Salted caramel layer cake

There's a lot going on in this cake - layers of brown sugar cake, salted caramel, cream cheese frosting and brown sugar crumb for texture. It all adds up to salty-sweet deliciousness, which is well worth every step. To make things easier, the caramel, crumb and frosting can all be made several days ahead.

You'll need

140 gm brown sugar 140 gm raw caster sugar 120 gm softened butter 3 eggs 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour 80 ml (1/3 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


  • 01
  • 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.
  • 02
  • 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.
  • 03
  • 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.
  • 04
  • 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).
  • 05
  • 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.
  • 06
  • Serve cake with warmed salted caramel and extra brown sugar crumb for scattering.

At A Glance

  • Serves 12 - 14 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 12 - 14 people

Additional Notes

If you don’t have three 18cm cake tins, bake a third of the cake mixture at a time, washing, buttering and lining the tin each time.

Featured in

Nov 2016

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