Classic Southern Caramel Cake

A Classic Southern Caramel Cake is a rich and moist layer cake topped with a decadent caramel icing. Here’s a recipe to make this delicious and iconic Southern dessert:


For the Cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Caramel Icing:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat the Oven:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
  1. Cream Butter and Sugar:
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  1. Add Eggs:
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  1. Combine Dry Ingredients:
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  1. Alternate Adding Dry Ingredients and Milk:
  • Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  1. Add Vanilla:
  • Stir in the vanilla extract.
  1. Bake:
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  1. Cool:
  • Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

For the Caramel Icing:

  1. Prepare Icing:
  • In a saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.
  1. Simmer and Stir:
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring constantly, until the caramel reaches the soft-ball stage (about 234°F or 112°C).
  1. Remove from Heat and Add Vanilla:
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  1. Cool and Beat:
  • Allow the caramel icing to cool slightly, then beat it until it thickens to a spreading consistency.


  1. Frost the Cake:
  • Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a layer of caramel icing over the top. Repeat with the remaining layers.
  1. Frost the Sides:
  • Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining caramel icing.
  1. Optional: Decorate with Nuts:
  • If desired, you can decorate the cake with chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts.
  1. Slice and Serve:
  • Slice and serve this delicious Classic Southern Caramel Cake.

Enjoy the rich flavors of this Southern classic – the moist cake layers paired with the indulgent caramel icing make it a truly delightful treat.

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