Caramel Buttercream Cake


In honor of my dad’s birthday (64 on Thursday! Happy birthday, Dad!), I decided to try this recipe (caramel is his favorite). I had high hopes for this rather complicated cake. But knew almost immediately it would be a flop.


  • Brown Butter Genoise
  • Caramel Sauce
  • 1 1/4 c. (2 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 T. water
  • 1/4 c. plus 2 T. sugar
  • 1/4 c. bourbon


  1. Make Brown Butter Genoise and Caramel Sauce. Set aside.
  2. To make caramel buttercream, place butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix 30 seconds until smooth. Carefully add 1 1/2 c. of the room-temperature caramel sauce at a slow pace, letting it emulsify into the butter.
  3. Make a simple syrup by combining water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let come to room temperature. You will need 1/2 cup. Mix simple syrup and bourbon.
  4. To assemble: Cut cake (genoise) horizontally into 5 equal layers. (Use sharp knife or dental floss.)
  5. On first (bottom) layer, lightly brush one-fifth of the bourbon syrup and evenly cover with one-fourth of the buttercream.
  6. Place second layer directly on top first layer, brush with one-fifth of the syrup and evenly cover with 1/2 cup caramel sauce.
  7. Place third layer over top and repeat as for first layer.
  8. Place fourth layer over top and repeat as for the second layer.
  9. For the fifth layer, turn layer upside down, brush with remaining syrup, then invert and set smooth outside top on cake. Cover cake evenly with remaining buttercream on side and top.
  10. Chill until ready to serve.

brown butter genoise ingredients.

  • Soft butter to coat the pan
  • flour to coat the pan
  • 7 whole eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • scant 2 c. flour, sifted
  • 2 1/2 oz. browned butter (warm)

brown butter genoise directions.

  1. Butter a 10-inch cake pan (I used a spring-form). Place a piece of parchment paper cut to exactly fit bottom of cake pan. Butter parchment and place some flour in pan to coat bottom and side – tap out excess.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place whole eggs and yolk in a mixing bowl from the mixer and whisk together. Add both sugars and salt and whisk.
  4. Place bowl over a double boiler and whisk to just heat eggs and sugar, about 2 minutes.
  5. Place bowl on mixer fitted with wire whisk and whip at high speed until mixture about triples in volume.
  6. Remove 1 cup of the mixture and fold into the browned butter. Quickly fold flour into the remaining mixture and fold butter mixture in at the end. Try not to overmix and deflate the mixture. (Or don’t bother trying because it’s impossible.)
  7. Pour and scrape batter into prepared cake pan and bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes or until cakes is firm and wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Turn cake over onto a cooking rack that has a piece of parchment on it and remove pan. Let cool. (You can freeze well-sealed until needed.)

caramel sauce ingredients.

  • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3/4 c. water
  • pinch of kosher salt


  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Take off heat.
  2. In a separate saucepan, mix sugar and water and bring to a boil. WAsh down any crystals that form on the sides with a brush dipped in water. Continue boiling until mixture turns a deep mahogany color. (Do not over brown; you may need to remove pan from heat shortly before it gets to this color.)
  3. Remove from heat and immediately take a large whisk and carefully and slowly mix in cream. There will be hot steam coming up, so be very careful. Place caramel over a medium flame until it boils. Strain into a heatproof container. Cool to room temperature.
  4. This recipe should yield about 3 cups. You’ll need 1 1/2 cups for the caramel buttercream and 1/2 cup each for layers 2 and 4 when assembling the cake. This should leave you with a little extra, which can be used to drizzle over the cake, if desired, or use with another dessert or over ice-cream.

I seriously challenge anyone to follow this recipe and end up with the expected results. I tried making this cake TWICE and both times it flopped. I’m telling you, it’s an impossible recipe. You cannot prevent the cake from deflating when you try to mix the flour into the egg mixture. You just can’t!

I used 16 eggs to try to make this dessert. After failing twice, I decided to use the cake as-is and sliced the two cakes in half to make four layers. The cake was so dense it looked like bread. Actually, more dense than bread.

I wasn’t deterred. I spread the bourbon-simple syrup on each layer – didn’t seem to really absorb. Covered two layers (first and third) in caramel sauce and covered the middle layer in caramel buttercream. I barely had enough caramel buttercream for the one layer and to frost the entire cake – not sure how I would have been able to scrape up enough buttercream for a second layer, had the cake actually turned out as it was supposed to.

When I cut into the cake it looked, for lack of better words, disgusting. Like bread. Neither the caramel sauce nor the buttercream seemed to stick to the cake. I knew it was bad when both my dad and my sister commented on how good the ice-cream was but didn’t say anything about the cake. I took two bites to confirm that it was the worst cake ever made and made my dad throw the entire thing in the garbage.

Recipe rating: 


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