clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Easier than Adele's Caramel Cake Recipe from Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly, a novel by Marie Bostwick

Easier Than Adele’s Caramel Cake



FOR THE CAKE (Makes 2 layers, 9 inches each or one 9 x 13 cake)

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups flour (for a gluten free cake, sub equal amount of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Flour. Note that the cake won’t rise quite as high, but will still taste great.)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp caramel flavoring (Watkins Caramel Flavor preferred, available on Amazon. In a pinch, you can substitute 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp rum extract.)

FOR CARAMEL FROSTING (Enough to frost 9-in layer or 9×13 cake)

  • 1 cup butter, slightly softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup thick caramel sauce (store-bought or homemade – spoonable, not pourable)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 T cream or whole milk
  • ½ to 1 tsp kosher or sea salt (according to taste, less if you’re using a salted caramel)
  • 1 tsp caramel flavor (optional but makes a difference)



  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour the cake pan(s). Stir the milk and sour cream together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the butter in a mixer and beat at medium-high until smooth. Pour in sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula and beating welling after each one.
  3. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Running the mixer on at medium-low speed, add dry ingredients to butter in the mixer, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 3 batches. Scrape down sides of bowl between additions.
  4. Stir in the caramel flavoring. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake in preheated oven, 35 minutes for 9-inch rounds, 50 minutes for 9×13 pan, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.


  1. Place butter pieces in bowl of electric mixer and beat at medium speed, until smooth. Spoon caramel into bowl in batches, beat well and scrape sides of bowl after each addition.
  2. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating well and scraping bowl after each addition. Add caramel flavoring, salt, and cream or milk.
  3. Beat the frosting at medium high speed for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Spread frosting on completely cooled cake.