Butter Cake with Caramel Icing


I get my obsession for all things caramel from my dad. And so what better cake to make for my dad’s arrival into town than one that calls for a caramel icing?

butter cake ingredients.

  • 2/3 c. butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure double strength vanilla extract
  • 3 c. cake flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 c. milk

butter cake directions.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour three 8-inch baking pans and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy, about five minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, until well mixed. Pour into pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely before icing.

caramel icing ingredients.

  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • 4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp. pure double strength vanilla extract

caramel icing directions.

  1. Melt the butter and brown sugar over low heat until dissolved, stirring constantly. Add the whipping cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 7 minutes. Do not leave unattended. Remove from the heat.
  2. Pour into a bowl and with an electric mixer gradually beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Once it starts to thicken begin to frost the cake immediately as the frosting will harden as soon as it hits the air.

The recipe (courtesy of Grandma Mo/Penzey’s magazine) I followed cautions that this icing is tricky to make. Heh. Tricky is an understatement. First of all I would recommend using a medium-sized heavy-duty sauce pan even though there aren’t a lot of ingredients you’re cooking on the stove. I didn’t. And my sauce runneth over as it bubbled away and hissed on the stove. However, this may have been, in part, due to the fact that I added one cup of whipping cream rather than a half. (Right in line with my horrible penchant to not read/follow recipe directions very well. Can you say cooking-specific ADHD, anyone?) I don’t think my extra whipping cream made any real difference. Not that I could tell anyway.

The recipe also recommended taking 6 to 10 minutes to add the powdered sugar. Phff. Unnecessary. I dumped it all in at once and the icing turned out fine. I will say this: the recipe cautions that the icing hardens fast so you need to spread the icing quickly. Fast would be an understatement.  The icing hardens immediately upon pulling the spoon away from the icing bowl to spread onto the cake.

Try this recipe if you have patience or if you’re a caramel addict only! However, the end result is worth the trouble. A sickly sweet icing tops the perfect white cake.

Recipe rating: 

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