Classic Southern Caramel Cake

Classic Southern Caramel Cake
Classic Southern Caramel Cake
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This recipe for Classic Southern Caramel Cake will teach you everything you need to know about baking this sweet Southern treat. Even if you have never made a cake from scratch, you will able to learn how to make caramel cake in no time at all. This easy caramel cake recipe features a moist yellow cake that is made with buttermilk for extra richness. Once the cake has baked and cooled, it is topped with a rich caramel frosting that is unlike any other frosting out there.
To make the caramel frosting, homemade caramel is made on the stove from a combination of sugar, butter, and cream. Once the caramel has cooled, it is whipped together with butter and powdered sugar to form a luscious caramel buttercream. After the cake has been frosted, you can top it with toasted pecans and a drizzle of caramel sauce for a beautiful presentation. Everyone is sure to be impressed every time you serve this Classic Southern Caramel Cake.


If you are using a dark non-stick pan to make the caramel (easier to clean up!) you can spoon a teaspoon of the sugar mixture onto a white plate to check the progress of the color.  The final color should be like maple syrup.

The Best Southern Desserts: 10 Southern Caramel Cake Recipes



If you enjoyed this recipe for Classic Southern Caramel Cake, be sure to check out our complete collection of 10 Southern Caramel Cake Recipes.








  • For the Cake:
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the Caramel:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup whipping cream, warmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • For the Garnish:
  • 12-16 whole pecan halves, toasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Insert circles of parchment paper in the bottom and the flip the paper so that both sides have spray on them.

  2. Mix the buttermilk and baking soda in a small container and allow to stand while you assemble the rest of the cake ingredients.

  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and toss well with a fork or whisk.

  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the butter and cream it with the sugar for 5 minutes until it is light a fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between additions. Add the cornstarch and mix well.

  5. With the mixer running on low speed, alternate additions of the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture, ending with flour. Stir in the vanilla.

  6. Spoon the batter into the two cake pans, dividing evenly, and smoothing the tops. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean after inserting in the center of the layers.

  7. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, remove the pan and the parchment paper and allow layers to cool completely before finishing.

  8. To Make the Caramel

  9. Place the sugar into a 3-quart saucepan with a heavy bottom. Combine the water and corn syrup. Place the pan over medium heat and when you begin to smell the sugar toasting, add the liquid mixture and, without stirring, tilt the pan so that the sugar is all moistened. Without stirring, continue to cook over medium heat. The sugar will melt and bubble and eventually it will begin to turn a lovely amber color. It is important to stay right by the pan during these steps as this can happen very abruptly.

  10. When it turns amber, remove the pan from the heat and add the cold butter, stirring until the butter melts. Slowly pour in the hot cream, using caution as the mixture will boil up and spatter. Add the salt and vanilla and stir until the mixture is smooth if it gets too stiff, return to low heat for a minute until it is pourable. Remove from the pan to two measure cups with pour spouts: in one put 1/3 cup of the caramel and the rest into another cup. Set aside to cool for about 1 hour.

  11. To Make the Frosting:

  12. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the larger amount of caramel with room temperature butter until it is very smooth. With the mixer running on low, add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until it completely smooth; raise the speed and whip until light and fluffy.

  13. To Assemble the Cake:

  14. Place one layer of cake on a serving plate bottom side up and spread with about 1/3 cup of the frosting. Center the second layer, top side up, on top of the first and continue to frost the top and sides of the cake. Let stand a few minutes to firm up. If the frosting begins to drip down the sides while you work, chill it for 3 to 5 minutes before continuing.

  15. To Garnish:

  16. Arrange the pecan halves around the top edge of the cake. Stir the kosher salt into the reserved caramel and drizzle it over the edges of the cake. Let the cake cool before serving; if your kitchen is warm, cover lightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before cutting into wedges to serve.

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This looks delicious. I love cakes made from scratch, and I've made caramel cakes before using box mix and commercial frosting. I'd like to give this recipe a try since I love it when I can claim that I was responsible for making everything like the bakers on the Great British Bake Off. This is definitely something I'll be tackling over the upcoming holidays.

I am a little worried that this cake is going to be "all the sugar"; but I think it's worth trying once. I may use other commenters' suggestions for making the cake lighter and fluffier!

I've always wanted to try Southern Caramel Cake and this recipe looks like a good one to try. Since other commenters said the cake was a bit dense, I think I will try making it with cake flour and use all room temperature ingredients to try to make the cake lighter and fluffier.

How did you make this cake with just 2 teaspoons of flour?

Hi jayceeolson 548822 6, The recipe should call for 2 cups of flour. The ingredients above have been updated. I apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks!

This cake was delicious, though maybe just a tad too sweet for me. The icing and rich caramel flavor were perfect though!

It was super yummy! If you like super sweet stuff then you will love this.

This cake was delicious, especially the icing. You need to take little pieces though because it is so sweet!

While the cake was a little dense for me, I was sold on the icing. This would be even better with the addition of Granny Smith apples, but if you love sweet cakes and caramel I would definitely give it a try.

Oh my gosh is this a sweet rich cake. The caramel flavor was so good, but still the cake is sooo sweet. Just a couple of bites was enough. I wonder about using the icing as dip or glaze with some Macintosh apples. The tart taste of the apple with the sugary icing would be great! I'm going to do some extra workout to shed these calories!

I could eat this cake all day long. This caramel cake would be perfect to make for your family.

I am not a huge fan of caramel or of cake, but this was one of those recipes I was very curious to try. The frosting was a little thick and sticky for my taste, and the cake could have been a little more moist. The flavors were definitely there though! If you like a dense cake and intense caramel flavor, you'll really enjoy this.

The cake itself was nothing to write home about I wish it had been slightly more moist and tender, but it's possible that a more tender cake would not hold up to the frosting. The frosting had intense caramel flavor, so if you enjoy eating caramel candies, then you will definitely like this cake.

This cake was so moist and rich. The frosting was so thick and had such deep, intense caramel flavor. All I needed was a tiny sliver because it was extremely sweet.

This is quite possibly my new favorite cake. The cake was soft and wonderful, and the caramel frosting had a delicious flavor. Everything turned out perfectly!

I am obsessed with the caramel icing. It wasn't soft like buttercream, but it seriously melted in my mouth. I've never had a cake like this before. I want to make this for a birthday party!


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