Southern Caramel Cake

If you’re a fan of classic Southern desserts, then you’ve probably heard of Southern Caramel Cake. This rich and decadent cake is a staple at many family gatherings and special occasions. It’s made with a moist vanilla cake that’s layered with a thick, gooey caramel frosting.

The origins of Southern Caramel Cake can be traced back to the early 1900s when caramel was becoming a popular flavor in desserts. The cake became a Southern favorite due to the abundance of sugar and dairy in the region. Today, it’s still a beloved dessert that’s often passed down through generations of Southern families.

Making a Southern Caramel Cake can be a bit time-consuming, but the end result is well worth the effort. The cake is typically made from scratch with simple ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. The caramel frosting is made by cooking sugar, milk, and butter until it reaches a rich, caramel color. The frosting is then spread generously between the cake layers and on top of the cake. The result is a show-stopping dessert that’s sure to impress.


  • 1 cup of butter.
  • 2 cups of sugar.
  • 4 eggs.
  • 3 cups of self-rising flour.
  • 1 cup of buttermilk.
  • 2 tsps of vanilla.
  • Southern caramel icing recipe (double the recipe).


  • In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and stir in the sugar and beat for about 8 minutes.
  • Blend in the eggs one at a time then add flour alternately with buttermilk.
  • Pour in the vanilla and beat until well combined.
  • Prepare 3 9 inch cake pans and pour the batter evenly in the pans.
  • In a preheated oven to 350° bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the cakes to cooling racks.
  • Make the southern caramel icing according to package instructions then ice the cakes once they’re cooled.

Variations and Tips

There are several variations of the Southern Caramel Cake recipe. Some people prefer to use buttermilk instead of regular milk, while others add a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg to the batter for extra flavor. You can also experiment with different types of frosting, such as cream cheese frosting or chocolate ganache.

Here are a few tips to help you make the perfect Southern Caramel Cake:

  • Use room temperature ingredients. This will ensure that your cake batter mixes evenly and your cake bakes evenly.
  • Don’t overmix your batter. Overmixing can cause your cake to become tough and dry. Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
  • Be patient when making the caramel. It can take some time for the sugar to caramelize, but don’t rush it. Keep stirring until the sugar turns a deep amber color.
  • Let your cake cool completely before frosting. If you try to frost a warm cake, the frosting will melt and slide off the cake.
  • Use a serrated knife to level your cake layers. This will ensure that your cake layers are even and your cake looks professional.
  • Decorate your cake with chopped nuts or a sprinkle of sea salt for extra texture and flavor.

By following these tips and experimenting with different variations, you can create a delicious Southern Caramel Cake that is sure to impress your friends and family.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential ingredients for a traditional Southern caramel cake?

To make a traditional Southern caramel cake, you will need flour, sugar, eggs, butter, buttermilk, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract. Some recipes may also call for additional ingredients like sour cream or evaporated milk.

How do you make caramel icing for a Southern caramel cake?

The caramel icing is a crucial part of a Southern caramel cake, and it’s what sets it apart from other cakes. To make the icing, you will need sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla extract. First, melt the sugar in a saucepan until it turns golden brown. Then add in the butter, milk, and vanilla extract, and stir until it forms a smooth, creamy consistency.

Can you use condensed milk when making a Southern caramel cake, and if so, how?

Yes, you can use condensed milk to make the caramel icing for a Southern caramel cake. Simply substitute the milk in the icing recipe with condensed milk. Keep in mind that this will make the icing much sweeter, so you may need to adjust the amount of sugar used in the recipe accordingly.

What is the best way to store a Southern caramel cake to maintain its freshness?

To maintain the freshness of a Southern caramel cake, it’s best to store it in an airtight container at room temperature. You can also store it in the refrigerator, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving to prevent it from becoming dry.

Are there any variations of the Southern caramel cake recipe that include unique ingredients?

Yes, there are many variations of the Southern caramel cake recipe that include unique ingredients. Some recipes may call for coconut or pecans in the cake batter, while others may add bourbon or rum to the caramel icing for an extra kick.

What are the steps to creating an old-fashioned Southern caramel cake?

To create an old-fashioned Southern caramel cake, start by making the cake batter and baking it in two round cake pans. Then, make the caramel icing by melting sugar in a saucepan, adding butter, milk, and vanilla extract, and stirring until it forms a smooth consistency. Once the cake has cooled, spread the caramel icing between the layers and on top of the cake. Serve and enjoy!