Caramel cake is a classic Southern dessert, but not many people are familiar with it. With this recipe for Southern Caramel Sheet Cake, you can learn how to make this old-fashioned recipe from scratch. This caramel cake recipe is great to make for holidays because it can serve a crowd and doesn’t require any assembly as a layer cake does.

The moist and dense cake is complemented by the rich and thick caramel frosting that is made from a combination of butter, sugar, and cream. The icing can be made in just a few minutes. Just melt some butter in a saucepan. Remove it from the heat and whisk in some brown sugar and milk and then some powdered sugar.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Southern Caramel Icing Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Milk for thinning if needed


  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 15 x 10 x 1″ baking sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter and water to a boil.
  2. In the meantime, in a separate large bowl, whisk together the cake flour and sugar before adding the eggs, sour cream, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix to combine. While mixing, slowly pour in the boiling butter and water mixture. Mix to combine completely. Your batter will be very runny. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Make the icing: In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar together over medium heat until they’re melted together and combined.
  6. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking periodically, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Watch it the whole cooking time to be sure it doesn’t burn, and you’ll need to whisk more often toward the end of the cooking time.
  7. If it starts to get too thick but isn’t the right color yet, you can whisk in a little milk to thin it out and keep cooking.
  8. The caramel will thicken to coat the back of a wooden spoon and cook to the dark golden color.
  9. When it’s ready, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour it over your cake and spread it evenly over the surface.