You may want an ambulance standing by if you serve this cake. It's like having the delicious filling of a really good chocolate all over the top of a wonderful cake. Sigh. What is with our cake recipes lately? :) I got this from America's Test Kitchen Best Recipes of 2010. They called it "Easy Caramel Cake," but I left the "easy" part out because I don't want anyone to confuse easy and fast. They explain in the cookbook that this is a Southern tradition and we're all about tradition around here. Tradition. TRADITION!! Enjoy.
1/2 c. buttermilk, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
16 T. unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
12 T. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
2 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. FOR THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Whisk the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in a large measuring cup. In a large bowl, mix the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat in the butter, 1 piece at a time until only pea-size pieces remain in the bowl. pour in half of the buttermilk mixture and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the remaining buttermilk mixture and beat until incorporated.
2. Scrape equal amounts of batter into the prepared pans and bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cakes completely before frosting.
3. FOR THE FROSTING: Heat 8 tablespoons of the butter, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around the perimeter of the pan, 4-8 minutes. Whisk in the cream and cook until a ring of bubbles reappears, about one minute. Off the heat, whisk in the vanilla.
4. Transfer the hot frosting mixture to a bowl and, with an electric mixer on low speed, gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the frosting is pale brown and just warm, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 piece at a times, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. Frost quickly and serve.