If you grew up or have spent any time in the south, this caramel cake will look familiar to you – and will probably have you drooling if it’s left in your presence. A true southern-style caramel cake is made up of a moist, lightly sweetened yellow cake that tastes light and fluffy, but that really acts as more of a vehicle for getting the rich, delicious caramel icing into your mouth as quickly as possible. (If some of the caramel icing doesn’t even make it onto the cake, we understand, it’s truly very difficult to resist sneaking some before it even gets close to the cake.)
We digress. So, we all understand the two main counterparts here, right? Lovely yellow cake and silky smooth caramel icing. The first comes together easily, just as you would make any cake, starting with creaming the shortening and sugar together, then mixing in the eggs and alternating between adding the dry ingredients and milk. Easy-breezy.
Next comes the task of making the frosting. Now, some will argue that it’s not an authentic southern caramel cake (hence, “southern-style”) unless you spend (literal) hours making the icing over the stove, but that’s definitely not our kind of baking/dessert making. Our icing comes together in under 15 minutes, so once your cake is cooled you can pour it over and let it drip over the sides until it’s coated to your liking.
A word to the wise: caramel can be a bit finicky, so consider your options when frosting this bad boy. If your icing is on the thinner side it’ll drizzle nicely over the surface of the cake; if it’s on the thicker side, it might need a little help from you. For those of you wanting a perfectly glassy-topped cake, let the icing settle where it settles and don’t touch it. If you’re ok with a slightly more rustic look, feel free to use a rubber or offset spatula to smooth everything out, making sure the sides are evenly coated.
Once you’ve followed these steps, you’ll have an indulgent, decadent cake that’ll bring back memories of all your time spent in the south…and if you haven’t been to the south and tried this cake already, you’ll be thrilled to know about it now and surely plotting the next opportunity for you to make it. Just watch, everyone will go nuts for this!
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