Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Help Serve a Southern Cake.

In 2009, Kathyrn Stockett introduced us to the Southern black maids' view of the 1960's Equal Rights Movement. Even though the book was supposed to be written by a white young lady; "Skeeter" made sure that the maids were the focal point of our understanding. In 2011, the movie version of the book came out; it was a story that made many reminisce about the 1960's era, or introduced itself to those ignorant of that part of American history.

However, this post is not about the book, its meanings or the history behind it; this post is about the cake. Caramel cake to be more precise, which is mentioned time and again by the maids. It was served for special occasions, luncheons or simply as a feel good food. Depending on what recipe you read, the cake itself could be yellow or white; dense, or as airy as angel food cake; even the frosting differed from thick and smooth to thin and running down the sides of the cake.

Well I'm going to give you my simplified version of this most sinful cake and I hope it make you feel good, no matter why.

Caramel Cake

For the Cake

8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F; coat 2 (8 inch) round cake pans with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Lightly spray the paper with the baking spray; if you cannot find baking spray, use regular cooking spray and lightly dust with flour.

In a large bowl, at medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy; beat the eggs in one at a time. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add half the flour and half the milk into the large bowl and beat on low speed until just combined; add the remaining flour, milk and vanilla extract; blend well.

Pour even amounts into each cake pan; bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes cleanly out of the centers of the cakes. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes before removing; peel off parchment paper from bottoms and cool cakes on wire rack while making the frosting.

For the Frosting

1 cup dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp butter
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt 2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk


In a large saucepan, medium heat, combine all frosting ingredients and bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, continue cooking mixture until it thickens.

Assembling the Cake

Place one cake layer on plate and spread 1/3 of the frosting over the top. Place other cake layer on top of first; frost top and sides with remaining frosting.

Options: sprinkle with chopped pecans or peanuts; Heathbar or Skor bits. Makes 16 servings.

Mary Cokenour


  1. That looks so delicious. Wish I could reach through the screen and grab that slice of cake right now. The recipe looks easy too. Thank you for sharing. I will try this for Thanksgiving this year.