I have never been lucky with homemade layer cake. I tried to recreate one for our first Anniversary, and it looked like I killed the cake. Raspberry filling everywhere, the layers were sliding off…. it was awful. So, it took about 8 years for me to muster up the the confidence to attempt it again. While this cake is not without some bruises, it was absolutely delightful. So many bloggers, get it right and post the perfect shot, because why not? It’s attractive and quite talented. But, this victory was post worthy. As you can see, the cake stayed intact. I was shocked. I’m not sure what my favorite part of this cake was, the flavor, or the fact that it just stayed together as it should have. This is a caramel latte cake, so it has all the fixin’s of a latte in cake form. I was hesitant at first, but this could not have tasted better. The cake is soft, and somewhat dense but not overdone. The caramel takes this over the edge for sure. The layers of flavored frosting too. My gosh, it’s insane. I will fully admit that I tested so much frosting I was sweating once the cake was complete. But it was all for love. Every time I tasted something new I could not wait for it all to come together. The original recipe used espresso powder, which I did not have. I just brewed a small batch of strong coffee and used 1-2 tablespoons when it called for it. I honestly thought the coffee flavor was perfect just like that.
Caramel Latte Layer Cake
For the cake
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1-2 tbsp coffee
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp vinegar
For the filling and frosting
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups confectioners sugar sifter
- pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- i tbsp coffee
For the caramel sauce
- To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 in cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in one egg at a time, blending well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed and the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. You will begin and end with the flour. Mix each addition only until just incorporated. Add in the coffee.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda and vinegar (a fun littler science experiment!). Add this to the batter and mix just until incorporated. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake the cake just until set and golden brown on top, about 32-35 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for at least 20-30 minutes before removing to let cool completely.
- To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium -high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the confectioner;s sugar to the bowl and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and drop into the bowl. Add in the salt. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Mix in the heavy cream and vanilla on low speed. Once incorporated increase the speed and whip on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- To make the caramel sauce, spread the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Place over medium-low heat, watching the sugar carefully. When the sugar begins to liquefy around the edges, use a heatproof spatula to gently stir it towards the center. Continue stirring very gently until all the sugar is melted. Take care not to over stir! Measure out the heavy cream in a liquid measuring cup. Add the seeds from the vanilla bean. Set aside. Once the caramel reached a deep amber color, immediately remove the sauce pan from the heat. Carefully whisk in half of the heavy cream mixture. The caramel will steam and bubbly violently. Stir until the cream is well incorporated, then whisk in the remaining cream. Stir in the salt and the vanilla. If any of the sugar hardens, place the saucepan over low heat and whisk until smooth.
- Divide the frosting into three separate portions. Two of the portions should be larger (about 2/5, 2/5, 1/5) Leave one of the larger portions plain vanilla. To the second large portion add the espresso mixture and stir until well combined. To the third portion, add 1-2 tbsp of the caramel sauce and stir until well blended.
- To assemble the cake, level both cake rounds with a sharp serrated knife. Place one of the rounds on an 8-inch cake round (Note: I did not have cake rounds, so I placed mine directly on the cake stand)Spread a few tbsps of the caramel sauce over the bottom layer, then top with a layer of the coffee buttercream, for the filling. Place the remaining cake layer on top of the filling. Use a small amount of the vanilla buttercream to make a crumb coat. Chill the cake for at least 30 minutes.
- Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, make a ring of the coffee buttercream around the bottom third of the cake. Repeat using the caramel buttercream around the middle third of the cake, and again with the vanilla buttercream around the top third of the cake. Cover the top of the cake in the vanilla frosting as well. Use an offset spatula to smooth around the sides of the cake. Chill for 30 minutes. Once chilled, drizzle with a generous layer of caramel sauce.
Barely adapted from Everyday Annie.