This was the perfect cake for my man’s birthday last year. Not too sweet and made with whiskey. What’s fun about this recipe is that it’s entirely adaptable. Replace the salted caramel with orange juice and zest and you have a fantastic bright citrus cake; add jam and whipped cream to the middle layer of frosting and you have a tea cake. This is definitely a recipe that begs for reinvention again and again.
For 1 double layer 9-inch cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 recipe Bourbon Caramel Frosting (recipe below)
1 cup salted caramel sauce (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 F with rack in center of oven. Grease two 9-inch x 2 inch cake pans. Then line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper, then grease the paper.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, (or with a hand mixer) beat the butter until soft and creamy and gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in center.
Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans, for about 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto a greased rack. Remove the parchment or wax paper and re-invert cakes so that tops are right side up. Cool completely before frosting.
Take one layer of cake and add half of the frosting, smoothing it out. Drizzle with extra caramel sauce. Sandwich the other layer of cake on top. Smooth the cream cheese frosting on the top layer, and sprinkle with remaining caramel sauce.
INGREDIENTS (BOURBON CARAMEL FROSTING)
16 ounces cream cheese, softened and totally room temperature
2 cups unsalted butter, softened and totally room temperature
pinch kosher salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup salted caramel
3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon
4 cups powdered sugar
Cream the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment until light and a little fluffy, for 1-2 minutes, or until combined. Careful not to over-beat! Add the pinch of salt, vanilla extract, bourbon, and caramel and beat until combined. Turn the mixer to low and add the powdered sugar.
INGREDIENTS (SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE)
Makes 2 cups
1 cup white sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the caramel sauce, heat the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, until the sugar turns golden. Stir until all of the sugar is dissolved and just starting to turn a lovely amber color.
Turn heat to low, add the butter, and stir to combine. Careful, it’ll foam up. Then add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and salt stirring to combine. You’ll cook the sauce for about 5-10 minutes, until it comes together. It’ll take quite a bit of stirring!
Pour the caramel into a glass jar, let it come to room temperature, and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Pour over everything and anything!