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Salted caramel cake with bite of cake on fork

Salted Caramel Cake Recipe

  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 45 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 85 Minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


This salted caramel cake made with real caramel sauce and frosted with caramel frosting, then loaded with toasted pecans truly could give chocolate cake a run for the money. This tender moist cake is incredible!


Units Scale

Caramel Sauce

1 c sugar

1/8 t cream of tartar

3 T water

4 T unsalted butter cut into 1” cubes

1/2 c heavy cream at room temperature

1 t fine sea salt

1 T bourbon (optional)

Caramel Cake

2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 t baking powder

1 t fine sea salt

1 c Salted Caramel Sauce, at room temperature

1/2 c water

8 T unsalted butter at room temperatire

1 1/3 c sugar

3 lg eggs at room temperature

Salted Caramel Frosting

1 c toasted pecans, chopped

Maldon Flaky Sea Salt

Salted Caramel Frosting:

2 c packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces

1/2 t fine sea salt

1/2 c heavy cream

1 1/2 t vanilla

2 c powdered sugar, sifted or run through a sieve


Caramel Sauce:

In a medium deep saucepan, combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once the sugar mixture has reached a boil, stop stirring and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, swirling occasionally to distribute the heat evenly and keep checking for color until the caramel is golden amber. Watch carefully because caramel can quickly become burnt! Take your time! As soon as it is golden, remove from the heat.

Add the butter one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Slowly and carefully add the cream. It may sputter a bit. Stir constantly until the sauce is shiny and smooth. If the heavy cream is too cold the caramel may sieze up and you may end up with some lumps of hard caramel. If this happens, return the pot to low heat and stir until the caramel is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the salt and the bourbon, if using.

Caramel Cake

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan or coat with non-stick spray. Line pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the caramel sauce and water and stir until smooth. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the caramel mixture and beginning and ending with flour, mixing until just combined. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then using the two sides of the parchment paper lift the cake out of the pan and let it completely cool on the rack.

To Make the Frosting:

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the brown sugar, 8 tablespoons of butter and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil, 5 – 8 minutes. Whisk in the cream and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and on low speed gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens in color and has cooled to warm, 3 – 5 minutes. Add the remaining 4 T butter, one piece at a time, and continue to mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Use immediately.

Assemble the cake:

Place the cake on a large serving plate. Using an offset spatula-which I still don’t own-frost the top and the sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting to create a crumb coat. Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set the crumb coat; the frosting should still feel a bit tacky, so that the final layer of frosting will adhere properly.

Frost the cake with the remaining frosting, using the back of the spatula to create swirls. Decorate the top with the chopped pecans and sprinkle with the flaky sea salt.

This cake keeps loosely covered at room temperature or in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, however it tastes best at room temperature.


*This cake is challenging but if you follow the directions it turns out beatifully.

Next time I may try using a high end caramel sauce, instead of making my own. If you try it, let me know.

Keywords: caramel cake, caramel cake recipe, caramel frosting, caramel icing, caramle icing recipe, salted caramel cake, caramel frosting recipe, caramel pecan cake, cheryl day