Salted Caramel Layer Cake

Layers of brown sugar cake filled and topped with caramel frosting and a drizzle of fresh caramel & fleur de sel make this Salted Caramel Layer Cake a decadent, delicious and almost sinful dessert!

Salted Caramel Layer Cake by

My best friend here in Germany is PCSing (Permanent Change of Station) back to the United States this week.  When I arrived in Germany back in March 2011, Chrissy was the first friend I made.  I was given her phone number by my husbands company FRL (Family Readiness Liaison) and called her for some advice on how to adjust to life in Germany.  We were instant friends.  It wasn’t long before we were having coffee, going to lunches and volunteering together in the community.

Oh… and I baked for Chrissy and her family.  A lot.  Chrissy, her husband Jody and their two boys Evan & Braden were always the guinea pigs when it came to new recipes and taste testing.  Countless times either of our kids were running across the street (cause we only lived a block away from eachother) to deliver or picked up baked goods.  I’ve made birthday cakes for both her kids,  for her husband (Blue Ombre Layer Cake) and for many other celebrations.  I’m certain they collectively gained 20lbs during the two years we’ve been friends.

Salted Caramel Layer Cake by

But. whateves.  It’s worth it.

Cake brings people together.

And today… I have baked a Salted Caramel Layer Cake to enjoy with my best friend and say goodbye.  Layers of brown sugar caked soaked with salted caramel sauce… filled with caramel frosting and topped with more salted caramel.  Oh my.

The afternoon was spent relaxing with Chrissy and her family at my house – really, it couldn’t have been better.  We ordered pizza, drank wine, chatted, relaxed in the sunshine of my backyard.   The men smoked Cuban cigars. The kids played with friends down the street.  Bitter-sweet.  But a perfect ending to a wonderful chapter in our lives together.

let them eat cake

I know today won’t be the last time I see Chrissy.  Someday, we’ll be together again.  So… until then, I’ll keep baking… keep sharing what I bake with new friends… and always hold on to the love and joy I shared with Chrissy here in Germany.

Safe travels, VanClan!


Salted Caramel Layer Cake by

4.0 from 5 reviews
Salted Caramel Layer Cake
Layers of brown sugar cake filled and topped with caramel frosting and a drizzle of fresh caramel & fleur de sel make this Salted Caramel Layer Cake a decadent, delicious and almost sinful dessert!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 3 layer 8-inch cake
Caramel Cake
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 Tbsp (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed & room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp fleur de sel (I used sea salt and crushed it down into smaller flakes)
Caramel Frosting
  • ½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 5oz (approx 5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Caramel Cake
  1. Prepare 3 8in cake pans by buttering, lining with parchment paper and flouring.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl often.
  5. Mix in the vanilla.
  6. Add the flour and buttermilk alternating until just combined.
  7. In a measuring glass, mix together the baking soda and vinegar then add to the batter. Mix just until incorporated. Do not overmix!
  8. Separate batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans.
  9. Bake about 20 minutes or until the top and edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. In a very large, heavy saucepan or pot over medium-high heat, pour the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Whisk until melted. The sugar will clump up but will eventually completely melt. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Once the sugar has melted, stop whisking and cook until the sugar has turned into an amber color and has a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add all the butter and whisk until combined. This mixture will bubble up, but keep whisking until all the butter has melted.
  4. Slowly pour the heavy cream into the mixture and whisk until incorporated.
  5. Stir in the fleur de sel.
  6. Cool for about 10-15 minutes before using.
  7. Store leftovers in a jar with a lid and reheat before using again. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
Caramel Frosting
  1. In a medium, heavy pot, whisk together the brown sugar and 2oz of butter over medium heat until melted. Bring to a boil for no more than 10 seconds. Remove from heat immediately and pour in the heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature. NOTE: You can use an ice bath and whisk to cool quickly if you don't have time to wait.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the remaining 3oz of butter and cream cheese until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times during this process.
  3. Mix in the salt.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and pour in a slow, steady stream the brown sugar mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed until completely smooth and incorporated.
  5. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix on medium speed until smooth.
  6. The frosting will feel very soft - so refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes before frosting the cake.
  1. Once the cakes cooled, use a large skewer to poke holes across the top of the cake. Spoon a layer of caramel sauce over the top of the cake and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.
  2. Allow the caramel sauce to soak into the cake.
  3. Repeat this process with a second layer of sauce.
  4. Once all the caramel has soaked into the cake, place one layer of the cake onto your serving platter.
  5. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the layer - no more than ½ a cup of frosting.
  6. Place the second layer on top and spread another thin layer of frosting.
  7. Place the final layer of cake on top and frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  8. Drizzle the top of the cake with caramel sauce. Using a spatula, in a back and forth pattern, spread the frosting and sauce together until just incorporated and it looks like the caramel is oozing thru the top of the cake.
  9. Using a disposable piping bag and a very small tip, fill the bag with caramel sauce. Pipe a layer of sauce around the top edge of the cake, stopping every inch or so to squeeze a little more so it drizzles down the side. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
  10. Refrigerate until ready to eat - but remove 15 minutes before serving.
For more detailed instructions on how to make the caramel sauce, visit Brown Eyed Baker . She's got a great step-by-step tutorial with lots of pictures!

Cake and Frosting recipe originally from: Laura's Sweet Spot

PS – A note from one friend to another…

My dear friend, Chrissy.

These last two years have been such a joy getting to know you.  We were quick friends, best friends, like-sisters-friends.  You became my family away from my family.  I think back on all the things we’ve gone though together and I feel so blessed to have had you in my life.

I think the hardest part of all of this is… I don’t know how I’m going to live without you here in Germany.  You have been my rock.  My stability.  My sounding board.  My voice of reason.  The one person I always…. ALWAYS… knew would be honest with me and give me the advice that I really needed to hear.  The one person who I knew, without a doubt, supported, loved and cared for me through everything.  You always had my back.

As I look toward another deployment – I just can’t imagine doing it without you.  I know I have to… but I just wish you were going to be here, guiding me. loving me, supporting me though it.   I know you’ll do all those things from Georgia, but it’s just not the same without you across the street.

It’s been comforting to know that you were literally just on the next street, whenever I needed you.  Oh – and I needed you.  Daily.  hehehe  I’m so going to miss our morning phone calls – chatting about our lives, kids, husbands, Army/FRG drama.  HAHA

I love you, Chrissy – so much.  You are my best friend, my sister.  You have taught me so much about what it means to be a wife, a mother, a friend.   Your insight and wisdom has helped me through so many rough times.  You, my friend, are such a treasure in my life.

As I sit here in tears – loving you – I can only hope that the Army, our lives… will bring our paths together again.  I pray (and you know me… I don’t pray often! lol)… that we will someday be together again.

Thank you, Chrissy for being my friend.

I love you.


betsy and chrissy




    • 2


      Thanks, Elizabeth. It was amazing!!! :) And you’re right… I am so lucky to have such an amazing friend! I sometimes wish I could clone Chrissy so I can always have her with me!! hehe

      • 3

        Mary G. Jablonski says

        I don’t like cream cheese, what can I replace it with and how much? Thanks,
        This is regarding the salted carmel layer cake.

  1. 8

    Leah says

    I assume that this cake bakes at 350 degrees, but I couldn’t find the temp listed in the recipe. Am I right?

    *crosses fingers as I slide cake into oven*

  2. 16


    Made this cake this weekend loved it and so did the person who wanted it thank you so much, they enjoyed so much they are considering it for their wedding, I did refrigerate the frosting, and the cake but have you ever left it out? It would be around 5 hours in the evening

    • 17


      I’m glad everyone loved it. If you kept the cake in the fridge as long as you could… it should be okay at room temperature for a few hours but only if it’s not in a hot or humid location. It would need to be a cool room not under the lights. The frosting will definitely run if it’s too warm. :)

  3. 18


    Hi Betsy! This cake looks absolutely delicious! I would like to make it this weekend for my sons’ baptism, but I’m not too experienced with making cakes, especially layered ones! I am wondering, how many servings does this make? Thanks.

    • 19


      Ooohh.. you could easily 20 servings…. maybe even 25-30 depending on how thin you cut the cake. Since it’s three layers of cake and frosting, big slices really aren’t necessary!! :) Let me know how it turns out for you!

  4. 23

    lisa says

    I made the cake to direction and everything turned out wonderful except the caramel sauce. I had to use a store bought since I ran out of time and ingredients. Mine tasted awful and burnt even though I used the candy thermometer and followed the specifics to a tee. :( Sad.

    • 24


      Oh that’s a bummer, Lisa. I know I’m not good at making the caramel sauce either. Practice makes perfect for me. Anything that is made with a candy thermometer is usually not my best work. Hopefully next time you’ll try it again and it’ll turn out better for you! Good luck and happy baking!

  5. 25

    Ronalyn says

    Hi, I’m from the UK and I’m about to try your recipe.
    Just wondering whether the sugar you use for the cake and caramel sauce is just normal sugar (granulated) or caster sugar (super fine)?
    Let me know asap please and thanks!

  6. 27

    Mare says

    I made this last fall for friends because I am a huge salted caramel fan and it was a hit! My friends raved about it. I saved a slice and froze it for a rainy day, which ended up being last weekend. It was as delicious as I remembered it. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  7. 29

    January says

    This is the most beautiful cake I’ve ever made… loved all your directions on how to “decorate” it! I made it for my mother’s birthday tomorrow, but I’m a bit nervous because the caramel sauce had a burnt taste to it. How can I avoid that next time?

    • 30


      I have a hard time with the caramel sauce burning too…. really watch the temperature. If you have any doubts, cook it slightly less next time. Or… if you’re like me, use caramel sauce from a jar! :) hehe I’m really not that great at making caramel!

      • 31


        Haha! Sounds good! I really loved the whole cake, and I so wanted to try it again… I’ll just cook it less (and have some in a jar as a back up)! But again, I love all your detailed instructions! That’s what made me choose this recipe as I am a bit of an amateur! Thanks so much for sharing!

        • 32


          Thank you so much for that great feedback! What you said is exactly why I blog about what I bake. I love that how I presented this recipe made you want to try it! That’s my #1 goal of blogging…. create things that the home baker can make without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by difficult instructions! So THANK YOU for your comments and feedback! xoxo

  8. 33

    Heidi says

    Hi Betsy! I love salted caramel, so I really look forward to trying this cake! We have a lot in common. I am an Army wife living in Bavaria, Germany, too. I love to bake and share my goodies with my friends. I am so glad to have found your website. It will get me through my husbands deployment!

  9. 37

    vani says

    Hi, I would love to bake this this weekend for a friends birthday..But was just wondering…does the frosting come out even .i mean can i frost it like a perfect buttercream/ganache??

  10. 41

    Carly says

    This cake looks amazing and I’m going to make it for my girlfriends birthday. I’m im Australia, just wondering if the flour is SR or plain (all purpose flour)?

    I’m assuming all purpose given it’s got vinegar and baking powder in it??

  11. 43

    Joyce says

    Can’t wait to taste this cake. I have to say, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a recipe that refers to butter measurements in ounces. Thought that was odd.

    • 44


      I live in Germany – so a lot of my recipes have some measurements in metric. It’s actually much more accurate than to measure in weight than volume. Luckily, most butter packages tell you how much each stick weighs so it should be easy to manage. :) Hope the cake turns out well for you!

    • 46


      Cake flour has a different chemical make up than all purpose flour. You might be able to use it, but I’d really suggest buying all purpose flour to get the same cake that is in this recipe. Happy Baking! :)

      • 47

        Tory says

        Thanks for your reply! I’m going to make this for a friend of mine, it’s his birthday, but he’s from the south, i mean the southern US, do you think the cream cheese frosting deviates a lot from the “traditional” caramel cake he’s probably talking about when he says he likes it?? He’s been to every fancy restaurant in the world it seems, so my hands are full in this endeavor! thanks again!

        • 48


          There’s nothing traditional about this cake! hhehe :) And to be honest, I’m not sure I know the “traditional” caramel cake he’s referring to. I’d never had a caramel cake before I made this one. BUT… Everyone who has made this LOVES it! :) Happy Baking!

  12. 49

    Maslin says

    Oh my… this cake is amazing. The caramel sauce is out of this world! I did not use all the sauce on the cake so I pour it on my cinnamon rolls that I made later as well. Bliss.. Thank you so much for sharing the fabulous recipe

  13. 51

    Nur says

    Hi Betsy,
    Am in the midst of making this wonderful yummy licious looking cake!The cake the salted caramel syrup turned out PERFECT but….my frosting is way toooo runny. It has been in the fridge for an hour now and am still not getting the consistency am looking for thus it’s hard to frost onto the cake. :( Any idea where or how i could fix it??

  14. 58

    Olivia says

    Hi Betsy,

    How long would you say you can keep this cake in the fridge for after putting the frosting on? Looks amazing, can’t wait to try and make this!

    • 59


      Until it’s gone! I’d say 2-3 days then the cake will start to dry out. Maybe up to a week if you keep it sealed and put saran wrap over the cake. Send me a picture! I want to see your cake! :)

  15. 60

    Meggan says

    I made this cake for my dad’s birthday this weekend! It was delicious and worth all of the work! Everyone loved it! Thank you for sharing. :)

  16. 62

    mae says

    I made it for my daughter’s birthday. it’s good but it’s too sweet for me. probably if I’m going to make it again, i’ll lessen the sugar specially for the frosting.

  17. 64


    Hi! I just found your recipe for this amazing looking cake. My husband’s birthday is coming up and he LOVES salted caramel anything so this cake looks perfect! I do have one question pertaining to the assembly section – you indicated poking holes across the top of the cake, letting that soak in and then adding another layer. Then it moves into the assembly of the three layers and adding frosting on each. My question is do you do the hole poking/adding caramel sauce on all three layers letting it soak in before putting the cake together with the frosting? I am so excited to try this cake!


    • 65


      Hi Ila – Great question. Just poke holes with the sauce on the bottom two layers. Poking the holes and letting the sauce ooze into those two layers add as an extra filling for the cake. It’s sooo yummo! :) Happy Baking!

  18. 66

    Sarah says

    Hi! I made the cake portion yesterday and it didn’t rise. At all..was more like a really dense pancake. So, I thought maybe I overmixed it or something and retried last night. Same result. Barely rose… :( I went ahead and just cobbled it together, doused it in caramel sauce (which turned out amazing) and frosted it. Any tips on why maybe the cake didn’t rise? I’m in Los Angeles at sea level, so wasn’t sure if I needed to adjust the amount of baking soda, perhaps? I brought the leftovers into work this morning and people still freaked out over it, but I wonder what it would taste like if it had risen more. Instead, the cake portion tasted more like cornbread…hmmm.

    • 67


      Hi Sarah… Sorry to hear about your experience! Ack. I hate it when those things happen. How old is your baking soda? Sometimes old leavening agents don’t work like they’re supposed to. Also, have you tested your oven temperature? Maybe it’s not quite hot enough? The cake portion of this cake really isn’t a light, fluffy cake… it’s rich and dense. Short of being there with you to help… I can’t really say what went wrong. Sorry, friend! I’m glad it still tasted good for you!! xxoo

  19. 70


    I made this today for my sister-in-law’s birthday cake, and it was a hit! I used a 7in tin (3 times because I only have the one!), and I only ended up using 2 tiers. I used 2tsp of Dead Sea salt in the caramel, and I left the sides un-iced. It was loved by all! The birthday girl took the leftover caramel sauce home for ice cream lol.

  20. 72

    Marguerite Booker says

    For over 30 years my daughter has requested a strawberry short cake for her birthday. This year she wanted a caramel layer cake and I came across this recipe. It was positively divine! I could literally eat the caramel sauce by the spoonful! It was that good! It is a bit time consuming but was well worth it! Thank you so much for the recipe–this one’s a keeper!

    • 73


      That makes me so happy to hear Marguerite! xxoo And you’re right… it takes a bit of time, but like a friend reminded me of today… nothing good ever comes easy! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  21. 74

    Denice says

    im going to attempt to make your spectacular cake gluten free just wondering if any of your fan base have tried this…?

  22. 76

    Sweta says

    This cake looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. Planning to make it this weekend for my friend’s birthday. I have a question though. I have 3 9 inches cake pans instead of 8 inches. Do you think I should make changes to the recipe or go ahead as it is.

    Thanks a ton in advance!


    • 77


      Hi Sweta –

      You shouldn’t have to worry about altering the recipe, but I’d just watch the baking time, it may take a little less since the pans are bigger. Happy Baking!


      • 78

        Sweta says

        Thanks a ton! Will let you know how it turns out. This is the first time I am trying a layer cake. Keeping my fingers crossed… :)

      • 79

        Sweta says

        The cake turned out amazing. Everyone raved about it. This was my first time frosting a layer cake so it did not turn out as pretty as my cupcakes usually do but it tasted delicious. Thank you! Can’t wait to try your other recipes. Thank you for this amazing recipe. Xoxo

  23. 81

    lucie cameron says

    I tested out your recipe on my sister for a celebration for their last exams and everyone really enjoyed it. I was wondering if I was to make the base of this cake in cupcakes how many do you think it would make?

  24. 83

    Stella says

    Hi Betsy
    what a beautiful cake that is, and it sounds awesome too………… I just wondering, is the recipe enough to make a 11×15 sheet cake? I was asked to make a caramel cake and this recipe fits the bill….
    thank you so much for sharing

  25. 84

    Pat says

    Absolutely amazing cake. I just want to say: Don’t be afraid to make your own caramel sauce! It is really not hard, but I do a couple of things differently than Betsy. First, she says to “whisk” the sugar. I use a wooden spoon and just stir and stir and stir until the sugar is liquid. Also, she says it takes 4-5 minutes, but I think it can take a lot longer. Just keep stirring. It will happen. Next, when she says “heavy” saucepan she means heavy! I have very good success with Le Creuset, so if you have something that heavy, use it. Finally, I think it should always be pointed out when discussing melting sugar that this is NOT an activity in which children should participate. Melted sugar is probably the hottest food substance known to man and if it sticks to your skin … it’s horrible. So take care and also realize that it doesn’t cool down quickly. The first time I made caramel sauce, I tried to lick the wooden spoon a few minutes afterward, when the sugar had already hardened on the spoon. I learned a hard lesson because it was still ridiculously hot. All that said – it is so worth making your own. It is not hard, it is delicious, and it is impressive! Thanks for a fabulous recipe, Betsy – I will be making this again and again.

    • 85


      Hi Pat! I so appreciate your feedback. I’m always looking to learn and grow as a baker. I love the info you left here and will be using your tips when I make caramel again! xoxo -Betsy

  26. 86

    Molly says

    Made this today for my son’s 18th bday. He loves salted caramel anything. I thought it was a weird recipe. To have butter measured in three different ways for the three different components of the cake was frustrating (cups in cake itself, Tbsps in sauce and oz in frosting??) It was a lengthy process overall, which I could tell from reading the recipe. I’m fine with that if the end product is spectacular, but no one loved this cake. The icing is really weird and thin, even after the recommended refrigeration. And the icing is waaaaaaay to sweet. Pretty disappointing. I thought it would be amazing.

    • 87


      I’m sorry you found the recipe so disappointing. You are right… there’s a lot that goes into making this cake, very labor intense! I updated the recipe so that the butter measurements aren’t so confusing. Hope it helps!

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