Upside Down Caramel Corn Drip Cake

I’ve wanted to make a caramel corn cake for the longest time (I’ve always been so enamored with Tessa’s caramel corn cake!!), so I decided to make it for this week’s Food Network Livestream! I opted to make the caramel from scratch, but ended up using a bag of caramel corn from the store!! I’ve included a link to a great caramel corn recipe though, if you have the time and are feeling adventurous 🙂 The recipe for this cake can be found below:


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line four 7” (for taller layers) or 8″ round pans.

Begin by making the vanilla cake layers. Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.

Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.

Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.  Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed. Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Using a spatula, carefully fold in sprinkles.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-37 minutes if using 8 inch pans, or 37-38 minutes for 7 inch cake pans (or until a skewer comes out clean). Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. Place cake layers on a rack to finish cooling, or in the freezer to accelerate the process. Once chilled, level the layers using a serrated knife.

While the layers bake and cool, make the caramel! Turn stove onto medium heat, and place a  pot over element. Pour in sugar. Using a heat proof stirring utensil (I use an old-fashioned wooden spoon), stir until sugar begins to melt into a clear liquid. Continue to stir, until clumps of sugar begin to form. Slowly the color of the sugar clump will deepen from white to amber. Keep stirring until all the clump of sugar have dissolved, and then turn off the heat. Mix in butter slowly, then stir in cream and salt. Place in fridge to cool for 20 minutes, then pour into desired container. I put mine in a squirt bottle, to make it easier to drizzle. Set aside.

Next, prepare the buttercream frosting. Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream. Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in cream (1 teaspoon at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).

Place 1/3 of the frosting in a separate bowl, and add in 3/4 cup of caramel. Mix until fully incorporated.

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Stack and frost layers on a cardboard cake round, topped with an acetate sheet (optional, but it makes it way easier to flip to make the upside down drip). Frost an even layer of caramel buttercream between each cake layer, and add a generous drizzle of caramel. If desired, you can also sprinkle in some chopped caramel corn. Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat with any remaining caramel frosting, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes. Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add a second layer of vanilla frosting. Smooth using a bench scraper. You can see a full tutorial on how to frost a cake with smooth sides here.

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To make the upside down caramel drip, chill the cake for 30 minutes in the freezer (the cake needs to be VERY cold for the drips to stay in place). Use a second cardboard round, and carefully invert the cake. Gently peel off the acetate sheet, then add on the caramel drip. Always be sure to do a test drip, to ensure that your caramel is at the right temperature. Place the cake back in the freezer for another 30 minutes, to ensure the drips chill to keep them in place.

Remove from the freezer, then flip back right side up. Use the remaining frosting to create a cone of frosting on top of the cake.

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Carefully press caramel corn into the frosting, using extra caramel to help secure the pieces of popcorn in place.

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Add a final drizzle of caramel over the top of the popcorn, and a bit of extra caramel around the base of the popcorn pile.

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Then it’s time to cut into the cake, and enjoy all of that caramel!

Caramel corn cake slice

Salted Caramel Layer Cake

One of my favorite partners is rolling off our engagement this year, and our team is throwing him a big going-away party. Of course, I wanted to make a cake. But this cake needed to be special. It needed to be something I’ve never made before. It needed….to involve salted caramel!! After a lot of thought, I decided to make this Salted Caramel Layer Cake. So gathered up my ingredients and got started:

Caramel Cake:
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3/4 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 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
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

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I started with the cake base. I prepared my 8in cake pans by buttering and flouring them, then lining them with parchment paper. I then preheated my oven to 350 degrees, and began making the batter. Using my hand mixer, I creamed together the butter and sugars. I then added the eggs one at a time, mixing until each one was incorporated. Next I added the vanilla, then alternated adding the flour and buttermilk. In a separate container, I mixed the vinegar and baking soda together, then stirred the mixture into the batter. I mixed the batter until it was just incorporated, then evenly poured the batter into my cake pans. I baked them in two batches since my oven can only fit two cake pans at a time, and let bake for about 20 minutes (until they were golden brown and my toothpick came out clean). I let them cool on a wire rack until they were completely cool and ready for assembly.

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While the cake layers were baking, I made the salted caramel sauce. I poured the sugar into a large, heavy bottomed pot, and whisked it until it was completely melted (about 5 minutes). The sugar clumped in the beginning, but eventually melted completely. I then stopped whisking the let the sugar cook until it turned a beautiful amber color, and had a nutty aroma. I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I go completely by visual cues. At this point, I removed the mixture from the heat and whisked in the butter, then the cream. It will bubble up, so be careful during this stage (I burned my finger!). The last step was to stir in the salt, and let it cool to room temperature. I stored the leftover caramel in a mason jar. It will last in your fridge for about two weeks.

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The last step was the caramel frosting. To make it, I whisked together the brown sugar and 1/2 stick of butter on medium in a heavy sauce pan until it was melted. I brought it to a boil for just a few seconds, them immediately removed it from the heat, and stirred in the heavy cream. I continued whisking this until it was smooth, then let it cool to room temperature. As it cooled, I creamed together the remaining stick of butter and cream cheese until it was smooth. I then mixed in the salt, and slowly incorporated the brown sugar mixture. I then added the powdered sugar, and mixed on medium high until it was fluffy and smooth. To make assembly easier, I chilled the frosting for about 30 minutes before I began layering the cake.

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For the assembly, I placed my cake layer on the my platter and poked holes throughout the layer with a chop stick (I didn’t have any skewers, but it worked just fine!) I then spooned caramel sauce over the layer, and then used an offset spatula to spread a thin layer of frosting over the top. The frosting will most likely mix with the caramel sauce a bit, but that’s ok! I then repeated this process for each layer, and frosted the entire cake from top to bottom. For aesthetic effects, I drizzled caramel over the top, then I made a frosting boarder around the top rim and bottom of the cake. (I’m not sure which wilton tip I used, but I think any of them would work). I then sprinkled a dash of salt on top, and refrigerated it until it was time to cut it. Despite the whole caramel sauce thing, this cake took less time to make than usual! I highly recommend it.

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Next time I might try to double the cake batter to make more layers. It ended up being about 4 inches tall, but I like my cakes to be at least 8 inches high.

Overall, I’d say the cake turned out great! It was relatively dense since I made such thin layers, but actually liked the texture.  It was a big hit 😀

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