The traditional caramel cake is a Southern time honored recipe. This cake is known for its traditional styled caramel icing. Caramel cake, and cakes of this multi-layered type, all are descendants of the Dobostorte first made in Hungary and Austria. The idea of these multi-layered cakes traveled across Europe to France and England where they were sometimes referred to as Tortes. As settlers arrived in the New World, the recipe for this cake was brought with them. At times in the past, these cakes have been made in locations such as Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and many other Southern States. In New Orleans, exclusively, these multi-layered cakes are called a Doberge. Other locals have given other names to this traditional caramel cake, but they extend from the same ancestry of the Dobostorte of Hungary and Austria.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Using an electric mixer cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.
Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 4 inches above counter dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE FILLING
While caramel cake is baking, in a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.
DIRECTIONS FOR THE FROSTING
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency. At this time it may be necessary to add a tablespoon of heavy cream, or more, if frosting gets too thick. Be sure to add cream in small amounts because you can always “add to”, but you can’t take away. Frost cake and sprinkle top with chopped nuts, if desired.