Food Journal: Buttermilk Caramel Cake


This recipe was born of a need to use up excess whey. I didn’t think much of it, just your basic squishy cake, yet there was a lot of interest in this cake the other day when I posted it on Instagram, so I thought it garnered a post. This is an easy old-fashioned cake, large enough for bringing to a picnic or potluck, perfect to bring to a neighbor in need of comfort, or just good to have around for those cake-y cravings. It truly comes together in just a few minutes. It’s like a coffee cake, but bouncier in texture, as opposed to crumbier. Such a forgiving cake! If you only have one egg, use 1/4 cup applesauce instead, which is what I did for the one above. Whey or buttermilk are interchangeable. If you don’t have either, use milk with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in it. Or half yogurt mixed with half milk. Let me know how it comes out! I’ve made it only twice, so I’d love to hear what you changed or tweaked!

Buttermilk Caramel Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a glass 8×12 pan well. (9×13 will work as well, maybe better! I am a thrift store shopper, and all my pans are weird sizes…) 

3 cups of all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup brown sugar (or half white/half brown)

2 eggs

2 cups of buttermilk or whey

1/2 cup of oil (I use safflower)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

1/4 to 1/3 cup caramel sauce (the only non-pantry item in here, you can absolutely leave this out. Of course, then it will not be a buttermilk caramel cake, but just a buttermilk cake.)

Put all dry ingredients into a bowl. Whisk up wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour the wet into the dry. Mix thoroughly, but don’t over mix. Pour half the mixture into the prepared pan. Then, using a spoon or measuring cup, drizzle caramel sauce throughout. Add the rest of the batter on top, and finish with another layer of caramel sauce. I do lines back in forth both ways, and it ends up like a plaid splattered Jackson Pollack look. If you leave big splotches of caramel sauce it will open the cake up as it bakes, but thin drizzles will make a cool pattern. Bake for forty minutes. It will be a little gooey on top in the center. If it’s really sticky, cover it with tinfoil and bake another five or ten minutes. It might still look a tiny bit sticky and unbaked in the very center, but it should set as it cools.




  1. So looking forward to making the Buttermilk Caramel Cake. This reminds me of having a special snack at my grandparents’ home. Thank you for the recipe.

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