Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

After completing this month’s Daring Bakers challenge featuring Shuna Fish Lydon’s recipe for caramel cake, I hereby demote Cake Wrecks from hilarious to merely amusing and witty.

Making cakes is back-breaking work and I’ve learned to appreciate the time and effort involved with all things frosted, regardless of how uninspired, bizarre, or wrong it is. I hadn’t noticed an hour has passed and I still couldn’t get the icing applied evenly. I guess that explains the heavy dusting of almond meal.

The Daring Bakers - Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

The Daring Bakers – Caramel Cake
Hosted by Culinary Curiosity, Blondie and Brownie, and Foray into Food

Recipe adapted from Shuna Fish Lydon

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

makes one 9-inch cake

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Slice

For the Caramel Syrup:

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

1 cup water (for stopping)

Caramel Syrup Instructions:

  1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, mix the water and sugar until sandy. Boil the mixture over high heat until dark amber and slightly smoking. If using a thermometer, heat until the syrup reaches 380ºF / 195ºC.
  2. Wear heatproof gloves for protection in the following step. Slowly pour 1 cup of water into the saucepan and immediately lower the heat to medium. Watch out for sputtering hot syrup and steam.
  3. Whisk the syrup until reduced and thickened.
  4. Let the caramel syrup cool completely before continuing.

For the Caramelized Butter Frosting:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
unsalted butter                  12 tbsp          6            170
confectioner’s sugar, sifted  4 1/2 cups         16            454
heavy cream                       6 tbsp
caramel syrup (recipe above)      4 tbsp
vanilla extract                   2 tsp
kosher salt                   pinch

Caramelized Butter Frosting Instructions:

  1. In a small saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat until brown.
  2. Once the butter is browned, use a fine mesh metal sieve to strain into a heatproof bowl. Let the strained brown butter cool completely before continuing.
  3. Pour the strained brown butter into a mixing bowl. Mix in the confectioner’s sugar slowly just until dry and sandy. Add about 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream or caramel syrup to thin the butter frosting.
  4. Alternate between the confectioner’s sugar and heavy cream / caramel syrup until all of the sugar is incorporated.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until the frosting is smooth.

Caramelized Butter Frosting Storage:

The caramelized butter frosting will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

For the Caramel Cake:

Ingredients                  Volume          Ounces          Grams
all purpose flour                 2 cups          9            255
baking powder                   1/2 tsp
unsalted butter                  10 tbsp          5            142
granulated sugar              1 1/4 cups          8.8          250
kosher salt                     1/2 tsp
caramel syrup (recipe above)    1/3 cup
large eggs                        2
vanilla extract              splash
whole milk                        1 cup           8.6          244


  • Have all the caramel cake ingredients at room temperature before continuing.

Caramel Cake Instructions:

Preheat Oven    350ºF / 177ºC

Butter a 9-inch cake pan (2 - 2.5 inches deep)

Sift            Sift together the all-purpose flour and baking powder.

Mix (Creaming Method)
                In a separate container, beat the butter until smooth.
                Add the sugar and salt. Cream until light and fluffy.

                Pour in the caramel syrup and mix to incorporation.
                Add the eggs one at a time and mix to incorporation.
                Finally, add the vanilla extract and mix until light
                and smooth.

                Alternate between a third of the sifted flour and
                a half cup of the milk and mixing to incorporation
                after each addition. Begin and end with the sifted

Pan             Pour the batter into the buttered cake pan. Place
                the cake pan on a cookie sheet or sheet pan.

Bake            350ºF / 177ºC for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan and
                bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the sides
                pull away from the pan and a wooden skewer inserted
                in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool            Let the cake cool completely at room temperature.

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Baked
Good thing there’s frosting involved.

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Assembly:

Leveling        (optional)

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Leveled
Leveled caramel cake with caramelized butter frosting for masking.

Masking         Apply a thin coat of frosting. This will keep crumbs from
                the final layer of frosting.

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Masked
Masked caramel cake.

Refrigerate     Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set the first layer
                of icing. 


Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Frosted
My back hurts.

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting Dusted
Dusted with almond flour. Lame attempt at adding some semblance of nutritional value. Good attempt at hiding mediocre icing skills.

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85 Responses to “Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting”

  1. Meeta says:

    It looks great to me Jude! Great going!

  2. Rosa says:

    Great job! your cake looks perfect!



  3. Deeba says:

    Back-breaking or otherwise, I think the almond meal adds bautiful elegance to your cake Jude. The first picture is enticing! Very pretty!

  4. nikkita says:

    Oh I think your cake looks stunning and was wondering what it was that you dusted on the top! I can’t frost evenly either but you know, this is the one cake that can look as ugly as it can get cos it tastes sooo dang good!

  5. natalia says:

    I think your ‘products’ always look superb !!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Looks great!! The almond meal is such a cool addition!

  7. Caitlin says:

    I agree – time just flies by when you’re swearing at cakes for contaminating your frosting with crumbs. Not so much fun as time flying by when you’re having fun, but close, right? I’m jealous of how dark your cake ended up – mine was a bit too light on the caramel flavor for my tastes.

  8. Marija says:

    Wonderful, very elegant looking cake. Great job!

  9. Natashya says:

    Your cake does look nice and even. Is that an icing turntable? I can’t ice or frost, my drizzle is my cover.
    I bet your cake tasted wonderful!

  10. dhanggit says:

    oh jude I would love to have slice, perfect with kapeng barako :-) hehehe

  11. Sweatha says:

    Looks great.I love caramel cake-but never attempted one

  12. Shaheen @ Ambrosia says:

    Hey Jude, I just came to check in on DB chellenge but as soon as I saw apple crisps I ran off and grabbed two apples and peeled them. Hehe

    Your cake looks great and almod flour. Nice touch!

  13. kat says:

    I think your cake looks great & its such a beautiful dark color

  14. Aparna says:

    I thinkj your cake looks gorgeous. Its simple and that’s the secret. I was trying to figure out what you had dusted on it till I read the post.
    My frosting skills are so poor I end up having to make frosting monstrosities to cover my mistakes.:D

  15. Cheryl says:

    that looks beautiful, and I bet it was delish! I’m getting hungry just looking at all of them.

  16. Dragon says:

    Back breaking work but the cake is worth it. :) Great job!

  17. sweetbird says:

    Aww man…your cake is so much fluffier than mine. Mine was a dense mess. Stop being so awesome.

  18. Sara says:

    you may have added the almonds as a cover, but i think it looks amazing! great cake.

  19. Squawkfox says:

    Lovely cake. You are a star, as per usual. :D

  20. rainbowbrown says:

    A sprinkling of blankity blank is always a life saver. It looks fantastic.

  21. Jackie says:

    I really like the rich, golden colour of your cake, and the almond flour was a nice touch. All that hard back-breaking work resulted in a very elegant-looking dessert. :)

  22. Caroline says:

    You crack me up, Jude. Your back-breaking cake looks great. The almond meal dusting made it look elegant.

  23. Tartelette says:

    I think you did a fantastic job Jude with the challenge! I like the dusting of almond meal!

  24. Mary says:

    Jude, this is a really beautiful cake. Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

  25. DebinHawaii says:

    If you hadn’t mentioned the challenges of the frosting we never would have known–the almond meal looks wonderful on it!

  26. jillian says:

    I love the almond flour addition! I imagine it helped cut the sweetness a bit.

  27. Dana McCauley says:

    Looks like a nice result – sorry you round the task difficult. You could have fooled us all by saying you did it while you were also doing fractal geometry. Your cake is that pretty!

  28. linda says:

    I know what you mean with the frosting, it was horrible to spread smoothly. I covered up with nuts too ;)

  29. Tartasacher says:

    Hello Jude:

    Fantastic your Caramel Cake. Thank you for your lovely comments in my sweet blog.

  30. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    The old nut camouflage trick works every time ;) I envy that nice caramel color.

  31. Aran says:

    i really like the dark, deep caramel color of the cake. that is a well cooked caramel!

  32. Laura Rebecca says:

    I really *like* the dusting almond meal — nice idea!

  33. Jo says:

    I think your cake looks wonderful… delicious and moist! Yum!

  34. Hexe says:

    I too like the dusting of almond flour – a lovely finish.

  35. Heather says:

    That does look like a lot of work, but it also looks like it was worth it. Pies are too much trouble, though. I will stick to galettes.

  36. Gretchen Noelle says:

    Looks like a terrific cake! Hope you enjoyed it!

  37. Jo says:

    Hi Jude, great job and I’m sure it’s a change for you from bread baking and the rest. And what do you mean by “back breaking”! LOL

  38. CookiePie says:

    Lovely cake! I bet the almond meal gave it a nice flavor and texture too. Well done!

  39. Fruittart says:

    Your cake looks great! You must have had a dark amber to get such a rich color in the cake and frosting — gorgeous!

  40. Vera says:

    Jude, the cake looks great! Hot water-dipped and wiped dry spatula really helps to smooth the frosting :)

  41. Joelen says:

    Jude – your cake looks great! The almond meal is a great idea for additional flavor and texture :)

  42. clumbsycookie says:

    Ahahah, nice idea to hide the frosting with almond meal! It looks fine plus the almond with the caramel must have been yummy! Your cake turned out so golden!

  43. Andreia says:

    Congratulations on your cake. I’m sure it’s very tasty and it looks lovely.

  44. alana says:

    I hear you on the backbreaking, but I think in your case, it was worth it. I think your photos are great.

  45. Heather Peskin says:

    Great presentation – I love the cake and the way you have given the instructions, with options to level and other fine details.

  46. plutosangel says:

    Looks Lovely! Almond flour hmm interesting.. worth a try.

  47. Miri says:

    Your cake looks marvelous, Jude! Even without the almond meal :)

  48. Cheryl says:

    I love the Almond Meal Idea, it looks amazing.

  49. Manggy says:

    Surely you are fishing, Jude… The cake looks wonderful.

  50. robin // caviar and codfish says:

    Love the addition of almond meal – I’ll flip for almonds in anything.

    I’m sensing that a lot of people had trouble with the icing, though yours did look fine without the decoration.

  51. marika @ madcap says:

    I think your cake looks absolutely delicious…and I love the dusting of almond meal!

  52. hanne says:

    I’m SO not a cake decorator, so I feel your pain. I always feel so embarassed of my cake after seeing all the gorgeous things other DBers come up with. On that note, though, I’m jealous of your cake too. The colour is beautiful, and I think the almonds make it look rustically elegant.

  53. Carolyn Jung says:

    Wow, this looks beyond decadent! I love to bake, but I admit that frosted layer cakes are something I don’t make too often at all these days. I don’t think I have the patience like you do. Watching your sweet accomplishment is more than inspiring.

  54. Soma says:

    Jude i love the almond meal for whatever reason it may be.:-)

  55. Rebecca says:

    I think you did a great job frosting your cake, even before you added the almond meal. It looks delicious–nice and brown, like your caramel was perfect. Good job!

  56. Zoë François says:

    I think the almond meal on top was genius! I am definitely stealing this idea from you!!! ;)

  57. cindy says:

    there’s something about a single layer cake that is so inviting. and great cover up!

  58. Penny says:

    Your cake looks great! I must remember the almond meal next time.

  59. Lorraine E says:

    You did a fantastic job and I absolutely love your decorating. Simple and elegant!

  60. maris says:

    This looks amazing…you had me at Caramelized Butter Frosting!

  61. Jacque says:

    Aaaah, your cake looks fantastic. I think the real work is in not letting the world see all of the mistakes, or making the mistakes seem like you meant for them to be that way.

    LOL, as a sometimes cake decorator I abhor Cake Wrecks… it seems like an adult version of school yard bullying to me. I have my share of misspelled words on cakes, that’s for sure. Anyway, I got off on a tangent there… nice work!

  62. Hannah says:

    Aw, I think it looks delicious with or without the almond meal- Although that is a great idea for hiding flaws (not that you had any!)

  63. Esi says:

    I have no skills when it comes to spreading icing or decorating cakes so I think yours looks lovely! This cake was definitely a lot of work!

  64. Natalie says:

    The texture of your cake looks to die for, I love how youve done the step by step instructions of frosting it!! Excellent job and about the cake I dnt think its for wedding cakes, I think its just one biggggg cake tin a friend of mine who was moving and doesnt really bake gave it to me…who would say no heeh?!

  65. Faery says:

    I love the golden color of your cake and I think it is an awesome cake

  66. yasmeen says:

    The almond flour dusting is definitely the most creative touch to the cake:)

  67. claire says:

    Well, the almond meal makes for a pretty presentation! Great job!

  68. Elizabeth - Cake or Death? says:

    Oh, I love the almond meal on top! At first I thought it was a mixture of cocoa and powdered sugar, it has that awesome speckled black and white thing going. And I agree–the frosting was super hard to smooth out. Way to get two birds with one almond-mealed stone!

  69. bex says:

    The almond flour is a great idea. It looks awesome. I wouldn’t have thought of that.

  70. Brianna says:

    Very Beautiful and elegant Cake. I love the addition of the almond flour.

  71. Erik says:

    Your cake looks wonderful – the almond meal is a nice touch. Well done.

  72. Jaime says:

    you got such a beautiful caramel color to your cake! don’t worry about the frosting – i can’t frost a cake for the life of me, either! (and your frosting job looks just fine!)

  73. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    ;) wish I’d thought to use almond meal to hide my frosting! That is an excellent idea.
    Making cake is not a piece of cake.

  74. Y says:

    Your cake looks great! I thought you’d dusted with toasted coconut, at first.

  75. Dolores says:

    Nutritional value! There’s a concept! :)

    Thanks for baking with us this month.

  76. Joanna says:

    Hey there food-buzz spatula buddy :) Your cake looks so rich and creamy…mmmm. I love that you dusted your cake with almond flour; so smart and simple, and perfect!!

  77. Duncan | Syrup&Tang says:

    Be proud of your icing! No make-up. No foundation. Show the wrinkles! It’ll still taste nice:))

  78. Christine says:

    The cake looks great. My, cake baking sounds so dangerous – heat proof gloves needed! What about safety goggles?

  79. KT says:

    Lovely cake – thanks for braving the backache to bring us the instructions. Methinks I will attempt this recipe this weekend.


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