This is a basic yellow cake , but I’m calling it Potluck Caramel Cake because it has a caramel frosting and is easy to carry and serve. It’s not exactly fancy with the foil pan, but at the end of a party it’s always nice not to have to worry about getting a cake dish back.
Quick Caramel Frosting
The frosting is The Cake Mix Doctor’s “Quick Caramel Frosting” which is the most reliable caramel frosting I know of. Some versions take more time, but this recipe calls for confectioners’ sugar and doesn’t require a candy thermometer or any real candy making skills. Of course if you’d rather have a chocolate frosting, you can skip the caramel frosting and go with a good sour cream chocolate frosting recipe.
As for the crumb, it’s a basic yellow cake with a soft and velvety texture. Sour cream keeps it moist, but as with most yellow cakes you have to be pretty meticulous with your measurements and mixing method to get the best results. For instance, it’s best to weigh the flour, make sure the butter is neither too warm nor too cold, and add the eggs one by one, starting with a slow mixer speed and increasing speed after each egg. The flavor is vanilla, and if you can find some vanilla and butternut extract, you can another note of flavor and make the cake a bit more yellow in color.
Potluck Caramel Cake
- 2 3/4 cup 12.4 ounces all-purpose flour (350 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (230 grams)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (385 grams)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature (240 grams)
Quick Caramel Frosting
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (114 grams)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt omit if using salted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (240 grams)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-4 tablespoons of milk or as needed
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or use an ungreased 9×13 inch disposable foil pan.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until light and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice and beating for about 3 minutes or until light and creamy. Beat in the vanilla.
- Reduce mixer speed to low and add eggs one at a time, increasing mixer speed after each egg and beating for 30 seconds. When all the eggs are added, increase speed and beat on high for about a minute.
- Reduce speed to low and add the milk, then with mixer on the very lowest speed add flour and sour cream alternately.
- When flour is fully incorporated, pour mixture into the pan and spread evenly.
- Bake on center rack for about 35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.
- Caramel Frosting:
- Mix the softened butter, salt and both brown sugars together in a heavy saucepan.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. When mixture reaches a good boil, carefully pour in the milk (it will bubble up!) and allow the mixture to return to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and add confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth, then pour over the came before it starts to set. The frosting should start to set almost immediately after it is poured over the cake.
This turned out really great and was enjoyed by all! It has sparked several things for me personally. To make more yellow and white cakes. To try more caramel cake recipes.
This one is really good though and I would make it again.
Glad you liked it! It’s an old favorite from The Cake Mix Doctor, and I think I like it as much or more than some of the more complicated caramel frostings.
Just made the Quick Caramel Frosting to finish a boxed 13×9 cake recipe. It’s delicious. Reminds me of the chocolate icing for Texas Sheet cake as far as the preparation goes. Thanks for sharing!
I’m a big fan of freezing things, but in this case I’d say just leave it out covered overnight. Let me know how it works out!
I’ve decided to stick with the sheet cake – to make my life easier; this will be the 2nd birthday cake I’m making in four days. That said, if I make this on Friday to be served Saturday evening, what’s the best way to store? Will it need to be refrigerated? Thanks!
You can definitely use round cake pans. The last time I used 9 inch round pans the cakes took 35 minutes, but definitely start checking at 28 minutes just to be safe. Good luck!
Of all the caramel cake recipes I’ve seen, I like the sound of this one. If I want to use two 8″ or 9″ round pans any thoughts on adjusted baking time?
Hi Emilia! Thanks so much for the review. Good call on halving only the cake and not the frosting. Next time I make this one I will probably do the same thing.
I made this yesterday. Though I halved the cake and made it in an 8×8 pan. I may have kept the frosting as written. I like frosting. 🙂 The frosting reminds me of pralines and I think next time I might mix in chopped pecans. The cake is lovely too.
Looks good! I love caramel frosting. I’ve got a bottle of that vanilla butternut extract, and it’s been great to make king arthur flour’s recipe (on their website) for Grand Prize Coconut-Caramel Bars and we also love (from their whole grain cookbook) the oat scones with orange glaze. These are my husband’s favorites more than mine; for some reason I don’t like the slightly artificial flavor, but I’m in the minority according to the reviews of the flavoring on KAF.com and Amazon. When I was writing a product review about the vanilla butternut extract on KAF.com yesterday, I noticed that they have a TON of recipes that you can make with it. And they ALL looked delicious!
I would love a piece of that! It looks so good!