The Best Southern Desserts: 10 Southern Caramel Cake Recipes

Bake your way through our collection and find your favorite old fashioned caramel cake recipe!

By: Kaitlin Weiler, Editor,
The Best Southern Desserts 10 Southern Caramel Cake Recipes

It is possible that if you do not live in the South that you have never heard of Southern caramel cake. Our collection of The Best Southern Desserts: 10 Southern Caramel Cake Recipes is here to save the day by providing you with multiple versions of this classic Southern dessert.

Most caramel cake recipes consist of a dense yellow cake that is topped with a homemade frosting made from caramel sauce. These Southern caramel cake recipes require several steps and quite a bit of elbow grease, but the sweet results are most definitely worth the effort.

Choose an old fashioned caramel cake recipe from our collection below and try out this Southern treat for yourself. If you like what you taste, sample all the recipes in our collection!

Layered Southern Caramel Cake Recipes

"Real Deal" Southern Caramel Cake

If you have never had caramel cake before, be sure to try this recipe for Classic Caramel Layer Cake. The frosting is made from homemade caramel sauce, and the finished buttermilk cake is topped with even more caramel for a truly sweet treat.


Classic Caramel Layer Cake

Anyone who is looking to spend the time and effort to make old-fashioned caramel cake need look no further than this recipe for Classic Southern Caramel Cake. Our test kitchen-approved recipe will help you learn the basics of making this Southern dessert.

Classic Southern Caramel Cake

This reader-favorite recipe for Old-Fashioned Caramel Layer Cake is steeped in tradition, but the frosting recipe is much simpler to make than traditional caramel frosting. 


Old-Fashioned Caramel Layer Cake

Vanilla cake is stacked up and then frosted with homemade frosting to make this recipe for Southern Caramel Cake. 


Southern Caramel Sheet and Pound Cakes

Caramel Pound Cake

For a twist on traditional Southern caramel cake, try this recipe for Caramel Pound Cake. Moist pound cake is topped with luscious caramel frosting, making this a near-perfect dessert. 

Rich Caramel Sheet Cake

This simple caramel sheet cake is topped with gooey caramel and crushed peanuts. Take this sweet and salty caramel cake to a potluck and your dessert will be the dish everyone is talking about!

Simple Southern Caramel Cake

Unlike many caramel cake recipes, this recipe for Simple Caramel Cake does not require you to frost multiple layers. Save yourself the trouble by making this single-tiered caramel cake recipe instead. 

Southern Caramel Sheet Cake

Vanilla cake is stacked up and then frosted with homemade frosting to make this recipe for Southern Caramel Cake. 

Homemade Caramel Sheet Cake

This easy Southern dessert features a homemade yellow cake that is topped with a light caramel icing. The sweet icing is the perfect complement to the buttery sheet cake.

Old Fashioned Caramel Cake Recipe [Full Recipe]

Classic Southern Caramel Cake

Classic Southern Caramel Cake Recipe

Classic Southern Caramel Cake


12 servings


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
pinch of salt
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.

To Make the Caramel:
1.     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.
2.     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.

To Make the Frosting:
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.

To Assemble the Cake:
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.

To Garnish:
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.

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.

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These cakes all look delicious! I am not sure if my baking skills are good enough to make caramel frosting yet, but it's definitely something to work up to.

All these cakes look fantastic. I need to find someone to make the "Real Deal" caramel cake for me because no way am I making a triple layer cake on my own. Too stressful


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