Monday, July 16, 2012

Six Layer Caramel Cake

Besides ice cream cake, the hubby's sweet treat of choice is a good ole classic yellow cake with caramel frosting.  I've almost made one several times over the years, but the thought of trying to conquer a caramel icing always leaves me opting for either a store bought one or a quick trip to the local Dairy Queen for that ice cream cake.  I've heard horror stories about this frosting, and I'd rather not spend hours trying to make it only to have to face the poor boy and tell him that there won't be a birthday dessert after all.  And if I were really honest I just don't like the possibility of failing.

However, I had a change of heart a few weeks ago when he turned the ripe old age of 27.  This was his first birthday we were celebrating as a married couple.  Plus, he does so much for me each and every day that I figured I could put forth some extra effort and give it a go.  Seriously, marrying this boy was the best decision I've ever made.  And so I owed him a cake.  One made of from scratch with plenty of love.  And with plenty of blood and sweat and tears.  Okay, I may have been exaggerating on that last part, but still.

After some searching I decided to tackle two recipes from one of my favorite sites, AllRecipes.  I have such a love affair with this site because there are plenty of ratings and reviews which give you a good idea of which recipe is the best.  There are also plenty of suggestions written in by such reviewers which can help you with any troubleshooting.  Both the yellow cake and caramel frosting recipes came from this site and I must say I was incredibly pleased.

All that being said, I definitely wouldn't start with this cake if you're not comfortable with layer cakes.  The six layers are very thin and can be tricky to manage if you're not used to transferring and stacking them in multiples.

And of course caramel frosting is a whole other animal.  Unlike buttercream or cream cheese frosting, it stiffens and sets very quickly, so you have to work very fast.  This was my first time working with it, so hopefully I'll get more of the hang of it with each passing go-round.

But this cake was unbelievably moist and the frosting was the perfectly rich complement to the buttery layers.  Yes, it was time consuming and expensive to make (12 egg yolks?!), but it was oh so worth every bit of it.  Don't let my review of the complexity of it scare you....I just want to make sure a first time cake baker doesn't take a whirl with it and then get frustrated when it flops :)

I hope you enjoy these pics, because
I had to cut the cake before presenting it to the hubby
in order to get a few good snaps.

The recipes below have been altered quite a bit with regards to the quantity they yield.  The original yellow cake recipe makes 2 larger layers and frosting recipe listed below makes 6 times the original amount.  Link back to the main source for smaller quantities.

Yellow Butter Cake Adapted from AllRecipes
Printable Version
3 C cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 C butter
2 1/4 C white sugar
12 egg yolks
1 C plus 2 Tbsp whole milk
2 1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 6 9-inch cake pans (I only had 4, so I had to wash and reuse 2 of them).

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour mixture, until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Divide batter among 6 pans.  Bake approximately 12 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

*Make sure to keep an eye on the cakes while baking!  Mine still looked runny at 10 minutes and then set up very quickly.  Overbaked cake is dry as a bone!

Remove pans from oven and allow to cool for 10 min in pan.  Turn out onto cooling rack.

Oh dear....

I had to take a few bites for the sake
of a good photo, right??

Caramel Frosting Adapted from AllRecipes
Printable Version
3/4 C butter
1 C plus 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
3 C packed brown sugar
6 C confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp vanilla

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in whipping cream and brown sugar.  Bring to boil and boil vigorously for 1 minute.


Remove from heat and beat in 3 C confectioners sugar.  Cool slightly and beat in remaining 3 C confectioners sugar and vanilla.  Add more whipping cream or some milk if mixture becomes too thick.

Spread immediately over cake (frosting will still be warm).  Work fast, as caramel frosting sets quickly and will be impossible to reshape once set.

Confession: I totally wanted 6 layers so that I could squeeze in more frosting :)


  1. Oh my...this is my dream cake. But like you, I'm too nervous to work with caramel icing!

    1. I LOVED it! Don't be nervous's tricky but not impossible :)


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