Make Ahead

Mini Caramel Layer Cakes

April 25, 2018
4 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes 9 mini 3-layer cakes
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 Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Erin Jeanne McDowell
    Erin Jeanne McDowell
  • Shopping123!
  • Darian
  • Alexy
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

4 Reviews

Shopping123! February 19, 2022
I LOVE you and have learned so much, but on this recipe the amount of powdered sugar in the frosting is so overwhelming it really ruined the whole dessert. Way, way too sweet (and I have a sweet tooth AND I cut back on the powdered sugar the recipe called for!)
I almost think it is a typo??
Darian April 28, 2019
Oh my, sinfully delicious! Instead of mini layer cakes I divided the sponge in three. We put the caramel frosting between the layers but then did a white chocolate ganache for the top. The caramel and white chocolate really worked well together, even better than I had expected. This was the kind of cake that I wanted to just keep eating!
Alexy May 1, 2018
the number of eggs isn't mentioned?
Erin J. May 1, 2018
Sorry about that- it's been amended!