Caramel Cake Recipe Begins With a Cake Mix

by Alli

My two favorite cakes are red velvet and caramel. When I’m faced with a choice, I just can’t choose one over the other so I have a small slice of each. Life is too short to pass on my favorite cakes. Thankfully, this caramel cake recipe is easy to make. 

Caramel Cake Recipe

When my family gathers for our annual reunion, I can always count on my aunt Jean’s Red Velvet cake. It’s the star of the dessert table. My mom’s cousin always brings a homemade from-scratch caramel cake. It’s also divine.

I keep saying I’m going to get that caramel cake recipe but haven’t succeeded yet. She said she would mail it to me. As soon as I receive it, I’m going to share it. 

Until then, I have my own easy caramel cake recipe. I’ll admit. I cheated. I’m using a cake mix for this one. I can also hear my southern ancestors turning over in their grave. They don’t use cake mixes. Oh, well. 

Caramel Cake on Serving Platter

There’s nothing wrong with getting a little help from a cake mix. I just gussy it up a little (that’s southern speak for dressing it up). Whenever I use the words gussy up, I think about grandma so that’s why I say it all the time. 

I learned a long time ago that I could “gussy up” a cake mix by adding a teaspoon of vanilla. I also add extra eggs and sour cream. 

Easy Caramel Cake

This cake begins with a butter golden cake mix. I use Duncan Hines for this recipe.

In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, sugar, water, eggs, and vanilla on low until blended. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes. Pour into three greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pan and cool completely on a wire rack. 

Cake Layers Cooling on a Rack

Caramel Icing

When I was younger, I was intimidated by the very thought of making caramel frosting. I soon found out that it’s not hard at all. There are just a few steps that must be followed exactly in order for the frosting to get to the correct spreading consistency.

Combine 2-1/2 cups sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a large, heavy saucepan.

Caramel Icing Ingredients

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.

Bring icing ingredients to a boil.

Meanwhile, brown 1/2 cup sugar in a small, heavy skillet. (I use a non-stick skillet and actually stir the sugar while I’m stirring the milk/sugar/butter mixture.)

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts and the syrup is light, golden brown. This takes about 3 minutes and it may have a few clumps. That’s fine.

Browning Sugar in a Skillet

Add the sugar to the milk mixture, stirring constantly. When the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (230º on a candy thermometer), remove from the heat.

Beat with an electric mixer until the mixture reaches spreading consistency. This may take 10-12 minutes. It might look like it’s not going to thicken up enough to spread on the cake. It will. Just keep on beating.

Once it’s thick enough to spread, stop beating. Spread quickly over the cooled cake layers. 

Iced Caramel Cake

Easy Caramel Cake

Caramel Cake Recipe

This easy caramel cake is so good! You'd never guess it starts with a cake mix. The caramel icing takes this cake to another level. No southern reunion is complete without a caramel cake.

Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Duncan Hines Butter Golden Cake Mix
  • 1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Icing

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, 1/4 cup sugar, water and eggs together on low with an electric mixer until incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat for two minutes.
  3. Pour mixture evenly into the three cake pans.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely and frost with caramel icing.

Caramel Icing

Combine 2-1/2 cups sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, brown 1/2 cup sugar in a small, heavy skillet. I use a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar melts and the syrup is light, golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Add the sugar to the milk mixture, stirring constantly. When the mixture reaches the soft ball stage (230º on a candy thermometer), remove from the heat. Beat with an electric mixer until the mixture reaches spreading consistency (up to 10-12 minutes).

Spread quickly over the cooled cake layers.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 618Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 110mgSodium 489mgCarbohydrates 92gFiber 1gSugar 75gProtein 5g

Did you make this recipe?

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How to Store a Caramel Cake

A cake with a high sugar content cooked icing, like this caramel cake, can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.  

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