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This Southern Caramel Cake Recipe is a traditional caramel cake made from an heirloom family recipe. It’s delicious topped with homemade caramel icing!

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 decadent, 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.

How to Make Southern Caramel Cake

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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. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.

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.

4.88 from 39 votes

Southern Caramel Cake Recipe

Dessert 1 hr 10 mins

Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 24
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
A traditional Southern Caramel Cake recipe.



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare 3 9-inch cake pans.
  • Cream butter til fluffy and then add sugar and cream for about 8 more minutes.
  • Add eggs, 1 at a time, and cream after each.
  • Add flour and buttermilk, alternately, beginning and ending with flour.
  • Add vanilla and beat well.
  • Divide among pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until set.
  • Turn out of pans onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
  • Prepare Southern Caramel Icing as cakes are cooling then ice cake.

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Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Recipe Review


  1. I just saw this recipe and I can’t wait to try it. I have a few questions though. #1 What is your recipe for the icing?
    #2 Do you grease the pans and if so do you grease just bottom or both bottom of pan and sides?
    #3 Finally if you grease the pans do you lightly flour the pan?

    1. Jeannie, click on the underlined words Southern Caramel Icing Recipe in the ingredients list and it will take you to the icing recipe. I butter and flour the sides and bottom of my cake pans. Hope this helps.

  2. Robyn I made your Southern Caramel cake and Southern Caramel icing and both turned out perfect! I added a teaspoon of Rum extract to the cake which offers a unique taste. I live in Kentucky but grew up in Georgia. This cake reminds me of my mom’s from years back. Thank you!

  3. Dear Robyn,
    I am making your cake today; August 17,2022 for my sister’s birthday. However, one slight mistake in your recipe. It mentions add sugar and cream in the instructions. It does not say what kind of cream? Or does your recipe mean for us to stir it with the mixer? Anyway, perhaps I am too literal and I added the buttermilk too early; so did not read entire recipe. By cream, I was thinking maybe she meant; sour cream. So, I added half a cup of sour cream too.
    I will see how this recipe turns out given it has a lot of moisture and perhaps not enough flour. Oh dear, I was confused.

    1. Kathy, cream is a common baking term used in this recipe for mixing butter until it is fluffy and then mixing the butter and sugar for 8 minutes after adding the sugar so the butter and sugar are mixed well and fluffy. I’m not sure how the cake will turn out after sour cream was added. All ingredients needed in this recipe were included in the ingredients list.

  4. Hi! I made this cake Today lol. But I added dulce de leche to my cake batter beyond needed that caramel “cake” flavor. How ever it can out pretty good a bit dense but stackable like I need it. It’s for my husband birthday tomorrow and it’s a surprise party all in one! He has no idea!! Great recipe thanks for sharing.

    1. Yetevia, I haven’t tried adding dulce de leche to the cake batter. Thanks for the tip and I hope your husband had a very happy birthday.

  5. 5 stars
    I used the cake recipe and it was absolutely delicious. The only change I made was vanilla bean paste instead of extract. Yum! Thanks for sharing. A keeper!!!

  6. I thought I had a fail until it wasn’t… I wish I could share a pic but it’s amazing. My caramel icing solidified enough to shape it all up

    1. Cheryl, you can store the cake covered at room temperature for a couple of days. You can freeze the layers. Just allow to cool completely per the recipe instructions and wrap each layer in freezer wrap and store in an airtight container. When ready to frost the cake, allow it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure it’s thawed completely before you frost it.
      I would not freeze it with the caramel icing on it.

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