Anytime I make the effort to actually bake a layer cake it usually means its a special occasion. Well- can you believe I planned to bake this cake exactly a year ago? I actually decided that every year I’d make this cake and on August 25th I’d eat it with Andy to celebrate our wedding anniversary. How has it been a year?? I feel like just yesterday I was frantically DIY-ing the heck out of that thing in my living room, planning every detail and feeling like it was so far away. How here we are, married a year, and on the road to parenthood. Time sure does fly huh?
We didn’t have a traditional wedding cake, but instead had a fabulous dessert bar with a small cutting cake in the middle. My flavor choice is likely not a surprise, and though I don’t think I ate more than the bite Andy & I fed each other- I remember thinking that cake was darn good. How can you go wrong with flavors like this? Since my memory of our wedding cake was iffy- I didn’t have much to draw from except I knew it was a fluffy vanilla cake with soft caramel sauce and salted caramel frosting as the filling. I went with that and actually think my recreation is spot on! This cake is sweet, salty and oh so good. I look forward to making it for the next 50 years!! ;)
We spent our anniversary in DC, wandering through museums and eating some fabulous meals along the way. Throughout the day I kept looking at the time and saying, “One year ago at this moment I was getting into the limo!!” or “I bet at this exact moment we had our first dance!” Then I made us watch our wedding video and I got weepy thinking about my favorite day ever. I look forward to this next chapter, making new favorite days and memories, but this first anniversary sure was a sentimental one!
- 1 1/2 cup white sugar
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (or a combo of extract, vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup salted caramel sauce*, cooled.
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons cream or milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter, flour and line with parchment 2 8x8 round baking pans. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and beat on high speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale. Stir in the vanilla.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt, and add to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, starting and ended with the flour mixture. Don't over-beat the batter.
- Pour batter into the prepared pans evenly, smoothing tops with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Cream butter until smooth and fluffy. Add powdered sugar a cup at a time and beat until well combined. Add 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cream or milk if desired if your frosting seems a little dry.
- Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake stand. Use a fork to poke some holes along the surface of the cake. Carefully spread 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce over the cake layer, letting it soak into the cake. Top with a thick layer of frosting.
- Add the second cake layer with the flattest side facing up. Repeat the process of poking the cake with a fork, adding the remaining caramel sauce, and topping with frosting. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired.
*If you don't want to make homemade caramel, store bought is fine- just add a teaspoon of sea salt.
Vanilla cake recipe loosely adapted from: All Recipes