A delicately spiced spin on a Southern classic, this might be my favorite fall cake ever. Rich, cardamon-infused caramel spread atop a single layer of yellow cake. Simultaneously simple and lush.
Caramel cake has long been celebrated here in the southern states – it makes appearances at showers, weddings, and teas year round. I believe it’s greatly loved because of the sense of comfort it provides. Deeply flavored caramel frosting provides the perfect complement to light, familiar yellow cake. I wanted to explore the toasty notes of caramel even further by pairing it with cardamon- and the result is fantastic! What you get is a warm, smoky, and slightly citrus caramel frosting profile that is perfectly matched with the more subtle cake layer.
A Caramel Crisis
While I love a fabulously frosted layer cake, I stuck to one layer for this recipe. Why? There’s simply no need for that many servings/ level of extravagance unless you have lots of guests. This cardamon caramel cake gives you 8 very healthy slices. For occasions that call for more, feel free to double the recipe- it will yield two 9 inch layers.
So, my first try with the caramel was a disaster. I was staring down at a saucepan full of rock candy and I wanted to scream. My second attempt was also a colossal failure, but I persevered because it’s my job to screw up so y’all can succeed. The key is to use a wet caramel method: adding water and sugar to the pan and heating until it’s amber in color. Once your mixture begins to boil, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry/ basting brush. This will help to prevent crystallization.
I hope y’all come to love this cake as much as I loved developing the recipe. Be sure to rate the recipe if you try it, and stay up to date with all my bakes on Instagram. Fall is officially in the air and I have so many recipes to share!
Cardamon Caramel Cake
- heavy saucepan
- mixer ( hand or stand)
- pastry/ basting brush
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter divided
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tsp ground cardamon
- Preheat oven to 365°. In mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one a time, beating well after each addition. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to cream mixture alternately with milk. Mix well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour batter into parchment- lined 9 inch cake pan and bake for 22-27 minutes at 365 or until pick in center emerges clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to parchment lined cooling rack.
- Add granulated sugar and water to a heavy saucepan, then put on medium-high heat. Gently stir only one time until boiling begins ( swirl occasionally). When the sugar has melted and begins to create larger bubbles, brush down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush.
- When mixture turns a medium amber color (usually 8-10 minutes), immediately remove from heat and add 4 tablespoons butter and heavy cream. Continue to whisk vigorously until mixture ceases bubbling and components are well incorporated. After 1-2 minutes of cooling, add remaining butter, powdered sugar, and cardamon.
- Chill frosting for at least 20 minutes, then spread evenly on top of fully cooled cake.
- If you don’t have cake flour, make your own! 1 cup cake flour=1 cup AP flour with 2 tbsp removed. Replace with 2 tbsp cornstarch.