Mini Caramel Layer Cakes

By Erin McDowell
April 25, 2018
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Author Notes: This is one of the most decadent cakes from my book, The Fearless Baker. A classic Southern cake with dense cake layers and a sweet, fudgy frosting—it’s always a crowd pleaser. It miniaturizes perfectly and makes as perfect a tiny cake as it does a full size one. Erin McDowell

Food52 Review: For more on how to make mini layer cakes, see the full guide.The Editors

Makes: 9 mini 3-layer cakes
Prep time: 2 hrs
Cook time: 25 min

Caramel Cake

  • 271 grams (2 1/4 cups) all purpose
  • 6 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 226 grams (4 large) eggs, at room temperature
  • 14 grams (1 large) egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 266 grams (1 1/4 cups) packed dark brown sugar
  • 333 grams (1 1/3 cups) heavy cream
  • 7 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 170 grams (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 319 grams (1 1/2 cups) packed dark brown sugar
  • 91 grams (1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons) heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) fine sea salt
  • 7 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 510 grams (4 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
  1. Make the cake: preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 x 18 inch baking sheet with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the eggs and brown sugar on low speed to combine. Turn speed up to high and continue to whip until the mixture is slightly more pale and very thick, 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and whip for 1 minute more.
  4. Sprinkle about ¼ of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and mix on low speed just until incorporated. Add the remaining flour in 3 additions.
  5. Gradually drizzle the cream into the batter, mixing just until incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake until the cake springs back lightly when touched in the very center, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 17-20 minutes. Cool completely.
  7. Use a 2 inch round cutter to cut 27 rounds from the cake. Set aside.
  8. Make the frosting: in a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, cream, and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring frequently to prevent scorching or sticking, until it has thickened slightly 3-4 minutes.
  9. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. The frosting should be smooth, creamy and thick, but it’s crystallized and can set up quickly. If needed, the frosting can be thinned to spreadable consistency with additional cream (or milk).
  10. To build the cakes, place about 1 tablespoon of frosting on each layer, and stack the cakes three layers tall. Use the remaining frosting to frost the outside of the cakes (all swirly is my personal preference).

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