My Favorite Cake. Period.

I use the word “favorite” too often. But this time I think I mean it. This cake is the cake I make for myself. I don’t share it. I don’t bring it to work. I don’t even let Bryan have a slice unless he begs or I am feeling particularly enamored with him. It is everything I could want in a sweet. A moist buttermilk cake with a healthy crumb topped with a creamy caramel glaze. The cake is just the right amount of sweet. I’ve made this so many times and each time I fall in love with it all over again.

Of course even as I type this I am thinking of other favorite cakes, which I will eventually get around to sharing— but this is the most important. Make it for yourself and don’t share it with anyone.

GREEN CITY MARKET REMINDER: If you’re in Chicago, don’t forget that the Green City Market is still up and running all winter long! Every other Saturday indoors at the Nature Museum. Lots of great vendors and plenty of chef demonstrations. Recent purchases include: yukon gold potatoes, pecans!, corn meal, goat cheese that looks like a rock!, honey infused with chili, and eggs, eggs, eggs! Get out there and support your farmers and food makers and make a political statement: we want organic local food all year! We care where our food comes from!

Caramel Cake (Gourmet, January 2008)

Cake:

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Caramel Glaze:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line bottom with a square of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, flip cake so it is right-side up and then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make glaze:
Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until glaze registers 210 to 212°F on thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes, then stir in vanilla.

Put rack with cake in a shallow baking pan and pour hot glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down sides. Cool until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

*** Confession time: I don’t sift the flour first. Instead, I just sift 2 cups of cake flour and call it a day. Bad, I know. But I feel like the lack of sifting is made up for by the 2 tablespoons of flour I am omitting, right?

148 comments to “My Favorite Cake. Period.”

  1. Karin's Mom says:

    February 11th, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Tim,
    Why do you use unsalted butter in most recipes? Is using unsalted butter a health choice or does unsalted butter have a cooking purpose?

  2. Hey Karin’s Mom: Recipes call for unsalted butter as a way of controlling salt content. Since salted butters all contain different amounts of salt it would be impossible to predict final results. Recipes would not be as accurately duplicated. By using unsalted butter and adding salt yourself you are more likely to replicate what the recipe’s creator had in mind. You can still use salted butter for a recipe like this, you would just reduce the additional salt you are adding to the recipe. In this recipe I would probably just add a pinch of salt. Hope that helps!

  3. oooh, this is calling my name.

  4. I am now sort of angry with you for not bringing this to work. Note to self: Make Tim Enamored With Me.

  5. Ooh that cake looks good and I’m not a cake person!

    Wish we had a good year round market! That’s one of the only reasons I wish I lived somewhere like CA or FL instead of NM! Even though I kill my basil plant every year, considering a small garden for the fresh vegs. Just have to remember to water!

  6. The cake looks grand. I just don’t get how you make it consistently with such vague quantities. F’rinstance:
    2 cups + 2 tblsp flour – what does that weigh?
    1 cup sugar – weight? brown? white? granulated? castor?
    1 stick butter – Stick? lb? oz? kilo? gram?
    1 cup buttermilk – Oh, you measure liquids AND solids by volume huh? fl.oz? cls?
    Oh, and does a cup of ‘heavy’ cream weigh as much as a cup of ‘light’ corn syrup?
    Jeez!
    America and Britain – two nations separated by a common language.

  7. Sounds really yummy. Can you give an approx measure of a “stick of butter” as I’m from SA and butter not sold in the same measurements. Thanks in anticipation.

  8. Oh, of course you guys are right that the US is in a crazy measurement world of their own. I added some additional info up above, but you are absolutely right that we should be weighing! Also, I tend to use these two tools, when I am having the opposite problem:
    http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2006/09/conversions_equivalents.php
    http://smittenkitchen.com/cooking-conversions/

  9. oh my god.

  10. Your pictures are incredible! That caramel glaze looks so smooth and satisfying. I can’t wait to try this out, I’m a huge fan of desserts sans chocolate. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Christina Weigel says:

    February 12th, 2009 at 11:16 am

    I just stumbled (literally) upon your website and it is now my favorite website. It makes me want to cry just looking at your pictures.

  12. Oh, Christina, don’t cry! Bake a cake instead. Thanks for the nice message and welcome.

  13. That looks good. Like really good.

  14. He IS uncharacteristically stingy with this one. I’d be more understanding if it weren’t also one of my favorites. Enamorizers activate!

  15. Gaz,
    Generally in the USA, if one does not specify which sugar, they mean the white granulated sugar.
    One cup in the USA is a volume (approximately 250mL), not a weight. So really it is accurate for fluids to be measured this way, but solids would not be perfectly consistent. Generally using a cup for solids is good enough though, as you do not need to be ultra accurate to get a consistent enough cake id you always use ingredients with the same qualities. ie, if sugar always weights the same for a constant volume, then you can just scoop it up with your cup measurement and be sure you have the same amount as the last time.
    Also, in the USA a stick of butter is standardized to 4oz. or 1/2 cup of butter.

  16. ooo just looking up USA cup measurements, and they customarily define it by 1/2 a pint (~237mL), or legally 240mL on food products, while Canada and Australia/NewZealand always use 250mL when referring to a cup of something.

  17. Someone has submitted this page to StumbleUpon, and I’m so grateful for it.
    The glaze looks amazing. No, the whole cake looks amazing. I can just imagine it melting in my mouth. Mmmmmm….

  18. jjabraham, I agree with everything except “Generally using a cup for solids is good enough though, as you do not need to be ultra accurate to get a consistent enough cake”…it’s not the ingredients that are a problem, it has to do with the environment. If it’s really humid out, a cup of flour may be much heavier than a cup of flour on a dry day. This is mostly a problem when making large quantities of a recipe, but sometimes even a small cake can be affected enough for it not to come out quite like you wanted it to. One example I’ve seen is when I make pancakes, sometimes I need to add a bit more flour because of the humidity. Otherwise, they can be pretty runny and make thin, flat pancakes instead of fluffy ones.

  19. I’m into month two of a total liquid fast and will be visiting your site regularly to live vicariously through your photos.

  20. Yum – My favorite kind of cake!
    Also, OMG – chili infused honey??? Must must must find some!

  21. Looks like heaven on a plate!

    P.S. I love your detailed food pics…what kind of camera do you use? I lost my Canon on a flight from Costa Rica to Houston and need to find a replacement…Thanks!

  22. Oh wow! I know exactly why this is your favourite cake – period. My Mom made one that looked like this and I have no idea how she made it. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  23. I’m grateful for the sensible responses to my grumpy post. I guess the answer is for me to put my Kenwood where my mouth is and try the recipe, using the valuable guidance above, and report results here incorporating UK measurements. Wish me luck and thanx again.

  24. okay, I’m making this today! It’ll be delicious dessert after stew or some such for dinner. It looks SOOOOO good! I can just imagine…mmmm…

  25. Perfect cake! The caramel glaze, wow! It makes me melt. Really.

    Lovely blog! Will visit again :)

  26. Beautiful website. I found you via the link on Pioneer Woman Cooks, and will add you to my feedreader. That caramel cake recipe caught my eye in Gourmet last month. Now I think I’ll have to make it. Your photos and description are simply delicious.
    Phoo-D

  27. Andrea: I use a Canon PowerShot sd870 , a little point and shoot camera. I love it.

  28. I Stumbled on this page and was immediately drawn in by your photos….they’re gorgeous! I’m not a huge caramel fan, but between your sweet description and awesome photos how can I pass up on trying this recipe?! Thanks for sharing!

  29. Awesome looking cake – I wouldn’t share it for any amount of enamoration! Being a Brit I often had issues with recipe conversion ’til my very nice friend in Pennsylvania sent me an American jug and set of measuring cups. Happy days! I have never been able to get ahold of cake flour here, you think it would work with plain (all purpose) flour?

  30. i loved caramel and thanks god i stumbled to your site.thanks for the recipe cant wait to try it later..yummmmyyyyy….

  31. Hi Anna: Yes, I think you could use all-purpose. I think the rule is that you use less all-purpose to replace cake flour. So, maybe a scant 2 cups? Good luck!

  32. That looks amazing! Caramel cake is one of my all time favorites, I’ll have to try it. Thanks!

  33. Caramel Cake looks yummy can`t wait to try it out
    Thanks for sharing recipe

  34. Mouth watering! I am bad at cooking but I’ll try this someday, recipe saved :)
    Thanks

  35. Your web site is great! I’ve been going to http://www.pioneerwoman.com for recipes and laughs and she had a link to your site. I’m so glad! The cake recipe looks great. I can’t wait to try it!

  36. Gorgeous pictures. I’ll definately have to try this one soon!

  37. Tim, you are my hero. I’m making this NOW! tttttttttttttttttttthanks so much for sharing…

  38. Love love love the clean look of your blog. Photos are amazing.

    I’ll be making 2 of these this weekend.

  39. Yum! That looks great! I only recently realized what a difference using cake flour makes. Thanks.

  40. 2 cups + 2 tblsp flour – by volume 17 ounces
    1 cup sugar – white sugar 8 ounces by volume
    1 stick butter – 1/4 of a pound
    1 cup buttermilk -8 fluid ounces by volume

  41. Gaz –

    After living in the US and returning to England, I was pleased to find you can buy the same size measuring cups in places like tesco etc. I actually prefer baking using cups for measurement now, so if you can find some, I’d definitely say it’s worth the three-to-five pounds they cost. :)

  42. This looks fabulous! I make a simple banana cake with the same glaze and I absolutely love it.

  43. Looks like a great recipe – I love to bake – but everyone is satisfied with one slice – and then I eat the rest – not a good thing – I am going to start baking and sharing with friends from church. looking forward to checking out your other recipes.

  44. Thanks for the recipe! I made it this afternoon. It came out beautifully and looked exactly like the picture. The texture was a little like a light cornbread, and it was really not too sweet. I loved the glaze. I didn’t pay attention before getting started and thought it was going to fill a whole sheetcake pan. I would think it would be OK to double the recipe and add 10+ minutes to the time, but have you tried that?

  45. I made this cake for a small group gathering tonight and it looked exactly as yours did. The whole group was asking for the recipe. I did use salted butter though and it didn’t seem to harm it. My caramel topping also took only about 10 minutes to reach the 210 temperature. Thanks.

  46. Yum, thanks for sharing another great recipe. I’m printing it out to give a try.

    I thought it hilarious that this is a cake you don’t share. While I share my desserts I can’t stand when I’ve served myself a piece of cake (dessert) and then my children want a bite. Grrr, I tell ‘em to get their own! Does that make me a mean mom?
    ~ingrid

  47. I’m not able to find corn syrup here in Italy, so I was wondering if honey could be substituted. Any tips?

  48. Hi Joan:
    Yes, you can try honey. I would try to find a really mild flavored honey. Or, I wonder if golden syrup is available? (Lyle’s?) Either should function in the same way as corn syrup in the recipe. Let me know if it works!

    Ingrid: No, it doesn’t make you a mean mom! Even moms deserve their own piece of cake.

    Faye: Glad it worked. I bet it is good with salted butter.

    Chrissy: I haven’t tried that. I think you could double the cake pretty easily, my concern would be with the glaze. It is worth a try, or simply make two batches of the glaze.

  49. Let’s make it “especially moms deserve their own piece of cake.”
    And this one looks worthy!

  50. You are bad. Very, very bad. To tempt me with a beautiful, rich, simple cake with my favorite topping. I need to lose weight, but looking at this picture of a perfect cake I am compelled to make it. Of course, as a calorie reducing effort, I will share it with my husband and son.

  51. my grandmother makes a cake similar to this and it is DELICIOUS!

  52. This cake keeps getting recommended, and though I don’t think it could ever become a favorite (I am not madly in love with caramel), I think I’ll certainly give it a try.
    By the way, 2 cups of flour + 2 tablespoons would not be 17 ounces as someone mentioned above! That would be more like 3 cups of flour. All-purpose flour is about 4.5-5 ounces, and cake flour around 4-4.5.
    And honey isn’t a very good substitute for corn syrup when making caramel. Glucose syrup is usually the substitute in Europe, or golden syrup.

  53. Drooling of course. And I can understand the over use of “favorite” because when it comes to good food, aren’t you allowed to have as many as you want? I think so.

  54. i just put the cake in the oven, but i realized i forgot about the extra 2 tbsp of flour. will it affect anything? btw i used all purpose flour mixed with corn starch as a sub for cake flour. 2 cups total.

    can’t wait for it to come out!!!!!!!!
    i love your site! awesome photos. i stumbled upon this one.

  55. I made this cake last night. It was totally awesome. My family was so impressed. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Now this cake is our FAVORITE too. I have a question though. Why do you need to put salt ( a pinch) in the glaze? Can we do without it?
    thanks!!

  56. Aparna: I am SO glad you liked it. Salt is used in desserts to enhance flavors. It is actually quite important in very sweet things like the caramel glaze- it helps keep things balanced. I usually even increase the amount of salt dessert recipes call for because I think it is such an important addition. You can experiment though and see what you think of the glaze without the salt, whatever tastes best to you is right!

  57. I’m too lazy to bake and don’t really have a knack for it. Is there a place in NYC that makes good caramel cake? If not, I might have to fly out to Chicago just for this cake. I’m a sucker for caramel.

  58. Hmmmmm. I wonder if there is a good caramel cake in NYC? I think you might be flying to Chicago…

  59. hi! i’m planning to make this for my boyfriend’s bday on friday. i have 2 questions though- what could i use as a corn syrup-replacement? and what should i do if i don’t have a candy thermometer?
    thanks!

  60. Hi Rachel: Go buy a candy thermometer! OR, just wing it and hope for the best. If you are familiar with making caramels you will know when it is getting to the right consistency, but the best thing to do is check temperature. Maybe you can borrow one from a friend?
    As for a corn syrup replacement, I haven’t found anything that works as well so I just use corn syrup in candy making. I know people have tried things like honey, simple syrup and agave syrup, If you Google around you will also find recipes for substitutes made using cream of tartar.

  61. thanks. one more question- if i made it on thursday, will it be as yummy on friday?

  62. Yes! It is good the next day. Not exactly the same, the texture changes a little, but still really good.

  63. thanks! should i keep it refrigerated? or room temp?

  64. Wow, that’s mouthwateringly delicious, will definately give the recipe a try – thanks for sharing!

  65. Just tried this cake today. Fantastic!

  66. Yay! Glad you liked it. I am about to make it myself. Can’t wait.

  67. Since I moved to Sarajevo for work, i find myself in a incredibly difficult situation for baking. My level of bosnian is so bad at the moment that I stare at the products at the supermarket for ages try to make-up with which flour is self-rising and which is not… and maybe wishing it would somehow reveiled itself to me.
    But I was wondering if there is a way to replace buttermilk without making it go wrong.
    Help?

  68. We made this cake this evening, and it is delicious. I have a question about the texture of the cake itself though. Our cake is very fine, more like an angel food cake than a dense, moist heavy crumb type of vibe. I pretty much followed the instructions…only thing is I didn’t have an electric mixer so I did it all by hand. Could that be the cause of the “off” texture? It was still pretty great, just curious.

  69. I am making this now. I had planned to make it for my hubby’s birthday in February and didn’t get to it. It was a nice “surprise” tucked into my my “to try” pile. I haven’t glazed it yet but the cake smells wonderful.

  70. I made this. James loved it. I thought the cake was a little dry so maybe I over mixed it. The topping was just awesome!!

  71. This looks fantastic. I will definitely have to try it! I still dont think it will rival my favorite cake (at least for the moment) though! Simply Delicious http://paprikaprincess.blogspot.com/2009/09/heaven-on-plate.html

  72. Hm, the glaze came out reallllly runny for me. It got to 210 degrees FAST, though…

  73. Hey Tim,

    I had been saving this recipe for a while, and finally baked it for my neighbors when their apartment got broken into. I served it up on a giant clam platter (a little strange, but it pooled up the caramel nicely) and they devoured the whole thing. I might have helped. Thanks, this cake is delectable.

  74. I made this tonight, with a bit of a handicap—no electric mixer or candy thermometer. But, I have a strong arm and a meat thermometer, so decided it was worth a try. The edges of the cake were crispy and that caramel sauce… divine. Saved it from a minor disaster because it broke when I was trying to flip it! Thankfully none of it hit the floor. Aside from that, I love that it’s not your typical cake. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  75. I made it, and I loved it :) great recipe

    xx

  76. Congrats on your new home!!!

    1. A friend of mine is getting married abroad and is using this recipe for her wedding cake.

    2. Aforementioned friend cannot find a good frosting recipe that does not taste too rich (full buttercream) or hold form like wedding cake frosting should without the use of crisco…which she can’t find in her country. Do you have some magical frosting recipe?? I know you go for delicious over decorative, but thought you might have an idea.

    Thanks Tim!!

    Molls

  77. Hey Molls, I don’t really like frosting so I am the wrong person to ask. The exception is cream cheese frosting, which I love. Hmmm. Maybe someone else will have a suggestion?

  78. Hi, I am anxious to make this recipe but I am from Costa Rica and we do not have buttermilk. What would be the closest substitude? We have almost any other milk based products but not buttermilk. THANK YOU

  79. Hi Claudia- you can make a buttermilk substitute by mixing 1 cup whole milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir it together and let it sit for 5 minutes. Use as you would buttermilk.

  80. As recently as my grandparents’ generation, no one measured precisely when baking – they used household cups and spoons, each of which was a somewhat different size. There may have been a slight lack of consistency, but not total failure, so I’m not too worried about some of the details!

  81. Hi Tim – I love your site & I love this cake! I kept meaning to post you my affection for it.. and yet I made it again last night for a bday dinner party & everyone who doesn’t like cake loved it. I serve it with blackberries & green/black vanilla i.c. — so yum. I also add maldon to the glaze & lyle’s syrup & cook it down pretty thick.

    take care & keep up the great posts
    from an adoring brooklyn, private chef.

  82. *one more thing.. my 4 year old asked for this cake for her birthday party!

  83. Thanks for writing, Kari! I am glad you like the cake. Your 4 year old obviously has very good taste.

  84. i can’t wait to surprise my boyfriend with this cake for this birthday. it looks amazing. i’m so glad i stumbled upon your blog.
    -m in logan square

  85. Hey, Tim -

    I’ve been slowly working my way through your lovely blog since discovering it last week. This cake looks perfect in its simplicity – if I dare make sweets any time soon, I’ll be giving this a try.

    Reading through the comments here, I took note of the question about salted vs. unsalted butter. This is something I’ve pondered and researched in some depth. Yes, the simple answer is that salted butter varies in the amount of salt used, so using unsalted butter allows the cook to control the salt content. But I noticed early on that unsalted butter just plain tastes better – cleaner, clearer, fresher.

    Here’s the thing: salt was originally added to butter as a preservative. Salted butter can be expected to stay ‘fresher’ longer than unsalted. So I wonder – do butter makers make more salted butter than unsalted, because a) salted is more popular but b) it can hang around on the shelf longer without going ‘off’ (even though it starts to get a little tired)?

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that salted butter tends to have a lot more crud in it – milk solids – which becomes obvious when you melt it, and especially when you clarify it. The milk solids are actually what goes ‘off’ in butter, which is why clarified butter will last seemingly forever (see also ‘ghee’). And I wonder…are commercial butter makers sloppier about making salted butter, taking less care to wash out the buttermilk because they know the salt will cover up for it?

    I got in the habit over the years of buying and using unsalted butter for everything, because of its superior flavor (and performance). These days, I make my own, but that’s another story.

    Apologies for being so long-winded and overly thinky. I look forward to discovering more of your blog.

    GG

  86. I distinctly remember avoiding this recipe when it was published in Gourmet because I knew it would get me into trouble. But last week I rediscovered it in this post, and as a hoarder of sweets myself I knew I had to make it. Last night was the night–husband working night shift, baby sleeping, new novel, caramel cake. I tried to keep my expectations for the cake in check, but I needn’t have–totally scrumptious (although my glaze did not look as opaque and smooth as yours). Thanks!

    (And no, I did NOT eat the whole thing, but I was a bit shocked when a previous commenter said he had polished it off with two other people, and now that makes perfect sense.)

  87. I’m not really a sweets person but my boyfriend who is a chef loves caramel so yesterday I started looking for a caramel cake reciepe for Valentine’s Day. Not only was this easy to make but WOW can you say Heaven on a plate….. we had some for breakfast this morning and it was amazing. We both loved it! Thanks for all your hard work Tim and have a great Valentine’s Day!

  88. After making this today, it’s now not only my favorite cake, but my mother’s as well. It’s amazing, and it has renewed my love for simple-ish recipes.

  89. Awesome, Gillian! Glad you and your mom liked it. It is still my favorite cake.

  90. Hi Tim! Your website is lovely. I’m an amateur blogger and cupcake aficionado, and came across your website in my search for a good caramel cake recipe. One of my sorority sisters requested caramel cake-cupcakes for a bridal shower she’s planning, so I was wondering if you had any tips on translating this recipe to cupcakes? I’ll be experimenting a little today, but I just had to comment and compliment your work. And PS: I’m jealous of your photography skills! As you can tell from my site, I’m not very good yet!

  91. Hi Tamara, Thanks for the nice message! I think that these will be complicated as cupcakes. The glaze won’t have anywhere to go if you bake them in paper liners and if you don’t bake them in paper liners they sort of become mini-cakes rather than cupcakes (you wouldn’t be able to pick them up). I’ll be curious to hear how your experiments turn out. Good luck and happy baking!

  92. Hi Tim! I made cupcakes using the cake recipe, and they turned out great in terms of taste and consistency; I just baked them for about 5 fewer minutes. I love the tang from the buttermilk and that they aren’t too sweet. You’re right about the glaze: it would be a little messy to use on cupcakes. My friend had requested a fluffy frosting, southern style, so I made a vanilla meringue buttercream, and added a caramel sauce very much like the glaze (I made a dark caramel, and mixed in heavy cream). The frosting had a great, really pronounced caramel flavor and helps with the mess issue a lot. Thanks for the help!

  93. Great, Tamara! I am glad they were a success.

  94. Thanks for this recipe and reviews! My husband asked for a caramel cake for his birthday, and I read horror stories about caramel that “hardened like a helmet” on other sites. This cake was easy to make, and for the first time since knowing my husband, I NAILED THE BIRTHDAY CAKE! He has asked that I make it every year! (and it tastes great with Turtle Tracks ice cream, too!)

  95. Hi Wendy! I am so glad it was a success and that your husband liked it. It is what I would want every year for my birthday, too.

  96. Sylvia Smith says:

    April 26th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve never even thought of a caramel cake, as it usually seems that it would get rock hard solid and impossible to eat. This looks so light! I’m excited to try it, from the rage reviews its gotten, I’m sure it will be a hit!
    -Sylvia
    Solar Arizona

  97. izabella says:

    May 17th, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    i’ve made this amazing cake twice now! its absolutely to die for and disappears so fast at potlucks that its not even funny :)

    the first time i made it i was paranoid that the caramel wasn’t thick enough, but now i appreciate how it just slowly seeps in around the edges… yuuuum

  98. I made this cake for my husband’s 43rd birthday, and he LOVED it!!!! He said it was the best cake I have ever made. I made it again for a friend’s birthday, and my mother just made it for a church event where it was a hit! I share this link with everyone I know! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  99. All of this recent paranoia about the need for EXACT measurements for baking has reminded me that our grandmothers didn’t use consistent measurements at all, and they were the ones after whose baking we tend to lust! We use “cups”, “teaspoons”, etc. because prior to the middle of the 20th century, most bakers used actual teacups, spoons, etc. to measure their ingredients, and you need to understand that not all teacups, or spoons, were the same size.

  100. All of this recent paranoia about the need for EXACT measurements for baking has reminded me that our grandmothers didn’t use consistent measurements at all, and they were the ones after whose baking we tend to lust! We use “cups”, “teaspoons”, etc. because prior to the middle of the 20th century, most bakers used actual teacups, spoons, etc. to measure their ingredients, and you need to understand that not all teacups, or spoons, were the same size.

  101. Can this cake be prepared a day ahead? If so, keep in the fridge till serving?
    Thanks!

  102. Hey Talia,
    Yes, it can definitely be made the day before. No need to refrigerate, just keep at room temperature. The cake is perfect for the first 2 days and then still totally enjoyable for a couple of more days….

  103. WHOA. This was a pregnant lady’s dream come true. Thank you, sir.

    I used AP Flour (scant 2C), honey instead of corn syrup, and I didn’t have a candy thermometer so I boiled the caramel mixture for about 13 minutes. Next time I will boil for a few minutes less as I think a thinner sauce would coat the cake better. I was so antsy that I even forgot to add in the vanilla (!). So, I pretty much butchered your recipe but It was still delish! Thank you!

  104. i just read the book the help (in which a character makes caramel cake) and i have been in search of a good recipe ever since! thank you :) i can’t wait to make this

    your blog is wonderful by the way, thank you for the good reads!

  105. Hi, Tim,
    I made your favorite cake twice now and it is truly wonderful. The second time that I made it, I used regular flour instead of cake flour. The key is sifting it both times. Could I link the recipe back to your blog? Thanks, Tien

  106. Hi Tim!
    This is the first cake I have ever made from scratch (hangs head in shame). It was FANTASTIC!! I loved it so much and I actually shared with my boyfriend. He loved it too! Thank you so much for a recipe I will use again and again.

  107. Yay, Tammy! So glad you liked the recipe too. Keep baking!

  108. Hi Tim! I just stumbled upon your blog today from the delicious-looking porridge post over on Kitchn. Your food looks AMAZEBALLS. I’m a grad student who’s learning to cook more, and I’m now really looking forward to the holidays since I’ll be getting a electric mixer. This cake looks so yummy that I can’t wait to try baking this. Fortunately, my baking skills is much better than cooking, hehe.

  109. Hey Sarah! Glad you found this little corner of the web, and thanks for the nice message (especially for the use of AMAZEBALLS). This cake really is delicious. If you give it a try with the new mixer, let me know! I hope school is going well.

  110. Yay! I certainly will let you know how it goes when I bake it.

  111. I made this tonight and it sunk in the middle. : ( Maybe it’s the blizzard outside.

  112. I had really, really high expectations for this cake… And it totally nailed them! Absolutely fantastic, thanks so much for sharing! I actually made them as mini loaves and had friends asking if they could take home the leftovers, once we were all stuffed!

  113. Lynn, so happy you liked this recipe. Still one of my favorite things…

  114. I have made this a number of times, and everyone loves it. Wiped my computer, and it took forever to find again – finally found and bookmarked and email to myself lol. Thanks for the recipe!

  115. Caramel cake! I’ve never tasted another cake quite like it. I first heard of it from the book “The Help”. I made this for my sister’s birthday so I, unfortunately, had no choice but to share.

  116. Oh god this looks delicious. Mmm, I think I drooled a little on my keyboard. I’m saving this for a day where I don’t feel so lazy to cook.

  117. Cat in Palma says:

    June 30th, 2011 at 10:05 am

    You just made a pregnant lady cry. There may be bloodshed if this cake doesn’t magically appear in my kitchen!!!

  118. Tim! I just made 2 of these—the recipe doubled well! How amazingly moist and delicious the cake turned out. Yum!

  119. Delicious cake, but I cooked the caramel too long and it was like a tasty cake armor. My candy thermometer seems to have disappeared in our last move. I am going to make it again next weekend and get it right. Still delectable, if somewhat hard to chew, LOL. Cake texture and flavor WONDERFUL.

  120. ooooh this cake looks yummy. my boyfriend loves anything caramel so i think this will be a great recipe for us! i ADORE your site and all of your recipes sound delicous! thank you for sharing!

  121. I’m not sure whether pride or shame is the appropriate emotion here: I have made this cake FOUR times in the past three days. No, I haven’t eaten four whole cakes, but I have joined other people in eating multiple pieces. With gusto. This has become “My Favorite Cake. Period.” too. My only gripe (not directed toward you) is my lack of a candy thermometer…maybe that’s why my caramel glaze came out a bit thin? I semi-panicked when it started to boil before 10 minutes and took it off the heat right away.

    Thank you, Tim, for sharing the recipe. This cake rocks my face off!

  122. Tomorrow’s cake
    it MUST be! it looks terrific!
    -just knowing your blog
    (from GRN-Barcelona)

  123. REDÉU!
    You ARE right: the best in the world!!!!!!
    If you hear something…these are my friends tasting one piece (ONLY ONE, for JUST one day!!)
    Thankyou very much for sharing!

  124. If I am baking this night ahead, should I wait to put the glaze on? Oh, also, I assume this doubles okay…right? Thanks!!!! This cake looks perfect for my Dad.

  125. Any suggestions for adapting this to higher altitude?

  126. P. C. Goodman says:

    December 13th, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    A wonderful cake; great texture, not too sweet. I love salted caramel, so added a wee bit of kosher salt to the top of the glaze after pouring on the cooled cake. It was lovely, thank you for sharing.

  127. Mine turned out really good. I made three batches of cake, and two batches of carmel. It was just enough to cover all three cakes perfectly. I used a saute pan for the caramel. I brought it to a boil and removed from heat (alternately) until I got it to where I wanted it to be. It takes about 10-15 minutes. You don’t really need a candy thermometer. You just have to watch the consistency and the color change. It’s similar to a light brown Kraft caramel color.

    The carmel topping turned out just like the picture. I poured it slowly with a gravy ladle, starting at the center and working it to the edge. That way I got the dripping caramel appearance on the sides. I did flip my cakes over and it had a nice, flat surface to work with. hehe I know that’s cheating but if the cake falls a bit in the middle (which happens sometimes in my Caphelon pans) nobody knows it ; )

  128. Arley Canterbury says:

    December 27th, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    I have been looking for this recipe. I recently lost my mother who was from West Viginia, both her and my Grandmother made this cake. As a child I remember that this was always my favorite cake. Thank you so much for sharing, as I am looking forward making this.

  129. I had it.. I don’t like sweets , this cake is fu**ing bomb.. Jesus Christ…thanks for the recipe…allie

  130. Hey Tim, just added this to my “to-make” list (directed over here from bon appetempt). You’ve completely sold me on this cake. But I’m wondering–what’s that cake you mention in your post that’s your other “favorite”? I’m curious now!

  131. Hi Tim!

    This is the Sarah who uses AMAZEBALLS. Anyhoo, I finally got around to baking this cake for the first time last month, and now I’m making it for the third time in a month. It’s now one of my favorite cakes ever, and my friends rave about it. I just wanted to thank you for the recipe, and I was wondering about one thing – do you let the caramel glaze cool for a little bit before pouring it over the cake? I can’t seem to make it as pretty as yours!

  132. Amazeballs! Glad you like the cake. To be honest, I have made this cake many times and the glaze always turns out the same way for me. I wish I knew what I did. If the glaze isn’t setting up, you could try cooking a little longer. In the end, I doubt it matters much because it probably tastes the same. Next time I make this, I’ll try to pay more attention and update the post.

  133. Oh yes. This cake is divine.

  134. made this cake a few weeks ago and everyone loved the small slivers they got after i devoured most of the thing myself. kid wants it for her birthday party– can i double it and put it in a 13×9 inch pan and let it cool in there, or should i just make two separate square cakes? thanks for the deliciousness!

  135. There is NOTHING better than homemade caramel sauce! This is going in my need-to-make-this-soon pile!

  136. Fanatastic looking cake can I use dulce de leche instead of the glaze because from what I understand they are one in the same thing? Caramel sauce and dulce de leche!

  137. Rufusmak, They are similar, but they are definitely not the same. I wouldn’t use dulce de leche here. The caramel glaze is pretty special, you wont get the same flavor.

  138. I loved this cake the first time I made it! The 2nd two times, it was “crunchy” around the edges/outside when I took it out of the pan. Is this “normal”. I watched the baking time really closely to make sure I didn’t overbake. I checked it in the middle at the “earliest” time, but the fork did not come out clean, so I left it in another 2-3 min. ??? I would love to get this down pat, as my husband loves it.

  139. I made this cake and the carmel was way too hard. It was like I laid cement on the cake and it hardened up. Can you help me for next time? Cake part was great, caramel was unedible.

  140. Hey Matt, Were you using a thermometer? As long as you are staying under like, 230 F you should be fine. It sounds like you simply cooked it too long.

  141. Wow! I made this last night, to serve tonight. It was delicious! Nice and moist, great flavor. Caramel is not too sugary sweet. I can def see why you make it for yourself! I’m tempted to do the same.

  142. I’ve made the cake three times now, and each time it was fantastic. My parents aren’t huge caramel fans though, so I skipped the sauce the second two cakes.

    @Tim As an aside, have you tried adding the finely minced zest from an orange into the cake? If not, you need to give it a try!

  143. Oh my goodness, this looks too delicious! My husband loves caramel and it’s his birthday nect week so despite not being the best cook I’m going to give this one a try and keep my fingers crossed that it turns out as well as the one in the photo!

  144. So, I made this last night but split into two smaller pans (bake time about 26 mins) so hubby and I could try it and I could give one to a friend. We ate ours in about 12 minutes, and I’m making another (full-size) one tonight. Highly addictive!

  145. Kate- yes! that is what I like to hear.

  146. Hi Tim,

    I think you are fantastic. All of your recipes are so inspired – I adore your writing, stories, and the way you portray your life through your fabulous photos. This is – hands down – my favorite blog. Ever.

    I know this is an old recipe, but I just had to tell you that this is the most simple, delicious cake I have ever had. Thank you, thank you, thank you for introducing me to so many unbelievable dishes. I am so happy you, your Bryan and this blog exist.

    xx,J

  147. Josie! That is the nicest comment ever. Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I am really glad you like this cake, too. It is the best!

  148. MUST. MAKE. EAT. THIS. CAKE. but what is this ‘healthy crumb’ that you mention in your opening paragraph?? Please tell me

What do you think?