Caramel Cake

Cakes are all about being moist.  Seriously, no one likes a dry cake – it’s gross and definitely not worth the calories.  But…if you make the cake with buttermilk (and of course actual butter) that’s absolutely not going to be a problem.

Plus you’ll make homemade caramel sauce as part of the recipe and you’ll have some left over, so you can use it on ice cream as well!

Sort of the dessert that keeps on giving…


Caramel Sauce

·        1 cup sugar

·        6 T butter

·        1 cup heavy whipping cream

·        1 t vanilla

·        1 t sea salt


·        1 cup buttermilk

·        ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature

·        1 cup brown sugar

·        2 eggs, brought to room temperature

·        2 t vanilla

·        2 cups flour

·        2 T cornstarch

·        2 t baking powder

·        ½ t baking soda

·        1 t salt

·        ¼ t ground nutmeg


·        1 T dark chocolate cocoa powder

·        ¾ cup chocolate chips (I used half milk and half semisweet)

·        ¼ cup boiling water

·        ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature

·        ¼ cup powdered sugar

·        1 t vanilla


We’ll start with the caramel because we’re going to end up using it as an ingredient in the cake.

Put the sugar and butter into a saucepan and heat it over medium heat.   Stir regularly until both the sugar and butter are melted and the mixture has turned nice and golden brown.  Don’t boil it – get it to just before it starts to boil.

When it’s your golden brown color, take the pan off the heat and add in the heavy cream (be careful it might splatter a bit when you first pour it in), and stir continuously until everything is well combined.

Finally, add in the vanilla and sea salt and stir again until everything is well combined.  Set the pan to the side…you’ll need it later.IMG_0433

You’ve actually got a couple options here.  If you’re planning on making the cake right away, you can leave everything in the saucepan.  However, if you’re going to make the cake another day, let the caramel cool and pour it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Now, on to the cake.

Heat the buttermilk in your smallest saucepan, over a low flame, until it’s warm (do NOT boil it).  Take it off the heat and set it aside.

In a bowl, put the butter and brown sugar and mix with your hand mixer until they’re light and fluffy.  Next, add in the eggs and vanilla beat again until everything is well mixed.

In a separate bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients:  flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.  Pour half the dry mixture into your butter and sugar bowl and mix.  Then pour half the warm buttermilk in and mix.  Then repeat:  the remaining dry mixture, mix, the remaining buttermilk, mix.  Mix with your hand mixer until just combined – don’t overmix – and you have your cake batter!

Butter and flour a 13” x 9” pan and pour the batter into the pan.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick put into the middle of the cake comes out dry.  Cool the cake, in the pan, on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.IMG_0440

After 5 minutes, take a wooden spoon and poke holes in the cake with the handle end.  IMG_0441Measure out about ¾ cup of the caramel sauce you made (give or take – this doesn’t need to be exact) and pour it evenly over the cake, making sure that all the holes are filled and most if not all of the cake is topped with caramel.  Put the rest of the caramel sauce into an airtight container and refrigerate it until you need it for an ice cream craving.IMG_0444

Finally, the frosting.

In a small bowl, add the cocoa powder and chocolate chips.  Pour the boiling water over the powder and chips, and stir until the powder is dissolved and the chips have melted.

In a separate bowl, put the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.  Pour in the chocolate mixture and mix again until well combined.  This is your frosting!

Frost the cake and chill it in the fridge.  When you serve it – I guarantee your guests will thank you.  Make sure to refrigerate any uneaten portions (if there are any!)IMG_0446

NOTE – I made two (rookie!) errors in making the cake portion – don’t do the same!  First off, I forgot to let the eggs get to room temperature.  Second, I mixed the batter – a lot.  Both of these are no-no’s.  They don’t necessarily affect the taste of the cake (it’s delicious), but what they do is prevent it from being a fluffy as it would otherwise be, resulting in a denser cake than I had intended, and definitely denser than what I prefer.

That said, these mistakes did NOT ruin the cake, it’s still delicious.  But they don’t help it.

Don’t make the same mistakes I did!IMG_0457

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