Southern Caramel Cake. It’s just hard to beat it. It is one of my family’s all-time favorite cakes – especially for holidays, birthdays and major celebrations.

You can just count on it appearing to make those special occasions even more special.

Memorable even.

It’s odd to put that much significance on a cake, but you know, that’s just the way it goes around my house.

Southern Caramel Cake
my family’s original Southern Caramel Cake Recipe

I’ve talked about this cake before and how much the recipe means to my family.

The original cake will forever be a family-favorite.

Anything used for my baby’s first birthday cake has to be extra special. Don’t you think?

Oh my goodness. Just seeing that photo makes my heart melt.

Where has the time gone?

But thankfully, we weren’t celebrating my baby’s birthday this past weekend. I’m not exactly ready for him to be 11 yet. It was my Mama’s turn.

So, since my Mama has given the world to me, I thought it was only fitting that I make her very favorite cake for her on her birthday. But, I did something we’ve never done in my family. I changed the recipe!


I did. I really did.

And I wasn’t struck by lightening.

I went to bed and slept well.

I woke up and pinched myself because I hadn’t gone to…. well, you get the picture.

Before I go on. You really can’t go wrong with the original Southern Caramel Cake recipe that I’ve shared and made a thousand and one times. It’s perfect. No kidding. Perfect.

But, if you want to have a little fun with this cake and change things up a bit, you might just fall in love with this version, too.

So. Here’s what I did.

I made the cake recipe and the frosting recipe both just a touch lighter.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Cake

And I mean lighter as in texture, not as in calories. Just to be clear.

Just look at that texture!


Let me just say, no one refused a piece.

And the birthday girl loved it.

Please note that this recipe makes a three layer, 9-inch cake. I used the batter from one of the layers to make my Little Buddy some cupcakes. He couldn’t wait.

Here’s the recipe for my Butter Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting that I think you should make for your next special occasion.

Like a birthday, anniversary, engagement, shower, or just because it’s Wednesday.

That’ll do, too.

Butter Cake with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe

4.91 from 31 votes
Southern Caramel Cake is always a favorite. This version with Salted Caramel Buttercream is out of this world!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 24


Butter Cake Recipe

  • 3 cups (360 g) flour, all-purpose
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • pinch (0.4 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (226 g) softened butter, 2 sticks
  • 2 cups (396 g) sugar
  • 4 (200 g) eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup (227 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons (9.4 g) vanilla extract

Salted Buttercream Frosting Recipe

    First Stage

    • 2 cups (396 g) sugar
    • 1 cup (227 g) buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup (92 g) shortening
    • 1/2 cup (113 g) butter
    • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda

    Second Stage

    • 1/2 cup (113 g) butter
    • 1/2 teaspoon (3.25 g) sea salt
    • 2 cups (227 g) confectioner’s sugar


    Butter Cake Recipe

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Prepare 3 9-inch cake pans with shortening and flour.
    • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk in a large bowl. Set aside.
    • Cream butter until fluffy and then add sugar. Cream together for about 8 more minutes.
    • Add eggs, 1 at a time, and cream together after each.
    • Add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Combine each addition of flour and then turn mixer on high to add air into the batter.
    • Add vanilla and beat well. Turn mixer on high once vanilla has been incorporated for about 10 seconds to lighten batter.
    • Divide among pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until set. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
    • Turn out of pans onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

    Salted Caramel Buttercream Recipe

    • Add all ingredients from the first stage of the frosting recipe in a 3-4 quart pot. Stir ingredients with a wooden spoon as cooking over medium-low heat.
    • Cook to softball stage (235-245 degrees on a candy thermometer as well as using the cold water test).
    • Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whip attachment, whip the caramel until it has cooled enough to touch lightly.
    • Add the butter and salt from the second stage of the frosting recipe to the mixing bowl and whip.
    • Add confectioner’s sugar in 1/2 cup increments, stopping after each to scrape sides of mixing bowl. Turn mixer onto high for about 10 seconds after each addition to incorporate air into the frosting.
    • Adjust the amount of confectioner's sugar to result in a frosting that will hold shape.
    • Frost cake and store on a cake plate covered with a dome or an airtight container.
    • Best served within 1-3 days.


    For easier frosting of cake, wrap tightly in parchment and aluminum foil and freeze overnight. Brush the cake with a pastry brush to remove loose crumbs and then frost the cake with a light layer of frosting to create a crumb coating. Then, frost the cake as normal.


    Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 545IU | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Robyn xo

    Welcome to Add A Pinch

    About Robyn

    Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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    Recipe Review


    1. 5 stars
      Just finished this cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday– it is absolutely delicious, fluffy, and decadent!

    2. 5 stars
      Made this for my daughters birthday at her request. I must admit I had never made anything like this. The directions were clesr and easy to follow. The cake turned out perfect and was a big hit! Thanks!

    3. 5 stars
      I’ve made this cake once so far and it turned out great. (I haven’t attempted the frosting though, I just did a regular frosting). I liked this recipe because it didn’t really require shortening. I love how you gave the extra tips of beating on high in between additions. I felt like that really made a difference!  I was just curious why those steps aren’t mentioned in your other cakes?  Other cake recipes also are specific not to overmix so I was just wondering the difference here. I enjoy learning the “why” behind the steps so I can improve my skills. Thanks!!

      1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Anna! I have several cake recipes and they have different ingredients, different textures, etc. Some are mixed with a lighter touch and others may be mixed at higher speeds to add air into the batter, etc. Many of my cakes are family recipes I’ve made through the years or are cake recipes I’ve developed. I test each of the recipes before publishing here on the blog and my wording can sometimes be a bit different as well. Hope this helps!
        Thanks! xo

    4. 5 stars
      This is the most amazing recipe.  My husband requests it every year since I found your site a couple years ago!  Making it tonight, in fact, for his birthday tomorrow!!! Thank you for helping us make great memories!

      1. I’m so excited this is a special part of your family memories, Dawn! Happy birthday to your husband! Enjoy! Thanks so much! xo

    5. 5 stars
      This is my second attempt to make this cake and frosting. The first time, if I remember correctly, turned out great and came together very well. This second time, I made the cake and frosting for my own birthday. The cake did better than your other cakes for me – they don’t rise in the middle of the cake. This cake in 3 8-inch pans rose and didn’t sink as badly.

      But I’m more concerned about the frosting this time. I kept constant agitation while the sugar and buttermilk cooked to softball stage. When I put it in the mixer and whipped it, it just pushed out to the bowl edges, no matter how many times I scraped the sides. When it was cool enough to touch (at least I thought it was cool enough) I add the butter, but it melted almost immediately. When I added the powdered sugar, I ended up with lumps and didn’t stick together at all. It still tasted great, so I just layered my cakes with lumpy frosting and added the rest to the top.

      Any suggestions on where I went wrong? Thanks.

    6. 5 stars
      This is by far, the best cake I have Ever made. Whipping the batter for so long was the key, it was light, fluffy and oh SO moist and gooey all at the same time! This cake has made my famous in my family. THANK YOU for sharing!!!!!!!!

    7. Just curious… how does this compare with your White Cake… the “best” one… since they are both technically white/vanilla cakes? They both use the same amount of butter, but does this one taste more buttery?

      I’m going to try them both this weekend!


    8. I made this yesterday. It was amazing! One question….it says to use 3 9″ pans…where does the 3rd one go? The picture shows 2?

    9. 5 stars
      Followed your recipe to a “T”, and it is a real winner! I will be bringing it to Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it turned out! Thank you so much for sharing it!