Antique Caramel Cake

September 25, 2012

antique caramel cake / une gamine dans la cuisine

Oh, my.

This cake.

*The* cake

Last year's birthday cake was a coconut ingénue, drifting on a fluffy white cloud. The cake before that was a high-heeled chocolate minx in fishnet stockings; sheer unadulterated decadence.

I wanted something in between. Something sweet enough to wear sprinkles, yet still corrupted and damaged + unafraid to indulge in a shower of sticky, salted caramel sauce.

Antique Caramel Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

Two layers of caramel cake (I made a 3rd layer because I wanted a super-high birthday day cake!), caramel cream cheese frosting, AND salty caramel sauce...sounds like something that should only be done behind closed doors, right? It is. But it's caramel, which makes it okay for some reason. And I loved every last crumb.

So will you!

Even if you think you're not a caramel fan. Even if you think you're a lifetime member of the chocolate cake club. Even if you Think that you only have room in your heart for lemons, *ahem* you will Adore this cake.

Trust me.

(Frivolous Birthday wish #5.) I'm still waiting for Tom Hiddleston to visit and leave a comment or two. Some little part of me still thinks magic happens on one's birthday. This is especially true after a few Kahlúa-laced mudslides. (And by a few, I mean a lot. And by laced, I mean 60%.)

No word from Tom; but this cake + friends + family...everyone made it a deliciously tipsy, fabulous day. XO

Antique Caramel Cake | une gamine dans la cuisine

Growing up, I never liked the fact that my birthday was in September. Not because I didn't enjoy being a fastidious, neurotic Virgo, but because September was back-to-school month. It marked the end of my beloved summer.

Now, I'm quite smitten with September. I love summer, but autumn has an earthy, stoic ambiance that I find irresistible. September is reticent. One could easily miss it's quiet muted beauty unless they steal a quick backward glace just before stepping into colourful October.

It's worth that second look.

The recipe for this beauty was found in the new Baked cookbook, Baked Elements. I cannot possibly convey how much awesome is in this book...I may have to have some sort of a giveaway, some time soon. ;)

antique caramel cake / une gamine dans la cuisine

Antique Caramel Cake
makes one 8-inch, 2 layer cake (I made an extra layer, just because it was my birthday.)
recipe adapted from Baked Elements

for the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (that's 1 stick) unsalted, room temperature butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking Soda
1 Tablespoon white vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

for the sweet & salty caramel sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup {Note: The original recipe calls for light corn syrup, so you may use that instead.}
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon fleur de sel

for the frosting
1/4 cup firmly packed Dark brown sugar
5 ounces (that's 1 1/4 sticks) unsalted, room temperature butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar {Note: Have an extra 1/2 cup on hand, just in case.}

Prepare the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter two 8 x 2-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the pans with flour, gently tapping out any excess.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour and salt together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on med-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat again on med-high speed for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (about 1 minute per egg). Scrape down the bowl again and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, dissolve the baking soda in the vinegar and, on low speed, beat it into the batter until just combined.

Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 32-37 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the cake tops are slightly browned and a thin knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. {Note: Mine were perfectly baked after only 30 minutes.} Transfer the pans to cooling racks and allow the cakes to remain in the pans for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the racks, remove the parchment, and cool completely. {Note: The cake layers can be made ahead of time and stored, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator for about 2 days.}

Prepare the sweet and salty caramel sauce: Have the heavy cream and sour cream measured out (separately) and ready to use. Have heat-proof bowl on hand for helping the sauce to cool faster once it's cooked.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and maple syrup with 1/4 cup water. Let the water soak into the sugar for a few minutes, then gently pat down any remaining dry sugar until most of it is moistened. (Try not to splash too much sugar onto the sides of the pan as you're doing this.) Without stirring, cook the mixture over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. {Note: Swirl the pan around occasionally once the sugar starts to melt.} Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and without stirring, cook until the mixture is dark amber in color, or just shy of 350 F. on a candy thermometer (this will take about 6-8 minutes). As soon as the caramel is dark amber, remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream (it will hiss, and sputter, and make a noisy fuss, so be careful not to burn your hands or face). Once the heavy cream has been added, whisk in the sour cream and fleur de sel. {Note: If the caramel clumps up in a few spots, return the pan to the stove and, whisking constantly, cook over med-low heat until smooth.}  Carefully pour the hot caramel sauce into the heat-proof bowl; Set aside to cool completely. It may take several hours for the caramel to come to room temperature. Try to avoid the temptation of's very, very hot! Even if you think it's cool. It's not. Also, do not refrigerate. If the sauce becomes cold, it won't be drizzly enough to pour over the cake.

Prepare the frosting: Once again, have the cream measure out ahead of time, and have a heat-proof bowl on hand. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar and 2 ounces (1/2 stick) of the butter until melted and combined. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook for 10-15 seconds. Remove from the heat, whisk in the cream, and transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl to cool completely.

Place the remaining 3 ounces of butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the cream cheese and salt and continue beating until mixture is smooth. Scrape down the bowl and beat again for about 15 seconds. Turn the mixer to low and stream in the cooled-off brown sugar/butter mixture. Scrape down the bowl again, and gradually add the 2 cups of confectioners' sugar. Once the 2 cups have been added, beat on med-high for about 1 minute. If the frosting looks too thin, slowly add the extra 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar. If it still looks too loose, refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes.

Assemble the cake! Place one of the cake layers onto a serving platter. If the top is too domed, use a long serrated knife to create a flat surface. Spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting on top and then drizzle the caramel sauce on top of the frosting. {Note: Be sure that the sauce has cooled to room temperature or else it will melt the frosting.} Place the next layer on top, then frost the same way. Frost the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Once frosted, drizzle the entire cake with caramel sauce, allowing it to flow down the sides. To set the caramel, refrigerate the cake for about 15 minutes before serving.

Any leftover caramel sauce can be jarred and refrigerated for about 2 days. You may need to leave it out at room temperature before using. Or, if you're like me, just enjoy what's left with a happy spoon! ;)


  1. Happy birthday, fellow Virgo! :) This cake looks worthy of a celebration. Absolutely spectacular, and I hope you had the best birthday ever!

  2. This cake looks like 3 layers of caramel heaven, a perfect way to celebrate your birthday!! :)

  3. loved this post so much! and that cake, oh my god, that cake - it is simply spectacular! hope you had a great birthday!

  4. That cake is splendid! What a beauty. And it is really tempting too... I hope you had a lovely birthday.



  5. Happy Birthday! It's sucha woderful cake!

  6. Gorgeous and thanks for introducing me to the "baked' family of books.......LOVE THEM!! and all your wonderful recipes...esp the browned butter ones:) yum...

  7. This cake was definitely worth the wait. It looks spectacular, and a perfect way to celebrate your birthday. (You didn't like having a September birthday as a kid? Try November. Nobody likes November. My only consolation was the fact that Jo March was also born in November.)

    Next year, I hope ALL of your frivolous birthday wishes come true!

  8. OMG that cake... and the addition of the third layer just solidifies the belief that you and I should be friends.

  9. Oh my...that's the most delicious looking cake I've seen in a long time! Happy Birthday xxx

  10. First off, happy birthday! And second, I simply must find a reason to make this delicious cake! Of course, just making a cake is reason enough but... :)

  11. I think "Oh My" pretty much sums it up. Stunning and making me want a piece so bad. Hope you had a wonderful birthday.

  12. GORGEOUS. LOVE the name, LOVE the photos, LOVE that's it's not just another cake post. I love this cake almost as much as I adore you!

  13. I'm normally not a caramel person, but I think I could make an exception for this cake! The three layers are gorgeous and perfect for a birthday cake (as are the sprinkles on top). Loving your posts from the Baked cookbook :)

  14. Oh my, how beautiful! Looks like a cake that I would not be able to stop at one piece. :) Happy Birthday!

  15. That looks wonderful. Caramel anything is yummy to me!

  16. Happy Birthday! I'm the 24th--and I always resented the fact that it was a week or 2 too late to have a pool party LOL. But fall is my absolute favorite and this cake looks perfect!

  17. happiest of birthday wishes to you! i love that you created for yourself a gorgeous cake to commemorate your birth. never have someone else make a confection for you that you can do better and girl, you did very well with this!

  18. Happy birthday to you! I seriously cannot tell you enough how much I adore your writing. I'm so glad you've come around to loving September too - and this cake is ah-maaazing.

  19. As many have said before.....Oh, my. From one Virgo to another, Happy Birthday.

  20. Your cake is beautiful. But I just love your dishes, too! What a beautiful plate!

  21. @Julia, Thank you! That plate is part of a set that was given to my parents as a wedding present. :)

  22. Oh I saw this cake on pinterest yesterday it look absolutely gorgeous and delicious! Love caramel especially homemade!

  23. happy birthday! I just about hurt myself heading over here to get a closer look at that cake. I don't like chocolate so there's no lifetime membership to betray. I adore caramel and you've just made me very, very happy.

  24. Caramel! What's not to love? I too was born in September. I am a Libra however and love having a "fall" birthday. Happy B'day to you!

  25. I totally need to make a caramel cake- I think it's big in the south because I see it everywhere! But NONE of them look as good as this one!! WOW!

  26. Happy belated birthday! This was the first recipe I wanted to make when I received this book in the mail! Alas, I'm baking along with Baked Sunday Mornings and it's a little further on in the schedule...

    Thank you for the lovely, mouth-watering preview!

  27. I made this cake too! EXCELLENT. The recipe worked perfectly. The crumb on the cake was amazing, as was its flavor.

  28. @Anon: I sometimes have dreams about this cake! :D Definitely on of the best, flavour-wise. Ever.

  29. I would like to use this recipe but instead of the cake make cupcakes. Have you tried this and if so have you had success? Thanks!

  30. @Melissa; No, I haven't tried a cupcake version of this recipe yet - but it sounds like a wonderful idea!
    {Just know that it would probably yield a lot of cupcakes...maybe 24-26.) :D


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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