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  • Andrea Kristin

Recipe: Layered Salted Caramel Cake

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

My beautiful Nan was turning 90 and my mum put me in charge of the cake. I knew there was going to be quite a few people so I opted for a layered cake. Anyone who has ever met my Nan would know that 'caramel is her favourite', I couldn't tell you how many times she has told me! So without any question I decided on a caramel cake.

I found this recipe on Gourmet Traveler and gave it a go. I knew I wanted to dress it as a semi naked cake, but with the amount of cream cheese frosting they detail below, it was only just enough for that - I would suggest making more than they list. The cake was really nice and was a great hit - none was left over! Despite the amount of sugar and butter that goes into it, it really isn't overly sweet - which was great. The crumb tastes like the crumb on Golden Gaytimes - sooo good!!

The instructions were easy to follow just watch the cooking for the caramel cream - by the time I thought it was dark enough and took it off heat, it kept cooking and eventually burnt so I had to do it again - so take it off heat before it darkens! The only other thing I would suggest is that you really don't go skimpy on the layers of cream cheese, caramel sauce and crumb between the layers, its what gives it moisture and flavour.


  • 140 gm brown sugar

  • 140 gm raw caster sugar

  • 120 gm softened butter

  • 3 eggs

  • 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour

  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) buttermilk

  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

  • 3 tsp white vinegar

  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Salted caramel

  • 400 gm caster sugar

  • 250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream

  • 120 gm butter, diced

Brown sugar crumb

  • 75 gm butter, diced

  • 150 gm (1 cup) plain flour

  • 80 gm brown sugar

  • 40 gm caster sugar

Cream cheese frosting

  • 150 gm softened butter

  • 110 gm brown sugar

  • 750 gm softened cream cheese


  • For salted caramel, stir sugar and 100ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, then brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to remove sugar crystals and boil until dark caramel (7-8 minutes). Remove from heat, carefully add cream (hot caramel will spit), then add butter and 2 tsp sea salt flakes and swirl to combine. Cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container until required. Caramel will keep for up to 5 days.

  • For brown sugar crumb, preheat oven to 170C and line an oven tray with baking paper. In a bowl, rub butter into dry ingredients and ½ tsp sea salt with your fingertips to form coarse crumbs, spread on prepared tray and bake until golden brown (6-8 minutes). Cool completely, then store in an airtight container until required. Brown sugar crumb will keep for up to 5 days.

  • Keep oven at 170C and butter and line three 18cm-diameter cake tins with baking paper (see note). Beat sugars and butter in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (6-7 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl, then beat in eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Add flour and buttermilk alternately in 2 or 3 batches, beating to just combine, then mix in vanilla. Combine vinegar and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, stir into batter, then divide among cake tins and bake, swapping and turning tins partway through cooking, until golden brown and a skewer inserted withdraws clean (25-30 minutes). Cool in tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Trim tops flush with a serrated knife.

  • For cream cheese frosting, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale (4-5 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl, then add cream cheese and beat until fluffy (6-8 minutes).

  • To assemble, place a cake on a tray, spread with cream cheese frosting to 5mm thick, drizzle with a little salted caramel and scatter with a layer of brown sugar crumb. Repeat layering, finishing with last cake, then spread remaining cream cheese frosting over top and sides of cake with a hot palette knife. Refrigerate until required.

  • Serve cake with warmed salted caramel and extra brown sugar crumb for scattering.

Hope you enjoy!

AK xx

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