Old Fashioned Caramel Cake

I’m not sure why, but I decided that I wanted to make caramel cake to bring to my shabbat hosts. I was in a place with no internet, but luckily I have internet on my phone, so I quickly googled recipes for caramel cake.

There isn’t really anything caramel-y about the actual cake. It’s the frosting that’s caramel. Maybe I should change the name to Old Fashioned Caramel-Frosted Cake?

Milk and butter are very important parts of this cake, but I made it pareve. The caramel frosting was still rich and super-sweet, and the cake was nice and moist. Next time I will make it dairy and see how it turns out. I had trouble finding pareve soy milk in the supermarket, but finally found ZenSoy. It surprised me that so many milk substitutes were dairy! And of course, I used Earth Balance instead of butter.

For the cake –


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter – softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs – room temperature
  • 1 cup milk – room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch layer cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Butter the waxed paper.
  2. Sift the flour with the baking powder together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until fluffy, then gradually add the sugar, beating until creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat in thoroughly. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir well after each addition, but do not overmix. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Turn the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until the tops of the layers spring back when lightly touched and a wooden skewer inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. When the cake is done, cool 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting –


  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar – optional


  1. Place 1/2 cup of the sugar in a heavy or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramelized.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups of sugar with the milk and bring to a boil. Add the caramelized sugar to the boiling milk mixture and cook, stirring constantly, to a soft-ball stage when added to cold water.
  3. Remove saucepan from the heat, add the butter and vanilla, and beat at high speed until thick enough to hold to the cake when spread. If the frosting becomes too thick, beat in a few drops of hot water. If it seems too thin, beat in a little powdered sugar.

Now it’s time to frost the cake.

I didn’t have the right pans, so I just made two separate cakes in round Pyrexes and poured the frosting over the top. If I was making a layer cake like my carrot cake, the frosting would have had to be a bit thicker, and I would have added some powdered sugar in there.