Caramel Cake

Total Time:
1 hr 30 min
Prep:
35 min
Inactive:
30 min
Cook:
25 min

Yield:
8 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups self-rising flour, sifted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, or more if needed
  • 1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
  • Cake:
Directions
Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

Using an electric mixer cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 4 inches above counter dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Filling:

While cake is baking, in a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

*Cook's Note: As you stack layers together, stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting.

Frosting:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency. At this time it may be necessary to add a tablespoon of heavy cream, or more, if frosting gets too thick. Be sure to add cream in small amounts because you can always "add to", but you can't take away. Frost cake and sprinkle top with chopped nuts, if desired.


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3.6 60
I made this cake today for my Mom's birthday. I used a Duncan Hines Signature Caramel cake mix because many reviews mentioned the cake being dry. This was perfect. The filling and frosting just like recipe states. Do not be afraid to try this recipe it was fabulous. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used my own mix of self-rising flour for this. I noticed that other reviewers found this cake to be dry, and I figured that was probably because they used packed flour and didn't sift. I sifted mine before measuring, and it still came out just a tad bit too dry. In the future, I may try a different fat or change the flour/fat ratios and see, if I get different results. I also found the frosting to be too sweet, but I'm not really sure how to rectify that, as you're starting with a caramelized sugary substance and basically only adding more sugar to get it to the right consistency. It will inevitably be very sugary. That being said, this was better than the other caramel cake recipes I've tried, but I'd like to do some tinkering with it yet. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake turned out just weird. The cake was somewhat dry and didn't rise at all, and had thr texture of slimy bread. The filling was runny and liquidy. And the frosting was not fluffy and creamy, I had trouble just getting it to turn out solid!! Maybe because it was still hot, i reccommend cooling it before adding sugar and vanilla. It was a big disapointment and waste of ingredients. I followed the recipe to a T and it came out terrible. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is to die for. The cake itself needs to be some what like a pound cake because of the caramel sauce you put on it. It is very sweet but very good item not reviewed by moderator and published
I read the reviews and proceeded anyway. I don't like all purpose flour for my cakes which is generally what is used for self rising. I mixed my own self rising with cake flour. I have a few recipes that call for it. I find a finer crumb and more tender texture. The cake was excellent. I made larger holes for the delicious filling, excellent. I made the icing but probably needed more cream, it was very hard to spread nicely over the filling on top. Then I was interrupted and couldn't get back to fixing the icing for over an hour. My mistake. Cake was delicious and just what I wanted but it needed to look more presentable. I will try this again very soon . item not reviewed by moderator and published
rule number one when looking for a recipe on here...don't pay attention to the reviews...most of paula's cake recipes start with a classic 1 2 3 4 cake...people say that its "dry" and dense like a pound cake...but what the idiots don't know is that the classic 1 2 3 4 cake IS a pound cake..a recipe that goes back in my family for decades..i knew something was wrong because this is paula deen we're talking about...most of her cakes start with the 1 2 3 4 cake...and on every recipe people say its dry...you can't possibly tell me that EVERY cake paula deen ever made is dry..this cake is so amazing item not reviewed by moderator and published
After reading the mixed reviews, I was hesitant about making this cake. I'm so glad I did! With the exception of making a 13x9 cake instead of a layer cake, I followed the recipe exactly and got a moist and decadent cake. I will definitely be making this cake again. FYI, I did have a little batter left over to make four cupcakes, that were equally as good. Can't beat anything with caramel! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've made this recipe numerous times and it always gets rave reviews. I'm making it again for a dinner party this week (by request, and I read the reviews to see if anyone had neat ideas for presentation. I was surprised at how many people found this dry. I don't find the cake dry at all, and if you pour the filling in big holes in the cake (I always use a wooden spoon it is super moist and the presentation is impressive. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Oh my goodness, this cake is so good it had everyone scraping their plates! I was really worried because a lot of the reviews said the the cake was too sweet, NOT. We finished the cake in a day and my family is requesting another one ASAP. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made the cake and took it to work as a Christmas present of a friend who remembers his Grandma's carmel cake. He loved it. He said it came close to his Grandma's. It was to sweet for my taste but the other people in the office loved it. It was very moist. People in the office asking me to make another one for our Christmas lunch next week. However I did have some batter left over so I made a small cake in a tiny pan that I had, the cake is just delicious. So I may make just the cake and put a different icing on it or powdered sugar. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was not too difficult to make, but I think only one kind of caramel should suffice. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was excited about this recipe - have been trying different ones from the Food Network,so far all being really good and unfortunately, this was one not good. I read the reviews and most were positive, so i ignored the unfavorable ones, I made them into cupcakes, but they were dry and the cake was pretty dull tasting. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm really sorry, guys. This cake was very disapointing to me. I made it for my mom for mother's day, and nobody really loved it. All of the components of the cake by themself were awesome, but the light caramel and the dark caramel just seemed to ruin the true flavor of the cake. =( item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake for my sisters 23rd birthday! It was delicious! At first I was intimdated by all the steps but it was worth it and easier than I thought. Im gonna make it again for Easter Dinner. The only thing I would change is the icing I was afraid I'd add too much heavy whipping cream so it was a little stiff. I'll be sure to get it perfect this time! Thanks Paula! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I loved this recipe!! I made it for a friend for their birthday and they loved it!!! the caramel filling was a def bonus! used the recipe to a T and the cake was moist and flavorful. frosting and filling was easy to make and tasted great! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I thought it was wonderful and my husband, the cake lover, really loved it. We used a wooden spoon end to make the holes letting more caramel filling drizzle down through it (I think Paula did this on the show). Excellent. Some people don't know to adjust the time and heat when cooking in dark or glass pans. Maybe that should be mentioned in all cake recipes. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Terrible, terrible, terrible. Honestly, a waste of time & ingredients. I have been baking for 30 years and what a wreck this was. Fell apart when I attempted to frost it and no matter what I did, there was no saving it. I could tell the texture of the cake was unusual & once I completely gave up (because it was a pile of crumbs), I tasted it and it tastes like cornbread. I have never had a more negative experience making a cake and I'm not being dramatic! Very disappointed! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is now the cake I ask for on my birthday. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this cake and it was yummy! The icing turned out amazing for me. I couldn't stop eating it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I would NEVER use self rising flour to bake a cake! I can't believe Paula!!! Like eating cornbread!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Has potential. The icing was very good but this recipe calls for too much of it and the cake was not close to being moist enough. Wish that I had read the ratings before I made the cake! lol item not reviewed by moderator and published
Granted, I live at 5,500 ft. elevation, so baking here can be a bit "different". I was skeptical of a cake recipe using self-rising flour, and was very disappointed in the cake, which did not rise in the centers -- would recommend using a box mix and proceeding with the filling and frosting, although those made for a cloyingly sweet dessert. My husband requested "a caramel cake" for his b'day. I spent the afternoon making what I had to categorize as "the ugliest cake I've ever made" (and I must say, I am an expert baker. Husband said, "When we first married, you'd have been crying over this, now (after 44 years you're laughing". Oh well, you certainly can't eat too much of it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I would make this CAKE again but not the frosting - FAR too sweet and, like crazy_redhead below, mine turned out like gritty sludge. I didn't even bother to ice the cake with it, instead I filled it with whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar. A shame really as the cake itself turned out light and fluffy. item not reviewed by moderator and published
this cake did not set up properly. i've made it twice and both times there was a huge dip in the middle of the cake. the cake tastes pretty good but is a bit too sweet to eat more than a few bites. the frosting tastes good but comes out to a strange consistency. i would not make this again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just made the cake; I cheated and used a box version, I really only wanted to use the icing. But my filing and icing came out wonderfully! For both I whisked them until they came to a boil and then turned them off. I did use all the powered sugar and continually added whipping cream until I got the consistency I wanted for the icing. My icing came out really smooth and thick, and the filing dripped through the cake well. I settled on poking the holes with the injector needle we use for injecting chickens and turkeys for frying (It?s bigger than a toothpick and smaller than a wooden spoon). Haven?t tasted yet, but so far it smells like pralines- YUM!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was so disappointed with this recipe. I followed the instructions exactly, and like others, my cake turned out crumbly and dry. When I tried to stack the cakes, the middle caved in. I'm not sure if that's from poking the holes in the cake, or the sauce or what. As for the frosting, the instructions have to be flawed. Mine turned out like really thick, gritty fudge. I assume there are some steps missing. I'm not sure how anyone was able to successfully execute this recipe because I bake all the time, and this is certainly not my first cake. However, I will never try this recipe again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ok, I followed the recipe exactly. I think the recipe must leave something out. Like making sure the filling comes to a boil, because it was GRITTY! The cake was like cornbread. A lot of work and money to go in the trash. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed the recipe to the "t" but i must say i was disappointed with how the cake turned out.Although it was moist I must agree it tasted too much like sweet cornbread. -SORRY PAULA item not reviewed by moderator and published
My first concern was that the recipe called for self rising instead of plain flour. I followed the recipe exactly as it read but the mixture was very stiff. The cakes came out just as other reviewers said, "like a pound cake", " like cornbread". The frosting was grossly sweet. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very good cake! I couldn't find the vanilla so used raspberry flavoring instead. I also added 1/4 dark cocoa to the batter to change it into chocolate cake. For the filling I used my own chocolate glazing/ganache type 'frosting' using butter, cocoa, vanilla, raspberry flavoring and milk with walnuts. The mistake I made was pouring the filling while the filling was too hot and poking too many holes near the edges. lol The side fell off but it was delicious. Next time, less holes but I did use the wooden spoon handle for more filling but overdid it. Great cake!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I saw the show, the cake looked great, and then I read the reviews. This seems to be a cake that you have to make your own, so thanks to all the reviewers who gave reviews ahead of me. I beat the eggs and sugar for the cake for a full 8 minutes in my stand mixer on high. I added 1/2 c sour cream at the end for moisture...probably not necessary. The real problem is with the carmel sauce. The cake is meant to be on the dry side so the carmel can soak in to it and the cake will still hold shape. On the show, Paula uses a wooden spoon to make holes in the cake and then drizzles the carmel in. The recipes calls for toothpicks, I used bamboo skewers, and the carmel did not go in to the cake, just sat on top. I should have manned up and used the spoon handle to make the holes. My cake did shift when the frosting went on, so I broke off bamboo skewers and anchored it. I only used 1 1/4 c of confectioners sugar, just right. A different cake and a crowd pleaser to be sure! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was a very good cake and not dry at all....not after adding my little secret ingredient. I always add one cup of sour cream to my cakes and they always come out so very moist and delicious. I do have to agree with one lady who was a bit disappointed about the instructions given with this recipe. For example, don't start cooking the filling until you take your cake layers out of the oven. It only takes about 5 minutes to cook and besides you have to wait for the layers to cool down or yes, they will fall. The frosting recipe makes way too much for a 3-layer cake in my opinion. Next time I plan to cut it in half. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The overall recipe if phenomenal, but the cake itself is the best I've ever made. I didn't think it was dry at all, but I followed the recipe exactly and it was above and beyond what I expected item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm not sure why everyone thinks this cake is dry - it is by far the most moist cake I have ever baked! Just make SURE you beat the batter for the specified time and also if you don't have self-rising flour, make the appropriate additions to the all purpose flour. This cake was excellent and I am proud to serve it to my friends and family - thanks, Paula!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I really hate making negative comments for any of Paula's recipes, but this is the worst cake I've ever made. Just like the others said, it was dry and crumbly and the frosting was way too sweet. There were no indicators of temperature on the filling, frosting base or whether or not you should allow the cakes to cool. Being an experienced baker, I decided fill the cakes while hot and then allow them to cool before frosting. I let the filling cook for the allotted time on medium heat- it became grainy like bad fudge. The cakes were level when I stacked them. By the time it was ready to frost, there was a large sink hole in the middle. Again, I followed the frosting directions to the tee and it was grainy and greasy and didn't adhere to the cake. I wish I could show you a photo of what mine looks like. It doesn't at all resemble the beautiful cake Paula and Bobby made on her show. I was hoping it would be a matter of "looks bad, tastes great", but I had no such luck. It was such a disappointment. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Like most of the other reviewer said, my cake fell and crumbled. It was not pretty at all! Despite all that it still was very good and was still a big hit with my family. Extremely moist! I only used half box of confectioner's sugar for the frosting and it was still very sweet. I will definately try and make it again. Next time, I will use even less sugar in the frosting. Hopefully it will come out better! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just finished baking my first Caramel Cake and this recipe was a disappointment. It came out soooooooooooo dry. The texture reminded me of a pound cake. I hope the trash can enjoys it more than I did. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This cake is so very delicious! For anyone who cannot truly appreciate a baked-from-scratch cake because all you have known is cake from a cake mix...this cake is not for you. The consistency is more dense than cakes you get from a mix, and rightly so...IT'S HOMEMADE! The frosting is thick and rich, almost like a lighter version of homemade fudge! Here again, don't expect the consistency of the frosting in a store-bought container. Make this cake and taste some real, down home cake goodness!!! It is divine!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My friend and I just made this cake. It didn't end up looking quite as pretty as Paula's but it tasted AMAZING. It's the butter y'all :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
Paul I am a rookie baker and this was easy. The cake was awesome. I had everyone ask me where I bought it. They did not believe I made it. Thank you and my wife thanks you item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am not a baker, but this cake was really easy to make. My son saw Paula do it on her show and said it look so good he wanted me to make it. Reading the other reviews, I also used only a half a box of confectioner sugar for the frosting. It was still really sweet. It wasn't a light and fluffy frosting so I don't know if not using the whole box of powdered sugar would have made it fluffier but it was still delicious. item not reviewed by moderator and published
One of the tastiest cakes I have ever had. It does have an entire day's worth of calories, but it is worth not eating anything else to just have this. So rich and nuanced. My layers did sort of collapse, but I did not use parchment on the bottom of the pans. Next time I will not skip this step. However, even with them collapsed, it was moist enough to smush everything together. Might have looked messy, but tasted oh so good. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family really liked the cake and the topping. I don't consider myself a baker, and I didn't have any trouble with the cakes falling or any of the other problems I saw in some of the other reviews. I just followed the directions and it turned out great. My one criticism would be that I agree with others who wrote that the frosting was too sweet (and I am one who usually likes sweet frosting). I think when I make this again, I might try to cut the amount of confectioner's sugar in the frosting or find some other way to make it a little less painfully sweet. So thanks, Paula Deen, for a great cake that I'll add to my favorites! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was the best caramel cake I've ever had! My husband made it for me for my birthday this year all three layers. It was just as good as the caramel cakes I use to love as a child that my grandmother use to make. It turned out so well that we even made it for our camping club and there was nothing left over. Now my husband is a chocolate cake lover and even he went back for seconds when he made the first one for me! It is just as good with only two layers also, he used different size pans to layer it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was a very good cake. I've made it twice in the last week. The cake is airy which might lead some to say dry. I think there is too much frosting though. It is a sweet cake. My father in law is a caramel fanatic and he is still raving about it. My mom enjoyed this cake for her birthday as well. The cakes didn't fall in the over or when I pulled them out, but when I stacked them, there was a noticable dip in the center. The second time I made it, I let the cakes cool a bit in the pans (5-8 min.) and the last one stuck some in the pan, but I didn't flour that one as well either. I'll make it again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've been watching Paula Deen cooking shows for a longgggg time!!! I am impressed with everything she does. I have tried many of her recipe's. This one was a flop!!!!! With a big FLOP! I followed the directions to the T, whipping the butter and sugar adding one egg at a time, adding the dry ingredients and then the milk and ending with flourand lastly I did the dropping on the counter top from 4 inches. I even sifted the flour and I never do that. I have been a cake baker and had my own business for 18 years. I have NEVER had a cake fall on me. NEVER and I dip cake batter from the middle of the large pans and pour it around the edge and corners to make them even and a cake again has NEVER fallen. I opened the oven door to slowly turn the cake pans around to help with even baking and one of the cakes immediatly fell. The other one fell about 3 minutes later and nobody was anywhere near the oven. I finished the cake putting it together and everything. I agree with a few others, it had the texture of corn bread and there wasn't any flavor to it at all. The frosting was exceptional and so was the sugar combination that was drizzled over the cake. But I have been making brown sugar frosting for years. That wasn't hard. BUT I want to know, WHY did the cake fall? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have never had such a bad experience baking a cake in my life. Each part of the recipe turned out fine, but once I put them all together it all fell apart. Literally. The cakes couldn't hold the weight of each other and then when I added the frosting it was just too much to hold and my cake collapsed into a million pieces and fell right off the cake plate. This is the second Paula Deen recipe I have tried that has been a complete flop. I am so disappointed. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was so good and sweet and moist. It tasted great days after too. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was the best ever. If you are not the best baker the only advise I can give is take your time and follow the directions, all of them. It gets rave reviews everytime I make it. It is dense and very sweet but very good!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I had no problems making this cake the first time out. I do think it is a little dry, so the second time I made it I added several ounces of sour cream to the cake, which did the job well. Cake is very sweet but to me.. that's the point of dessert. My family loved it and I thought it tasted even better a day or two after I made it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Despite reading all the reviews, both good and bad, I decided to make this cake anyway. I had absolutely NO problems. My cake was moist, it didn't crumble, it wasn't too dense, and it easily came out of the pans. I think I had such good results because I took the time to read the reviews. The cake is a little heavier than an angel food, but I think you need a heavier cake to complement the heavy caramel icing. When baking this cake, there are a few steps you need to really pay attention to. You really need to cream the butter and sugar in the first step. This creates air bubbles in the batter which prevents the cake from being to dense. You also need to allow the cakes to cool in their pans before going on to the next step. I would also recommend tasting the caramel icing as you're making it. Using an entire box of confectioner sugar is a bit much. I ended up using only about a cup or two. If it weren't for the amount of time it took to make the cake, I would have given it five stars. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My husband asked for a caramel cake for his birthday and when I saw a Paula Deen recipe I thought it would be perfect. Wrong. The cake was like a sweet corn bread, as the other reviewer commented, and stuck to the pans horribly. The end result is a crumbly mess that DOES NOT taste like caramel. Save your money and time--skip this recipe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this for a family members birthday, he LOVES caramel so thought this would be perfect. Wow, what a waste of time and ingredients, it didn't taste horrible, but defin. not good. I got a lot of laughs about it, it looked horrible, and had way too much icing, and was WAY too sweet. To me and everyone that tried it, we thought the cake tasted like corn bread or corn muffins, anyone else think this, or did i do something wrong? lol Will definately NOT make again, but you can try it, it isn't horrible, just way too sweet and messy looking for me, and didnt taste like caramel! item not reviewed by moderator and published
A little on the sweet side but this is one great cake. I have made it a couple of times for different occasions and its always a hit. Just for a little something extra, try taking a little cheat from the store and use a butter pecan cake mix you wont be dissapointed. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was the first made from scratch cake I have ever made. It was easy and turned out great. Everyone loved it! It was moist and very tasty. I really enjoyed making this cake, and it tasted so good. Excellent Recipe, easy to follow, and simple ingredients--LOVED IT!!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I watched Paula's Carmel episode and was really excited to try this cake. I made it for my birthday and brought it into work. Everyone loved it. I thought it was very sweet. In fact, the frosting was almost too sweet. If I made it again, I would make less frosting and only put a thin layer on top. The cake itself was somewhat dry, only in the areas that didn't have carmel filling in them. Perhaps I needed to poke more holes in the cake before pouring the carmel filling on each layer. Overall, a pretty good cake, just incredibly sweet. item not reviewed by moderator and published
To not be chocolate, this is the best cake I've ever had. Excellent, moist, great. I understand why Bobby loved this growing up! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this recipe to take to church for Sunday Coffee. It never made it because it was eaten! It is terribly sweet but, if you like caramel this is the cake for you! My family would NOT stay out of it. I did make two recipes of the caramel that's drizzled into the cake layers, maby next time one and a half recipes? I did add a bit of salt to the frosting that goes on the outside of the cake, it brought the flavor of the caramel out. A beautiful cake, I will make it again! Very old-fashioned style cake. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Typical PD recipe with tons of butter, but it is really really good. It is insanely sweet, but in a delicious way. It really tasted like a big pancake with syrup, which my gf loved. item not reviewed by moderator and published
this by far was great! i made it for my husband's birthday and we could not get enough. he begged me to send some to our neighbors but we ate it all before i got the chance. it did take time but my 3 year old daughter helped and it was a great way to surprise him! item not reviewed by moderator and published

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Recipe courtesy of Sandra Lee