Southern Caramel Cake Recipe

Southern Caramel Cake from #cake #recipe #desserts #caramel

Southern Caramel Cake is one of those desserts that is a true labor of love. So rich and decadant, it’s a cake that surely takes any special occasion to a whole new level and is by far one of my family’s favorite cakes.


We celebrated two birthdays in my family this past weekend – Mama’s and my husband’s. I asked each of them what kind of cake they would like for their birthday and both of them replied, “Caramel Cake!” Any cake that is requested by multiple people in a family the size of mine for their birthday is definitely a cake to make sure you get just right.

It’s a cake to take pride in, even though mine is a far cry from decorator perfect. Right down to the smudges on the rim of the cake plate. You can surely tell it’s homemade can’t you?

Here’s how I make it.


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Even though professional bakers and cooks say to use unsalted butter, I stick with my Grandmother’s instructions instead and use salted butter. It’s just better that way in my book.



Cream your butter until it is fluffy and then add in your sugar. Cream the two together until they are nice and .. well, creamy.



Add in your eggs one at a time and cream them into your butter and sugar mixture.



Now add in your flour and buttermilk alternately. Start with your flour.


Then buttermilk and the rest of your flour.



Add in your vanilla, give it a quick mix.



Pour your cake batter into three prepared cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees.



Remove from the oven and turn cake out of cake pans onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely.

This is when you’ll have time to make your caramel icing.

I’ve previously posted the recipe for Southern Caramel Icing that I use. I do have a slight update though. After I posted my recipe, my Mama told me that if Grandmother had had a big heavy duty mixer, she bet she’d have used it. Thanks for the idea on that Mama. I’m a converted woman!

Once your icing has reached the soft ball stage, pour it into your mixer bowl and whip away until it reaches a point where it holds when you stop the mixer. Basically, if you were to stick your finger in the icing for a taste, someone would be able to tell that you stuck your finger in there. {Not that that is how I test mine or anything!}



Another example is that it looks like this.



Stack, spread and stack and spread again.



And then spread it nice and thick all over.

Then, think about how much I need to take a course in how to decorate a cake.

Make this cake soon for someone you love, to celebrate something special, or just because. You won’t be sorry.



4.7 from 25 reviews
Southern Caramel Cake Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A traditional Southern Caramel Cake recipe.
Serves: 12
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour, self-rising
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Southern Caramel Icing Recipe, double the recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 3 9-inch cake pans.
  3. Cream butter til fluffy and then add sugar and cream for about 8 more minutes.
  4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and cream after each.
  5. Add flour and buttermilk, alternately, beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Add vanilla and beat well.
  7. Divide among pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until set.
  8. Turn out of pans onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
  9. Prepare Southern Caramel Icing as cakes are cooling then ice cake.


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  1. 147

    Melissa says

    I made this cake over the weekend and it is perfect! I didn’t have any buttermilk so I used 2% milk with white vinegar and both the cake and the icing were incredible! When I mixed the ingredients for the icing, I truly thought there was no way it would become the decadent confection pictured on your site, but I walked away from it once it came to a boil and I had turned it down, and came back to a rich, caramel syrup that beat up to perfection. Thanks so much!!

  2. 151

    Sweta says

    Hi, we are vegetarians and do not consume eggs. Could you please help suggest substitutes for the egg in this recipe? Thanks!

  3. 152

    Jackie says

    I made this cake today and the frosting didn’t quite turn out right, so I’m hoping you can give me some pointers. I made sure to cook it to soft-ball stage (using the cold-water test), then dumped it in my KitchenAid and whipped it until my finger made an imprint. I’m not sure if I whipped it too long or not long enough because when I tried to put it on the cake it didn’t spread at all. It was like playdoh consistency. I tried rolling it out with my rolling pin and that didn’t work either, it stuck to my wax paper and just didn’t look nice. It’s still delicious so I’m still bringing it to my church activity tomorrow, but any ideas on how to make the frosting actually spreadable so that next time I make it it won’t look so ugly? Thanks!

    • 153


      Hi Jackie,
      It does sound like it whipped just a little bit too long. It can happen quickly. One minute you think it will never reach that stage and then the next it is past where it should have been. It can be a real pain, I know!

      One thing that I’ve noticed is that newer models of stand mixers seem to be more powerful than older models. If that’s the case for you, maybe back down on the speed of your mixer a bit so that it reaches the proper stage a bit more slowly. I hope that helps!

      I know your friends at your church activity will love you for bringing that to them though! xo

      • 154

        Jackie says

        So I think the original problem was actually that I had cooked it too long, so I made some more frosting this morning and made sure that it was in a very soft soft-ball stage before whipping it, but I think I also whipped it for too long again because it came out very hard to spread. Do you think it would help if I cook it even less time, or do you think the problem is mostly whipping it for too long? Also, do you keep your caramel cake in the fridge after you frost it or do you leave it out in room temperature? PS Everyone at the activity did love it, and I was super excited that a generous amount of crumbs were left on the platter for me to eat!

        • 155

          Linda says

          Why don’t you try beating it by hand, like the original recipe suggested. Those kitchen aid mixers are powerful. By hand you can tell what is going on with your frosting.

  4. 156

    Christina Polek says

    Hi – so what is the flavor of the cake? I was expecting it to be a caramel cake, but it seems more like a butter yellow cake. Is that right?

    Also – can I halve the recipe & bake in 2 cake pans (shorten the time a bit because they’ll be thinner) & make a single batch of the caramel icing? It’s just a two of us, and I’d rather not have all the extra lying around :)

    Thanks for responding!!

  5. 157

    Patty says

    The cake is awesome but I still need to practice mastering the technique on the icing. It gets too dark when it’s beating. The flavor is there but it’s not perfect yet.

  6. 162

    Tracey says

    Thanks for the great recipe, can’t wait to try it but I have a quick question. I live in Australia & would like to know what is Crisco, it’s in the icing & I don’t know what an alternative for it would be in Aus. Thanks

    • 164


      Hi Diana,
      Once your email is entered, it should send you an email for you to confirm that you would like to subscribe to receive the emails. Once you click to approve to receive the emails, you are all set! Let me know if you still have problems with it! xo


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