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Southern Caramel Cake

Southern Caramel Cake

Southern Caramel Cake

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend the Kentucky Derby a few times with Rick Tramonto, cook- book author and co-founder of the famous Chicago restaurant Tru. One of my favorite parts is sampling all the Southern cuisine that’s offered, especially the desserts! Anytime I can get my hands on a slice of caramel cake, I’m thrilled. This shortcut version brings me back to the Derby every time.

  • Author: Addie Gundry
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x
  • Category: Bakery


  • Cake
    • 1 (15.25-ounce) box yellow butter cake mix
    • Vegetable oil as needed for the cake mix
    • Eggs as needed for the cake mix
  • Icing
    • 2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 7 tablespoons evaporated milk, plus extra as needed
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
    • Pecan halves for decorating (optional)


  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven and make the yellow butter cake according to the package directions, using two 9-inch round cake pans that have been lined with parchment paper.
  2. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.
  3. For the icing: In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir until smooth, reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture gently boil for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and whip the icing for 2 to 3 minutes until it becomes thick.
  4. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Working quickly, spread an even layer of the icing over the cake. Set the second cake layer in place. Spread the icing on the top and the sides of the cake. If the icing starts to become too firm to spread, return it to low heat and add a tablespoon or two of evaporated milk and stir until smooth again. Whip until it becomes thick.
  5. Top the cake with pecans, if desired. Slice and serve.

Keywords: caramel cake


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