Thursday, January 9, 2014

Decadent Southern Caramel Cake Offered by Lucy Burdette

LUCY BURDETTE: Ladies and gentlemen, if you're on a diet, please move on to the next recipe. You will be over your calorie count just looking at this beauty. For the rest of you, read on...for a magnificent cake, worthy of any special occasion--including the upcoming book launch of MURDER WITH GANACHE. (You knew that was coming!)

When I was touring in North Carolina last spring with Molly Weston, Hallie Ephron, and Jennifer McMahon, we made a stop at the fabulous McIntyre's books in Fearrington Village. One of my purchases was a book called Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott

I've been studying these amazing recipes for the last eight months, and finally got the nerve to try this one, a dense yellow cake with caramel frosting. I am crazy for caramel, but this was my first attempt at preparing it at home. I take no credit for developing the recipe, just credit for having the good sense to try it!

3/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 cups sifted flour
2 and 3/4 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp vanilla


For the icing:
one pound light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
7 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt the butter with the milk and cool to room temperature. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, beat the sugar and eggs together in another until they are a beautiful thick yellow color.  

Stir the dry mixture into the egg/sugar mixture until the flour just disappears. Then mix in the cooled butter/milk, along with the vanilla. 

Divide the batter between two buttered and floured cake pans. Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes. 


Tops will be a light brown and the cake edges will be pulling away from the pan, and will spring back to shape when touched. Once the layers are cool, remove them from the pans and have them ready for the great icing adventure.


John testing the icing!
Combine the icing ingredients in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Cook for seven minutes at a light boil, then remove from the heat. Cool 5 minutes and beat with a wooden spoon.


Wasting no time, spread some frosting over one of the layers. Add the second layer on top, quickly frost the top and then the sides. If you tarry, the icing will harden and be difficult to spread. As you can see from my photo, I waited a bit too long to make beautiful caramel swoops on the top. But it was soooo good and soooo rich--hope you enjoy it as much as we did! It's perfect for a celebration--like the launch of a book--or a birthday!

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. MURDER WITH GANACHE will be out on February 4, but you can pre-order it now.

Follow Lucy on Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest! She loves it when you pin her stuff:) 

And don't forget to enter the Goodreads giveaway for Murder with Ganache.


  1. Lucy/Roberta - Okay, yes, I am trying to diet, but how can I possibly pass up this cake?! I'll take a sliver please. And another...and another...and you know how that goes! Thanks for sharing such a special recipe--and the lovely biblio-memory to go with it.

    ~ Cleo

    1. Thanks Cleo! I should be on a diet after the holidays too, but this cake is irresistible! I waited until we had at least 6 for dinner, but we still had half a cake left over. the last piece is in the freezer...I'm waiting for just the right moment...unless John gets it first:)

  2. This looks delicious! I will have to put it on the menu for hubby's birthday!

  3. As they say in Maine, this sounds wicked good!

  4. Lucy - "The good sense to try it." Cute! I love all things caramel. I won't wait a year to try this. Thanks for sharing!

    Daryl / Avery

  5. Groan, Roberta! This looks soooo good.

    My grandfather was the cake baker in their family, and this looks like one he used to make. I can just about taste it from looking at that photo.

    1. that's cool Karen, do you have any of his recipes?

    2. Just the one for his coffee buttercream icing. Which uses strong, hot coffee instead of milk. It makes THE best frosting for spice cake.

  6. LOL! Cleo, I'll save you – by eating one of those pieces. Yum, caramel! I think your cake looks fabulous, Lucy! Definitely a special occasion cake. Quite a plug for that cookbook, too!


  7. I will have to wait until 2015 now, Roberta/Lucy before going back on the diet. This is indeed a fabulous contribution to MLK and I think a wonderful preview of what to expect in Murder with Ganache.

    Can't wait!



  8. John testing the icing is really inviting me and my little friends here to try making one. But we are at Pizza Paradiso Orlando baking our favorite cheesy pizza, so maybe we'll try them as soon as we get home. Thanks by the way for the recipe.

  9. This sounds wonderful. I will have to try it with my gluten free flour and ingredients. Thanks for the recipe sounds like a cake my grandma made. My mom makes a great eggless cake that works welk with the gluten free flour so hope this one does too