This decadent caramel cake is moist, buttery and full of caramel flavor! Made with homemade caramel, the best vanilla cake ever and a fluffy vanilla buttercream swirled with caramel sauce, you’ll love this caramel layer cake!

the best caramel layer cake

Caramel Layer Cake

Happy Friday! Another week down, which is cause for huge celebration in my opinion! And what better way to celebrate than with this buttery, salty sweet caramel cake. It’s decadent, moist, loaded with caramel and pretty much the only way I’ll be celebrating anything from now on. And while it does take a few steps to put together, believe me when I tell you that it is SO worth it

caramel layer layer cake with caramel swirl buttercream

What is Caramel Cake?

If you’ve never had a classic southern caramel cake, I am incredibly sorry for you. Caramel cake usually consists of layer of moist vanilla cake sandwiched together with thick caramel buttercream. It’s super rich but SO GOOD. I have been known to eat way too much of it and then feel incredibly ill. But that’s show biz, baby.

Instead of making our caramel cake with a completely caramel buttercream, we made ours with a caramel swirled vanilla buttercream, and let me tell you, it is delicious. This caramel cake require three components:

  1. The Best Vanilla Cake Ever: Our tender and moist vanilla cake is the perfect base for this caramel cake. Lucky for you, we have a step by step tutorial to take any and all guess work out!
  2. Homemade Caramel: Caramel gets a bad rap for being scary to make, but it’s actually pretty easy once you get the hand of it. You can find a full video break down on how to make caramel without a candy thermometer here!
  3. Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream: This vanilla buttercream is light a cloud and perfectly creamy AKA the perfect consistency to sandwich together your cakes!

caramel cake slice

Ingredients for Caramel Cake

This caramel cake requires a little bit of prep work, but it shouldn’t require a trip to the store! Made with all basic ingredients you probably already have on hand!

  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Buttermilk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Powdered Sugar

caramel cake swirled with homemade salted caramel

Tips for making caramel cake

  • Prep Ahead: There are a few different moving parts in this caramel cake recipe, so it’s best to plan out your roadmap before you embark on this delicious journey. We recommend you make the components to this cake in the following order

    • Make the caramel a few days in advance. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge (we love mason jars!) until you’re ready to assemble the cake. This will allow the flavors in the caramel to settle and the cool caramel will be much easier to work with!
    • Bake the cakes the night before and freeze it: It’s much easier to assemble a cake when the layers are cold or frozen. Cake is tender and delicate (as it should be!), and freezing the layer will prevent any crumbling when you assemble it!
    • Make the buttercream when you are ready to assemble: When you’re ready to put together your cake, take the caramel out of the fridge to soften to room temperature and then make the buttercream. The buttercream will be freshly whipped and fluffy to sandwich together your cakes and caramel!
  • Use high quality ingredients: Caramel, vanilla cake, and vanilla buttercream are relatively basic flavors and recipes so the equality of the ingredients you use will really shine through! Make sure you use good butter and pure vanilla extract for the best results!

  • Don’t be afraid to get a little messy: Caramel and frosting can get a little sticky. Don’t be a perfectionist when it comes to assembling the cake. It will be beautiful and super tasty no matter what!

What size caramel cake does this recipe make?

We love to make mini 3 layer 6 inch round cakes because they’re so darn cute, but this recipe will make all of these different sizes!

  • 3 layer 6 inch round cake
  • 2 layer 8 or 9 inch round cake
  • 1 layer 9 x 13 sheet cake

caramel layer cake with caramel buttercream

Happy caramel cake eating, love bugs! This is pretty much all I’ll be eating this weekend. I hope you’ll join me 🙂

Print

Caramel Cake

the best caramel layer cake

This decadent caramel cake is moist, buttery and full of caramel flavor! Made with homemade caramel, the best vanilla cake ever and a fluffy vanilla buttercream swirled with caramel sauce, you’ll love this caramel layer cake!

  • Author: Sofi | Broma Bakery
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: oven
  • Cuisine: american
Scale

Ingredients

for the caramel

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons salt

for the cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cupbuttermilk

for the buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1.5 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk

Instructions

for the caramel

  1. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat the sugar on medium low heat until its completely melted, swirling the pan gently every 20 seconds or so. The sugar will start to form clumps before melting slowly. Be patient and keep an eye on it to make sure it does not burn.
  2. Once melted, remove from heat immediately and stir in the butter. The mixture will violently bubble. You’re doing it right.
  3. Next, pour in the heavy cream and sea salt. Stir until everything is combined.
  4. Pour into a container and allow to cool completely before using. We recommend doing this step a day in advance so that the caramel is completely cool and easy to work with when you make your caramel cake.

for the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F and grease and flour  3 6 inch pans Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the softened butter and oil together until they become homogenous, about 3 minutes. This will not work if your butter is not completely room temperature.
  3. Slowly add the granulated sugar to the oil and butter, beating on high until the mixture is light and fluffy and turns a very pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs in one at time, scraping down the bowl in between each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Beat the mixture on high for 3 minutes more to incorporate as much air as possible.
  5. In separate bowl sift together the cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in 4 batches, starting with the buttermilk and ending with the dry ingredients. It’s okay if the batter still has a few lumps in it–you don’t want to over mix it.
  6. Split the batter evenly into the prepared pans and back for 30 minutes or until the cake is a lightly golden brown and springs back when pressed. This will depend on your oven. Take out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely before using.

for the buttercream

  1. While the cakes cool, make the buttercream.
  2.  Place the softened butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the butter and sugar together until combined. The mixture will be thick.
  3. Add the milk, salt, and vanilla extract and turn the mixer on high. Beat for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula. Beat for 2 more minutes until frosting is thick and fluffy.
  4. Transfer the buttercream to a large piping bag and set aside.

assemble the cake

  1. Bring the caramel to room temperature and set aside a half cup of caramel to use on the outside of the cake. Reserve the rest for the filling.
  2. Place the first cake round on a cake stand, then pipe a border around the the top of the cake to create a barrier to hold in the caramel. Pour half of the caramel for the filling on top of the cake, using an offset spatula to spread the filling to the buttercream border. Place the second cake on top and repeat. Place the third layer on top and use the frosting to frost the tops and edges of the cake. Take the reserved 1/2 cup of caramel and use an offset spatula to swirl the caramel into the buttercream or dab it along the sides of the cake, kind of link a paint palette. drizzle the cake with any additional caramel. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve!

Keywords: caramel cake, caramel layer cake, celebration cake

Caramel Cake pin

17 comments

Jesse-Gabriel
Reply

Ich wünschte so sehr, das es deine tollen Rezepte auch in Gramm gäbe, ich liebe sie – die Rezepte!
Liebe Grüße,
Jesse-Gabriel

Wes
Reply

I do not have 6 inch pans and always double recipes for 2 layer 8 inch cakes to get a 3 by 9. Should I double or triple recipe for a 3 layer 9 inch cake? Pans are 2 inches deep. Thanks!

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hey Wes! I would double the recipe!

Vivian
Reply

6-inch pans? Really? How many people have three 6-inch pans? How about adjustments for two 8-inch pans.

SweetShay
Reply

The directions for a 8 or 9 inch pan is in the post too

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hey Vivian! 6 inches will make a 3 layer cake like you see in the photo. But in the post and in the recipe it has the other size cakes this exact recipe will make: 2 8 or 9 inch cakes too (or a 9 x 13 pan)! Hope this answers your question 🙂

Linda
Reply

Awesome looking cake!
Thanks for including that recipe can be used in 8 or 9 inch pan, and 9x 13 inch pan.

michelle miller
Reply

Sarah stated in the her post that you can use 2 8-9″ pans

Cornelia Mathis
Reply

This looks great! Cannot wait to try.
There is a typo in your recipe, #6 In for the cake, back should be bake.

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Ahh thank you!

TERRI
Reply

If it is baked in a 13 x 9 pan, how do you incorporate the caramel filling? Can’t wait to try this!!

T.R.

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Terri! I would bake it a 9 x 13, let it cool completely and then cut the cake in half. Spread the caramel layer between the layer just like you would on a round, replace with the second layer and then frost! You could also just do a layer of caramel between the cake and the icing if that’s easier!

Ashlyn @ F5 Method
Reply

This looks so amazing! Caramel cake is such a nostalgic treat and your version looks elegant and delicious!

Jackie
Reply

Hi- how do you freeze the cake?

Sofi | Broma Bakery
Reply

Hi Jackie! You can freeze the layer before assembling the cake by lettting them cool completely and then wrapping the cakes tightly in plastic wrap!

Jesse-Gabriel
Reply

Vielen vielen Dank das du auch Gramm angegeben hast so kann ich diese Köstlichkeit nach backen!
Liebe Grüße,
Jesse-Gabriel

Bella Edwardson
Reply

Just made this recipe and it was delicious! The caramel was perfect and mixed very well with the buttercream, which was delicious as well. The only reason I gave it 4 stars and not 5 is because I wasn’t in love with the vanilla cake. It was slightly dry and just not as flavorful as I wished. It did fit well with the frosting though so overall it was an amazing cake!

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