whip the frosting until light and fluffy.  Alternatively, you could just mix the frosting until smooth, then allow it to set until it is spreadable.  Either way you make it, it will be very good.  A garnish of toasted pecans adds a little texture and provides a good savory balance to the sweetness of the frosting. So channel your inner y'all and make this cake!

Printable Recipe

Southern Caramel Layer Cake
serves 12-16

For the Cake
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra large eggs at room temperature
3 cups self rising flour (if using White Lily add an additional 6 Tablespoons of flour)
1 cup whole buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Caramel Frosting
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
4 ounces (1/2) cup cold butter
1 cup hot heavy cream
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners' sugar sifted

3/4 cup toasted pecans

For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350ยบ F.  Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl and beat again.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the flour to the butter mixture in thirds, alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Stir in the vanilla.  Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, smoothing the tops with a spatula.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.  Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pans, discard parchment paper, and let cool completely on wire racks.

For the Caramel Frosting
Place the sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  In a small bowl, combine the water and corn syrup.  Pour the water mixture over the sugar, stirring just until moistened.  Cook, without stirring, over medium heat heat until sugar is dissolved.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, until mixture is golden brown.  (While caramel cooks, brush any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush.) Remove from the heat.  Add the cold butter and stir until melted.  Slowly add the hot cream (mixture will foam), stirring until smooth.  Add the salt and vanilla. (If mixture does not get smooth, cook over low heat, stirring until smooth.)  Set aside and let mixture cool until slightly warm, at least 1 hour.  Reserve 1/3 cup of caramel to drizzle over the assembled cake.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the caramel and softened butter until smooth.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy.

Spread the frosting between layers and top and sides of the cake layers.  Drizzle with the reserved caramel sauce.  Garnish with toasted pecans.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Taste of the South, Sept/Oct 2012


  1. This cake looks amazing.

    xx Sarah

  2. This cake look yummy cant wait to try it

  3. Wow... This caramel layer cake is so scrumptious. I need a BIG slice of it!!!

  4. print feature please!

    1. The printable link appears at the top of every recipe in bold-- Printable Recipe.

  5. Keep on writing, great job!


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