Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake

Active Time:

45 mins

Total Time:

4 hrs

Servings:

16

This caramel pound cake combines the two quintessential Southern cakes—pound cake and caramel cake—into one. The result is a surefire crowd-pleaser. It has all the height and visual appeal of a layer cake (not to mention, a stellar cake-to-frosting ratio), but guests will be surprised to discover that there’s actually a moist pound cake tucked beneath the ribbons of caramel icing.

Since the cake is just one layer, it’s easy to assemble and decorate, but the result is sure to stun as a party centerpiece. The caramel-frosted pound cake is flavored with a hint of almond extract, adding a nutty note to the cake that complements the sweetness of the caramel frosting.

It may seem intimidating to make homemade caramel, but this photo-worthy frosting is a great place to start. Spreading the frosting with an offset spatula as instructed in the recipe is the key to getting those signature swoops. This rich pound cake will be a great addition to any dessert spread.

Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake sliced on a cake plate to serve
GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY

Ingredients for Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake

To make this decadent dessert, you’ll need:

  • Shortening: For greasing the cake pan for an easy release.
  • Granulated sugar: Sweetens the cake and frosting.
  • Butter: Creamed into the pound cake and cooked into the caramel frosting for a rich, buttery texture.
  • Large eggs: Binds the cake batter.
  • Vanilla and almond extracts: Enhances and deepens the flavor of the cake. You can include both extracts, or limit to one or the other if preferred.
  • All-purpose flour: The base of the cake.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Added to the cake batter for a rich, tender crumb.
  • Milk: Cooked into the frosting for a smooth, spreadable consistency.
Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake Ingredients
GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY

How To Make Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake

Making caramel from scratch may be intimidating, but using a thermometer will ensure consistent results every time. Full instructions are below, but here’s a brief recap before you get started:

  • Step 1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  • Step 2. Beat 3 cups sugar and 1 cup butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. Add flour alternately with cream, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into pan.
  • Step 3. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack 10 to 15 minutes; then remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely.
  • Step 4. Heat 1/4 cup sugar in a skillet over medium heat until amber colored (do not stir). Meanwhile, heat remaining remaining sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan to boiling. Stir in caramelized sugar with a whisk; cook until a thermometer registers 232°F. Remove from heat; cool about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until frosting is spreadable.
  • Step 5. Spread frosting over cake. Let stand 30 minutes before slicing.

Tips for the Best Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake

For a luscious caramel-frosted pound cake, keep these tips in mind:

  • Grease the pan: Having your Bundt cake stick to the pan can be a frustrating experience. Grease and flour the pan for an easy release, or try out cake goop instead.
  • Don’t overmix: Overmixing cake batter leads to gluten development, which could create a rubbery cake rather than a moist and tender one. When alternating dry ingredients and cream, beat to combine between additions, but try not to overdo it.
  • Bake just until the cake springs back: Overbaking can dry out the pound cake. Bake only until the cake springs back and a wooden pick inserted comes out clean to make sure your cake remains moist.
  • Use a thermometer: When making the caramel frosting, a few degrees more or less can make a big difference in the final texture of your frosting. Use a thermometer for best results.
  • Work quickly: The frosting will set up firm, so work quickly once it’s spreadable to coat the cake before it sets.

Can I Make Caramel-Frosted Pound Cake Ahead?

Prepare this pound cake up to three days ahead. Store, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve. You can also wrap and refrigerate the cake for up to one week, or freeze, sliced or whole, for up to three months for longer storage. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake sliced on a plate to serve
GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY

More Pound Cake Recipes You’ll Love

From coconut to chocolate, a good pound cake will never steer you wrong:

  • Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  • Buttermilk Pound Cake
  • Classic Chocolate Pound Cake
  • Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake with Lavender Glaze
  • Triple-Chocolate Buttermilk Pound Cake
  • Strawberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  • Million Dollar Pound Cake
  • Key Lime Pound Cake
  • Coconut Pound Cake

Editorial contributions by Katie Rosenhouse.

Ingredients

Pound Cake:

  • Shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Caramel Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk

Directions

  1. Prepare oven and tube pan:Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch (16-cup) tube pan with shortening.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake preparing the panGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY
  2. Make batter:Beat 3 cups sugar and 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake beating the butter and sugarGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYAdd eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake adding the eggs to the cake batter GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYBeat in vanilla and almond extract.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake adding the extracts to the cake batter GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYAdd flour alternately with whipping cream, beginning and ending with flour, beating well after each addition.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake adding the flour and cream GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYBeat at medium speed 2 minutes.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake batter after mixingGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYPour batter into pan.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake adding the batter to the panGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY
  3. Bake pound cake:Bake at 325°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake after baking on the cooling rackGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY
  4. Meanwhile, make the Caramel Frosting:Heat 1/4 cup sugar in an 8- or 10-inch skillet over medium heat until amber colored, about 6 minutes, shaking pan occasionally (do not stir).Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake caramelizing the sugarGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYMeanwhile, heat remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, butter, and milk in a 3-qt. saucepan to boiling over medium-high heat.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake preparing the frosting GREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYGradually stir in caramelized sugar with a whisk.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake whisking in the caramelized sugarGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYCook until a candy thermometer registers 232°F. Remove from heat; cool, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until frosting is smooth and spreadable.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake after the frosting has been preparedGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY
  5. Frost cake:Using an offset spatula and working quickly, spread Caramel Frosting over cake (frosting will harden as it cools).Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake spreading the frosting on the cakeGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELYLet stand 30 minutes before slicing.Southern Living Caramel Frosted Pound Cake spreading the frosting on the cakeGREG DUPREE; FOOD STYLIST: ANA KELLY; PROP STYLIST: CHRISTINE KEELY