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Southern Caramel Cake

This buttery homemade Southern Caramel Cake is what dessert dreams are made of. It features three layers of homemade cake frosted with a decadent homestyle caramel frosting.


Easy Southern Caramel Cake Recipe

This scratch made caramel layer cake is unapologetically sweet. It’s one of those beloved cakes that everyone loves to eat. It’s quite commonly found at the holidays or special occasions and perfect for birthday celebrations, too. How to make simple Caramel Cake Recipe:

  • Flour – 3 cups all purpose flour sifted with baking powder and salt. I use a whisk for this and it works perfectly.
  • Fats – Unsalted butter and solid vegetable shortening.
  • Sugar – Both granulated sugar and light brown sugar.
  • Flavorings – Pure vanilla extract.
  • Eggs – Four large eggs.
  • Milk – Buttermilk, not fat free.
  • Caramel Frosting – Salted butter (or you can use unsalted and add 1/4 teaspoon salt), evaporated milk, dark brown sugar, pure vanilla extract, powdered sugar ans additional evaporated milk, whole milk or heavy cream as needed to thin the icing to spreading consistency.

How to Make the Best Southern Caramel Cake Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Southern Caramel Cake: All purpose flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, vegetable shortening, butter, vanilla extract, large eggs and buttermilk.
  • Ingredients you’ll need to make the Caramel Frosting:  Butter, evaporated milk, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, vanilla extract and sifted powdered sugar.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: A stand mixer or a hand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, 8 or 9 inch cake pans, cooling rack, a heavy bottomed medium size saucepan to make the frosting, a wooden spoon or heat safe rubber spatula for stirring the frosting and an offset icing spatula. You’ll also need a cake stand or platter for the cake.
  • The reason I give a range for the amount of powdered sugar is due to the fact that you can adjust the amount depending on how much you need. For example, a 2 layer cake will need less icing and a 3 layer cake made with 9 inch cake pans may need more. You can adapt the amount according to your needs. You can add half and half or heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time to thin as desired for easy spreading.
  • The icing may begin to set while you work. Have your cake layers completely cooled and ready to go so you can work quickly.
  • I also recommend having nearby a glass filled with hot water. Dip the icing spatula into the water, dry with a cloth then continue to work. This will also help smooth the surface of the frosting.
  • You can frost this cake any way you like. To achieve the design in the images, use the tip of an icing spatula beginning in the middle of the cake. Turn the cake making a spiral design to the outer edge.
  • You could garnish the top of this cake with toasted chopped pecans or walnuts, if you’d like.
  • Store leftover Southern Caramel Cake chilled in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to one week.
  • You can freeze Caramel Cake for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

More Southern Style Cake Recipes to Make

If you’re in the mood for making scratch made Southern cakes, you’ve come to the right place! More cake recipes you may also like to try:


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Helpful Kitchen Items:

Southern Caramel Cake

Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Chill time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 55 minutes
Course: Cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramel-cake-recipe, southern-caramel-cake
Servings: 16 servings (may vary)
Calories: 723kcal


  • Cake:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (not fat free)
  • Caramel Frosting:
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • additional evaporated milk, whole milk or cream as needed to thin to spreading consistency


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 3 (8 or 9 inch) cake pans with baking spray or butter and flour. Set aside.
  • To Make Cake Layers: In a medium size mixing bowl, use a whisk to sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
  • Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, vanilla, brown and granulated sugars in a large mixing bowl. Beat for 2 minutes or until creamy and light beige in color.
  • Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Lower the speed of the mixer and add sifted dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour.
  • After all has been added increase the speed of the mixer to medium and beat just until fully combined around 45-60 seconds. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  • Bake cake layers for 25-30 minutes or until the tops bounce back when gently touched. You can also test with a toothpick inserted into the center that comes back clean. Cool completely in the pans on a baking rack before frosting.
  • To Make Caramel Icing: In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat melt together butter, evaporated milk and brown sugar. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until sugar is completely melted.
  • Remove from heat, add vanilla, mix well. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  • Once lukewarm, use an electric mixer on medium-low to gradually beat in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Whip in 5-6 cups until fully combined. You can add whole milk or half and half as needed to make it smooth and spreadable.
  • Spread frosting evenly between layers and on sides of cake. Chill for at least 4 hours to set.
  • Store in an airtight container chilled for up to one week.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 723kcal | Carbohydrates: 131g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 225mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 111g | Vitamin A: 741IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


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