Decadent Caramel Pound Cake

Welcome to Day 5 of the Twelve Days of Pound Cake Holiday Event! I hope you’ve loved the offerings so far.

Today’s cake is as much of a visionary marvel as it is a taste sensation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you the Decadent Caramel Pound Cake.

There are a couple of cakes that a Southern baker is expected to have in their repertoire, and this is definitely one of them. I spent more time on this cake than just about any other that I developed for this event, and it was only after several drafts that I felt comfortable sending it to its tester for its final tasting.

Because Family, I didn’t want to be dragged through the mud for messing up a Southern Classic. We’re not doing that in 2021 (or ever, for that matter).

Here’s what they said:

“This Caramel Pound Cake didn’t stand a chance at Casa de Berry. Even though the cake weighed a literal ton, it didn’t taste heavy at all and it wasn’t overly sweet. It sure was decadent though! You could taste the ingredients that were put into it, BUTTER of course, vanilla, ❤️ yeah and of course that caramel drizzle set that joint off right.”

Official Caramel Pound Cake Tester P. Berry

I…don’t think I messed it up. Considering the way my eyes rolled back in my head when I tasted the final draft of this cake, I knew it was just. right.

🚨 Nerd Alert 🚨

The secret to this Caramel Pound Cake is brown sugar.

As I wrote in an earlier post about sugar, all sugar comes from either sugar cane or sugar beets. It’s inedible as food-grade “sugar” until it’s been through a series of processes to get from the raw sugar plant to the bags and boxes that we see in our local grocery stores. During each process, molasses is separated and stripped from the sugar.

I still cannot get over the fact that molasses is a byproduct. It might just be the best byproduct of all time.

Granulated sugar is sugar that’s been completely stripped of molasses. Brown sugar, however, still has a bit of the good stuff; the molasses is the reason for the signature brown sugar color and the more sticky texture. Dark brown sugar has a higher molasses content, and it’s my favorite for baking because I love the depth of flavor that it adds to anything it touches. But you can use either for this cake!

Do you need to make this caramel cake this weekend and don’t have brown sugar on hand? Not to worry! I’ve used this amazing recipe and technique from Grandbaby Cakes to make my own brown sugar on a number of occasions with amazing results. It will work amazingly well in this recipe.

(Go check out her blog! It’s brilliant.)

Beginners Start Here

If you’re new to baking, or if your stand mixer is covered in dust, here are a couple of articles from the BwB site that will help you get off to a great start with this recipe!

These resources are never mandatory reading, but they are super useful to help you understand the techniques that you’ll need to successfully execute this amazing cake. Happy Reading!

Important Tools Used in this Recipe

Below, you’ll find some tools that I used for this pound cake, as well as all of the pound cakes in this event. They’re what I use in my kitchen for just about everything that I bake. **I get paid a small commission if you purchase directly from some of these links, but they are truly amazing products that you’ll find in my kitchen.**

If you have them already, great! Think of this as a checklist to help you build the confidence that you’ll need to execute this recipe!

Ready for the recipe? Let’s go!

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Caramel Pound Cake


  • Author: Shani
  • Prep Time: 40 min
  • Inactive Time: 3-5 hours
  • Cook Time: 65-75 minutes
  • Total Time: ~5-7 hours
  • Yield: 14 servings 1x

Description

This amazing Southern classic will delight your friends and family at any gathering!


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Cake Batter:

  • 384 g flour, plus 2 tbsp more for greasing the pan
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 288 g butter, plus 2 tbsp more for greasing the pan
  • 525 g (2.5 cups, NOT 3 2/3 cups) brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 250 g whole milk

For the Simple Syrup:

  • 87 g water
  • 70 g brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 85 g butter (I use salted)
  • 125 g heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp good, flaky salt (I use Maldon)

Instructions

To Make the Batter with a Stand Mixer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  It’s highly recommended to use an oven thermometer for this recipe, since proper oven temperature will impact the outcome of your cake.
  2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  3. Sift the flour mixture into another medium bowl.  Add kosher salt to the flour mix and whisk to combine.
  4. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Mix on low speed until smooth.  (30 seconds)
  5. Slowly add the brown sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  (5-10 minutes)
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for at least 45 seconds after each addition.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed (I usually scrape the bowl after the third and sixth egg).  (6-7 minutes). Don’t cut corners on this step because this technique helps the cake rise!
  7. Add vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.  (1 minute)
  8. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  (30-45 seconds)
  9. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add all of the whole milk and mix until just combined.  (~1 minute)
  10. Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost combined.  Stop mixing just before the mixture is fully together.  (~1 minute)
  11. Using a rubber spatula, fully scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Then, stir the batter until it is smooth and consistent.  Make sure to fully scrape the bottom of the bowl during this step!
  12. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with the remaining butter and flour and place the batter in the pan.

To Make the Batter with a Hand Mixer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  It’s highly recommended to use an oven thermometer for this recipe, since proper oven temperature will impact the outcome of your cake.
  2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  3. Sift the flour mixture into another medium bowl.  Add kosher salt to the flour mix and whisk to combine.
  4. Place the room temperature butter in a large mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed until smooth.  (~1 minute)
  5. Add half of the brown sugar and mix until the sugar is just incorporated.  (~30 seconds)
  6. Add the second half of the sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  (7-12 minutes).
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for at least 1 minute after each addition.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed (I usually scrape the bowl after the third and sixth egg).  Don’t cut corners on this step because this technique helps the cake rise!  (7 minutes)
  8. Add vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.  (1 minute)
  9. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  (30-45 seconds)
  10. Add all of the whole milk and mix on lowest speed until just combined.  (~1 minute).
  11. Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost combined.  Stop mixing just before the mixture is fully together.  (1-2 minutes)
  12. Using a rubber spatula, fully scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Then, mix the batter until it is smooth and consistent.  Make sure to fully scrape the bottom of the bowl!
  13. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with the remaining butter and flour and place the batter in the pan.

To Bake the Cake:

  1. Bake the cake at a true 325°F for 65-75 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 210°F-215°F.  My preferred internal temperature for this cake is 212°F.  Alternately, the cake is done with a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and a fingerprint indentation bounces back.
  2. Allow the cake to rest for ten minutes while you make the simple syrup.

To Make the Simple Syrup:

  1. Combine water, brown sugar, and salt in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from heat.
  2. After allowing the cake to rest for ten minutes, invert it onto a cooling rack and carefully remove the bundt pan.
  3. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the simple syrup over the entire cake.
  4. Allow the cake to cool completely.  (3-5 hours)

To Make the Salted Caramel Sauce:

  1. Start with caution.  Caramel is hot sugar and the steam it produces can cause burns, so please do this step when you’re fully engaged.  I don’t want you to get burned!
  2. Place granulated sugar in the bottom of a large (at least 3-qt), heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Turn heat to medium and watch sugar carefully as it begins to melt. (3-5 minutes)
  3. Once the sugar begins to melt, stir constantly with a balloon whisk like this one.  It’s important that the whisk not have a metal handle, since a metal handle will conduct heat from the pan.
  4. Keep stirring constantly until all of the lumps of sugar melt and the sugar has a slightly nutty smell.  (3-4 minutes)
  5. Add all of the butter and continue whisking.  The mixture will bubble A LOT when you add the butter and there will be a lot of steam, so be careful with this step.
  6. Stir butter gently until it’s mostly incorporated (I find it impossible to completely get the butter to cooperate at this point), then remove the mixture from the heat. (1-2 minutes)
  7. Add all of the heavy cream at one time while the mixture is off the heat.  Again, the mixture will bubble so be careful!  Stir the mixture until everything is fully combined. (1-2 minutes)
  8. Add the salt and stir to combine.
  9. Allow the caramel to cool in the saucepan for 10-15 minutes, then pour into a heat-safe container.
  10. Using a spouted measuring cup or spoon, you can pour this salted caramel sauce on your cake about 40 minutes after it’s done.  If the sauce thickens too much before you use it, you can microwave the sauce at 10-15 second intervals until it’s just pourable.

Notes

  • An oven thermometer is strongly recommended to make sure that your oven reaches the correct temperature.
  • It is also strongly recommended to use a digital food scale to measure ingredients using metric measurement. It will seriously make your baking so much easier!
  • This recipe can be halved for a loaf pan or a 6-cup bundt pan.
  • Make sure you take your time to cream the butter and sugar on the front end!  Once you add your flour mixture, you have to mix gently in order to avoid over-mixing.
  • This is a big bundt cake.  I recommend placing a sheet pan underneath this cake while it bakes for extra insurance.
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 570
  • Sugar: 55.1 g
  • Sodium: 243.1 mg
  • Fat: 27.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 76.8 g
  • Protein: 6.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 147.4 mg

I’m always so grateful when I see pictures and posts that feature these recipes. Thank you for subscribing to Begin with Butter and thank you for participating in the Twelve Days of Pound Cakes!

Until tomorrow!


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