Gran Jan’s Caramel Cake

Oh the JOY of an old-fashioned Caramel Cake! I’ve made a lot of caramel cakes since my original post back in 2008. I basically wanted to bring this recipe “forward” on the blog, so here it is! This is a recipe I found in a “Georgia Farmer’s Market Bulletin” paper over 40 years ago. This icing takes the cake!

CAKE  [Makes 3 layers]
· 2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
· 3 cups of sugar 
· 6 eggs (room temperature)
· 3 cups White Lily all-purpose flour, sifted
· 1/8 tsp salt 
· 1/4 tsp baking soda 
· 1 c sour cream 
· 1 T. vanilla flavoring
1. Preheat oven to 350° & prepare 3 nine-inch round cake pans (I use Baker’s Joy spray).
2. Cream butter & sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, then blend after each egg is added. 
4. Whisk salt into flour and stir baking soda into sour cream.
5. Alternately add flour and sour cream to the batter. Mix after each addition, don’t overmix!
6. Stir in the vanilla flavoring.
7. Pour an even amount of the batter into prepared pans and bake 25-28 minutes. The batter is thick. Don’t overbake!
Now let the cake layers cool in pans for a few minutes; then turn out onto cake racks to cool completely. Do not attempt to ice until they are completely cool. Completely cool. Completely all the way cool!

2 sticks of butter (I use salted butter)
2 cups packed dark brown sugar (may use one light brown and one dark brown)
3/4 cup of evaporated milk (I used canned Carnation evaporated milk)
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
4 cups powdered sugar

1. In large heavy saucepan, melt the 2 sticks of butter over medium heat.
2. Add the 2 cups of dark brown sugar to the melted butter and bring to a boil, stirring well. Reduce the heat and simmer the butter and brown sugar together for 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
3. Add 3/4 cup of evaporated milk to your butter/sugar mixture and return mixture back to a boil, stirring until blended, then remove from heat.
4. After removing pan from heat, stir in the vanilla flavoring.
5. Pour hot icing into a large mixing bowl and add the 4 cups of powdered sugar.
6. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in the powdered sugar until the icing is smooth and fluffy. Keep mixing until all the powdered sugar is incorporated!

Timing is everything! The caramel icing will get stiffer as it cools, so ice your cake when the icing texture is just right, nice and creamy. If the icing gets too thick, splash in a bit more cream and stir again. If your icing is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. You’ll get the feel for the perfect texture and get the timing down with practice. I speak from experience!

Helpful Notes:
Put a dab of icing on the cake platter of your choice and put the first layer there to help secure it while you add the frosting. This icing recipe is generous! I use 1/2 cup of icing between the layers with plenty of icing available for the sides and top!
This is a good tip: I take a tall glass of warm water and dip my icing spatula in to smooth the icing around the sides of the cake. You can do this several times. Then I take a wet paper towel and clean up any drips of icing that may have fallen on the cake platter. Presentation is important, but once someone eats a piece of this cake, presentation won’t matter as much. Seriously.

I hope your family and friends enjoy this delicious, timeless, Southern caramel cake recipe!

Gran Jan


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