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Hattie Bell's Caramel Cake

Author Mrs. Hattie Bell Johnson, Carthage, MS

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Caramel Icing

  • 3.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 2 tbsp white Karo
  • 1/2 cup Cremora
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Cream butter, add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add whole eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla to milk. Sift flour and baking powder. Add part of flour mixture, add milk and then remaining flour and beat until smooth. Pour batter into three greased and lightly floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake 30 minutes in preheated 375-degree oven.

For the Icing

  1. Mix sugar, Cremora, Karo, and milk in a large pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup sugar that has been browned, cooking until it forms a soft ball when dropped into cold water. Add butter and vanilla and cook until butter dissolves. Beat until icing is right for spreading between layers, then beat until creamy for icing the remainder of the cake.

Recipe Notes

I have passed along Hattie Bell's Caramel Cake recipe exactly as it was written in the New Hope Baptist Church Cook Book. This collection of favorite recipes was published to honor the American Revolution Bicentennial 1776-1976.

I will add a few clarifications. These steps represent the "art part."

  • Be sure not to overcook the cake so that it will not be dry.
  • Cook the icing in a 5 quart, non-stick pot. Use powdered Cremora. In addition to the 3 1/2 cups of sugar required in the recipe, brown 1/2 cup of sugar in a small, non-stick skillet during the time that the sugar, milk, Karo, and Cremora are cooking.
  • I use a candy thermometer and cook the icing to 236-237 degrees, still applying the soft ball text that is required in the recipe.
  • After adding the butter and vanilla to the icing, I beat the icing with a mixer until it reaches the right consistency to spread between the layers. I then beat the icing by hand until it reaches a creamy consistency that is right for icing the remainder of the cake.
  • Remember that no shortcuts are allowed. Always use patience, persistence, perseverance, and love to get the icing "just right."