Light and Butter caked sweetly forsted with a burnt caramel icing.I’ll be honest, this icing is a bear. That’s why caramel cakes are so special. A couple of helpful hints: when you are ready to frost the cake, place the bowl of icing in a bowl of warm water to keep it loose and fluid. Also, if it starts to set too firmly, you may need to add warm heavy cream to loosen it. That, holding your tongue right, and practice are the keys to a successful caramel frosting.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 Cup cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
  • 3 Cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Cup sugar
  • 4 Large eggs, at room temperature, well beaten
  • 1 Cup whole milk
  • 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Burnt Caramel Icing

  • 2 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 Cup heavy cream, plus more if needed to loosen
  • 2 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Teaspoon fine sea salt

Preparation

Cake

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with waxed or parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper. Sift together the flour and the baking powder.

Step 2:

In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients in three portions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour into the prepared pans.

Step 3:

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean and the cakes start pulling away from the sides of the pans, about 25 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Invert onto the rack to cool completely.

Step 4:

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard cake round. Spread with the still-warm frosting. Repeat with remaining layers, placing the final layer bottom side up. Working quickly, use a small offset spatula to spread the icing gently around the cake. Let stand for 2 hours to allow the icing to set before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Burnt Caramel Icing

Step 1:

In a heavy cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the sugar over medium-high heat. Stir until dissolved, then do not stir again; simply shake the pan occasionally until the mixture reaches the caramel stage 320°F to 335°F on a candy thermometer.

Step 2:

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups sugar, the butter, and the cream Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Step 3:

When the sugar reaches the caramel stage, immediately pour it into the cream mixture and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring once or twice, until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, 232°F to 240°F. Remove from the heat; add the vanilla and salt and stir to combine. Place on a rack and set aside until just cool enough to touch, 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 4:

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until creamy, 5 to 7 minutes.