The recipe for this butter cake draped in caramel fudge icing is based on a cake originally made by Louise Hodges, a home cook from Carmack, Mississippi. This recipe first appeared in our March 2012 issue, with Ben Mims' story Sweet Southern Dreams.
The recipe for this butter cake draped in caramel fudge icing is based on a cake originally made by Louise Hodges, a home cook from Carmack, Mississippi.
For the Cake
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
3 cups cake flour, plus more for pans, sifted
2 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
For the Icing
3 1⁄2 cups sugar
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
2 (15-oz. ) cans evaporated milk
Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 9″ cake pans, and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. Whisk together milk and vanilla in a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, alternately add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high and beat until batter is smooth, about 5 seconds. Divide batter among prepared pans, and smooth top with a rubber spatula; drop pans lightly on a counter to expel any large air bubbles. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks, and let cool.
Make the icing and assemble the cake: Whisk together 3 cups sugar, butter, milk, and egg in a 6-qt. copper saucepan or Dutch oven; set aside. Heat remaining sugar in a small skillet over high heat, and cook, swirling pan, until sugar melts into an amber caramel, about 2 minutes. Immediately pour caramel into milk mixture, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; attach a candy thermometer to side of pan, and cook, stirring bottom constantly with a wooden spoon, until thermometer reads 232°, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and baking soda; let sit for 1 minute. Using a hand mixer, beat caramel mixture on medium-low speed until the consistency of loose pudding, about 1 minute. Immediately place one cake on a cake stand and pour over 1⁄2 cup caramel icing; top with second cake and pour over 1⁄2 cup icing. Top with third cake and pour remaining icing around the top edge of cake and then over the center. Quickly spread icing over sides of cake; let icing cool completely before serving. Store at room temperature.