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Best Southern Salted Caramel Cake
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4.37 from 11 votes

Best Southern Salted Caramel Cake

This Southern Salted Caramel Cake is the best recipe to satisfy those cravings during any season with a burst of buttery and sweet caramel flavors.
Course Dessert
Keyword buttery, cake, caramel, dessert, easy, fluffy, salted caramel, soft, southern, sweet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 872kcal
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Ingredients

HOMEMADE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsps unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ cup organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

CAKE:

  • 4 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsps baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups organic cane sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
  • 4 large eggs, at room temp.
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsps vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups dairy-free "buttermilk" (You can also use full dairy if desired!)
  • ¼ cup Homemade salted caramel sauce

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

  • 5 cups organic powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsps Almond milk (You can also use full dairy if desired!)

TOPPING:

  • Salted caramel sauce, for drizzle

Instructions

HOMEMADE SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE:

  • Heat the brown sugar in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and stir constantly using a rubber spatula until clumps are formed. Add butter and continue to stir until everything has melted and become a dark 'amber-like' color. Continue to stir consistently until fully melted and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Now, slowly whisk in the heavy cream and continue stirring until well incorporated and sauce has fully thickened. Remove from heat, stir in the salt and allow to cool slightly before using. Set aside.

MAKE THE CAKE:

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease (with butter) AND line with parchment paper the bottoms of TWO 8 or 9-inch cake pans (for thicker layers) or THREE 6-inch cake pans.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the milk and lemon juice and set aside for 5-10 minutes until everything "activates" to create the dairy-free "buttermilk".
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
  • In a bowl, add the butter and sugar, beating them together using a hand-mixer (on high-speed), until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the eggs (one at a time) followed by the vanilla, oil, and salted caramel, mixing until combined. On low-speed, add in the dry ingredients followed by the buttermilk and continue to mix until combined and the batter is smooth, about 3-4 minutes. NOTE: The batter should be thick, yet slowly run off the whisk once lifted.
  • Divide the batter evenly into each of the cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick or butter knife comes out clean when tested in the centers.
  • Remove cakes from the oven and let them rest in the pan for 10 minutes or so before removing the cakes and placing them onto a cooling rack to fully cool. NOTE: Let them cool for at least 1-2 hours in a cool place.

MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:

  • Simply beat the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer (or using a hand-mixer) on medium-high speed, until smooth and pale. Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, continuing to mix on medium-speed until you reach the desired consistency----smooth and fluffy. NOTE: Add more milk (1 tablespoon at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (for more thickness).

ASSEMBLY:

  • Place the first cake layer on your cake stand and evenly cover the top with buttercream and a few drizzle of salted caramel sauce. Now, top with 2nd layer and add more buttercream + salted caramel sauce atop that layer. Finally, top with final layer and top with remaining buttercream, spreading it over the tops and sides of cake, evenly and thinly.
  • Once fully frosted, add small little designs of the buttercream using a piping bag + tip around the sides and top of cake. Chill for 5 minutes to ensure that buttercream sets. Drizzle with remaining salted caramel sauce.
  • When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator. Slice and enjoy!
  • Bon Appetit!

Notes

  • STORAGE: Keep cake leftovers stored for up to 4-5 days in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container to keep the cake from drying out. You can also freeze the cake tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the cake on the counter.
  • FLOUR: You can also use cake flour in place of all-purpose flour for a fluffier texture. 
  • STORAGE (CARAMEL SAUCE): Leftover salted caramel sauce can be stored in a tightly sealed mason jar for up to two weeks. When ready to use, simply reheat sauce in the microwave at 15 second intervals until softened and at room temp.
  • CUPCAKES: This recipe yields about 30 cupcakes. Simply bake for 18-20 minutes instead, until centers come out clean.
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make this cake entirely dairy-free + vegan, simply omit the unsalted butter and eggs and use vegan butter instead and add 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar to milk instead of lemon juice. Also, see my recipe for a vegan caramel sauce to substitute.

Nutrition

Calories: 872kcal | Carbohydrates: 171g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 223mg | Sodium: 584mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 1637IU | Vitamin C: 0.04mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 4mg