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4.5 from 8 votes

Caramel Cake with Caramel Icing

Have you ever had Caramel Cake with Caramel Icing? It's a classic Southern treat! But instead of a layer cake, I made this into a thin sheet cake. Less time baking, more time eating, I say! It's really easy to put together.


For the cake

  • 1 cup salted butter, (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs

For the icing

  • 3/4 cup salted butter, (1 and 1/2 sticks)
  • 3 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup evaporated milk OR heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12x18 inch* sheet pan with parchment paper, or just spray it well with nonstick spray (or grease with butter).
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 1 cup butter and 1 cup water over medium high heat. Add 2 cups brown sugar and stir occasionally until it comes to a rolling boil (that means bubbles all the way across the top, not just the edges.)  Remove from heat once it has come to a full boil. 
  • Let it cool for a couple minutes, then add 2 teaspoons vanilla. 
  • Add 2 cups flour to the pot, but don't mix yet. Add the salt and baking soda on top of the flour and use a small spoon to stir it into the flour (You don't want to accidentally get a chunk of salt or soda in your cake, ew). 
  • Use a whisk to stir the flour mixture in. Try to get all the lumps out. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream. Add this to the cake batter and stir until incorporated. 
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread to the edges.
  • Bake at 350 for about 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no batter on it. The edges of the cake will start to pull away from the side of the pan. 
  • Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes before frosting.
  • Make the caramel icing: In a clean saucepan, melt 3/4 cup butter, 3 and 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup evaporated milk (or heavy cream), and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it is at a rolling boil, set a timer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The caramel should be a bit thicker by the end of 10 minutes, and should coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and stir. 
  • Fill a large bowl with ice water. Place the entire pan of frosting into the ice bath, making sure you don't get any water in the caramel. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, stirring the edges of the pan every minute. See photos. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't harden up without you noticing! (Don't walk away. You can read in the comments about a bunch of people who waited too long and their caramel got too hard. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes more like 8.)
  • Stir the frosting with a wooden spoon and make sure it is thickening up nicely. While it is still pour-able, Pour the icing over the slightly cooled cake and spread to the edges.
  • Let the icing set for a few minutes before serving warm. This is really good with vanilla ice cream! It's so rich, you can cut it into pretty small pieces. (I mean. I don't. But I have a major sweet tooth.) 


*I like this cake best in a 12x18 inch pan (thinner cake) but here are the times for other size pans:
If you are baking this in a 9x13 bake for 23-25 minutes. If you do a 10x15, bake for about 20 minutes. If you bake it in a 12x18, bake for about 17-20 minutes.
All of these times are going to vary because everyone's oven is different.


Serving: 1 g, Calories: 566 kcal, Carbohydrates: 88 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 23 g, Saturated Fat: 14 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 84 mg, Sodium: 406 mg, Potassium: 184 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 75 g, Vitamin A: 731 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 118 mg, Iron: 1 mg