Sunday, March 3, 2013

Old Fashioned Caramel Cake for #SundaySupper

This week’s #SundaySupper is a dream come true for me. My fellow bloggers are posting about three of my favorite foodie treats: cheese, cake and cheesecake! What could be better than that?

While I love all types of cheese and cheesecake, this theme gave me a good reason to make an old-fashioned caramel cake, a recipe I’ve wanted to try for quite a while. I don’t remember ever having this traditional southern cake in the past, but it seems like an old-fashioned recipe to me, perhaps because many versions I came across in my research were described as ones made by grandmothers for generations.

I became intrigued with caramel cake when I saw this recipe made on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen. I looked up other versions of this cake, but decided this one would be the easiest to make. (Follow this link to see the episode online as well as get the original recipe.)

The cake itself is just a traditional butter cake. The key is to use a recipe that creates a somewhat dense cake that will support the frosting and one that is not too sweet to balance out the very sweet caramel frosting. The original recipe calls for buttermilk. Since I hate buying buttermilk just for the small amount needed in a recipe, I used the substitution of whole milk mixed with a little white vinegar.      

Many frosting recipes call for heating the sugar and butter to the soft ball stage. What I like about the ATK recipe is there’s no thermometer to watch. The trick is in actually frosting the cake. After mixed, the frosting is still warm and somewhat runny. The key is to let it cool enough to frost the cake, but not so much it sets up.

This cake was a hit with everyone who tried it. I love the way the delicious caramel frosting gets a sugary crust on the outside after it sets but remains creamy on the inside. The frosting also helps keep the cake moist.

Old-Fashioned Caramel Cake
Adapted from recipe from America’sTest Kitchen

For the cake:
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 room temperature eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened

For the frosting:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, cut into pieces and softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, pour in the whole milk and vinegar, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter a piece at a time until it mixes in and creates a sandy texture with only small pea-sized butter pieces left. Pour in half of the milk and egg mixture and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy. Slowly pour in the rest of the milk/egg mixture and mix until combined.

Pour equal amounts of the cake batter into the prepared cake tins. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (One of my pans took 25 minutes, the other took 28 minutes.) Allow the cakes to sit in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting, place 8 tablespoons of butter and the brown sugar and salt into a large saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring just to a boil. Whisk in the cream and bring the mixture back to just a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.

Pour the butter/sugar mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. On low speed, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until blended. Then, on medium speed, beat the mixture for 5 minutes until the frosting is a pale brown color and still warm but not hot. Add the rest of the butter, a piece at a time, and beat until the butter is melted and the frosting is light and fluffy.

Place one of the cakes on a serving plate. Spread the surface with some of the frosting, and then add the other cake on top. Frost the rest of the cake, working quickly before the frosting sets. Allow the frosting to set on the cake a few minutes before serving.

Here’s what my fellow food bloggers made for today’s theme. Join in on the #SundaySupper Twitter chat tonight at 7 p.m. EST to discuss all things cheese, cake and cheesecake. Just follow the #SundaySupper hash tag and remember to include it in your tweets during the chat. You can also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for a lot of great, delicious recipes to enhance your own family meal.

  • Garlic and Goat by Supper for a Steal
  • Quick and Easy Homemade Cottage Cheese by The Meltaways
  • Homemade Velveeta Cheese by Juanitas Cocina
  • Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Parmesan Crisps by BigBearsWife
  • Irish Cheese Soufflés by girlichef
  • Paneer Tikka Masala by Kimchi Mom
  • Creamy Meyer Lemon Pasta with Homemade Ricotta and Broccoli by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
  • Ricotta Croquettes by Basic N Delicious
  • Cheeseburger Soup by Dinners Dishes and Desserts
  • Cherry Blossom Crescents by The Ninja Baker
  • Saag Paneer! Golden Roasted Ricotta In Savory Spinach Sauce by Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
  • Sourdough Cheese Crackers by Curious Cuisiniere
  • Basil Balsamic Strawberries & Whipped Feta Grilled Cheese by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
  • Lox and Cream Cheese Mini Omelettes by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
  • Buffalo Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken by In The Kitchen With KP
  • Baked Mozzarella Sticks by Mama’s Blissful Bites
  • Paneer Indian Cottage Cheese Pancake by Masala Herb
  • Crepes with Strawberry Mascarpone Cream Filling by Soni’s Food
  • Roasted Pears with Pecorino by Happy Baking Days
  • Pan-Fried Halloumi Cheese Salad by The Catholic Foodie
  • Chevre Torte with Mango and Sweet Pepper Salsa by Noshing with the Nolands

  • Cakes:
    And Cheesecakes:


    Rosie @ Blueberry Kitchen said...

    Yum your cake looks delicious, I love caramel cake!

    Jen @JuanitasCocina said...

    That frosting has me gaga!

    WoodlandAndWhisk said...

    I was so excited when I saw you were making a Caramel Cake. This is my all-time favorite cake! When I lived in Hendersonville, NC (right outside of Asheville) there was a Saturday market and this lovely elderly woman would always bring Caramel Cakes to sell. You had to get there early, she sold out fast! Looking forward to making my own- thanks for the lovely recipe!

    Nicole @ Daily Dish Recipes said...

    Oh I want this. I love old fashioned cakes and this is a Caramel cake, it's like heaven in a cake. Beautiful!

    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen said...

    I have caramel cake on my bucket list. This is as good as an old fashioned cake gets! And the frosting is gorgeous!

    pia said...

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    Laura Dembowski said...

    Oh, yum! What's not to like about this caramel cake?!? Love the look of the buttery cake, but that frosting is the true star. I'd have trouble not swiping some from the other slices ;)

    Jennifer@ Peanut Butter and Peppers said...

    Nothing beats a homemade cake!! I love the old fashion kind! It's just lovely!!

    Constance Smith said...

    I LOVE these kinds of classic cakes. Simple and perfect!

    Tara said...

    Never had a cake like this but I know I would love it as caramel is my fav!!

    Emily said...

    I haven't heard of this cake before but I would sure like to try it out now. Caramel is one of my favorite things. Lovely!

    Sarah R said...

    I just died a little... how amazing

    Susan Lindquist said...

    Wow ... a beautiful cake and I am just shivering thinking about that caramel frosting! My teeth hurt just imagining a sweet slice on my dessert plate!

    cindys recipes and writings said...

    A classic Linda! Stunning!

    Laura Hunter said...

    So I normally don't eat much of the icing on cakes. I tend to eat the cake and leave most of the icing on the plate. But I am not going to lie I would probably lick my plate clean with this caramel icing.

    Renee said...

    Caramel cake, actually the frosting part, is my nemesis. I've tried several times with the cooked caramel recipes and no success so far. I'll have to try yours since it seems a bit easier.

    Nancy @ gottagetbaked said...

    I love that you went the classic route with this gorgeous caramel frosted cake. I can just imagine how delicious it tasted together - I wish I had a giant slice right now!

    Susan said...

    I've been wanting to make a caramel cake for myself for sometime now. I guess I'll have to drool over yours until I do!

    Hezzi-D said...

    With all the cakes I make, I've never made a caramel cake. This one looks amazing!

    Soni said...

    Ooh this looks so so good!And it has to be if its a family recipe :) Love caramel and I bet it tastes divine!

    Angie - Big Bears Wife said...

    look at how perfect those layers are! love!

    Lane said...

    I've never had a caramel cake, but what's not to like! Yum

    Heather S-G said...

    That looks amazing! I have never tried a traditional caramel cake, but I need to change that. I know exactly what you mean about the frosting getting a bit of a crust on it...mmmmmm....