Southern Caramel Sheet Cake
Southern Caramel Sheet Cake

You know that feeling when you have a big cup of coffee, all the time in the world, and you walk into your favorite store to just BROWSE leisurely? That, “Oh, maybe after I stroll down every aisle I’ll grab some lunch” feeling? That, “Oh, if I feel like it maybe I’ll take a nap or go for a walk” feeling? When your self-care dial is set to maximum?

Let’s make a list of our favorite ways to create that feeling and then let’s make THAT our to-do list today. Okay? Okay.

Southern Caramel Sheet Cake

5 from 1 reviews
Southern Caramel Sheet Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Southern Caramel Sheet Cake is a giant, moist sheet cake covered in real deal Southern caramel icing. It takes quite awhile to make, so plan ahead -- but it's perfect for a potluck and worth the wait! I just turn on a fun TV show as my caramel bubbles away.
Serves: 24-30
Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Southern Caramel Icing Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • milk for thinning if needed
  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 15 x 10 x 1″ baking sheet. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the butter and water to a boil. In the meantime, in a separate large bowl, whisk together the cake flour and sugar before adding the eggs, sour cream, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. While mixing, slowly pour in the boiling butter and water mixture. Mix to combine completely. Your batter will be very runny. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out with a few moist crumbs (don’t wait for the top to get golden brown, necessarily — mine stayed pale). Cool completely.
  3. Make the icing: In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the butter, evaporated milk, and sugar together over medium heat until they're melted together and combined. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking periodically, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Watch it the whole cooking time to be sure it doesn't burn, and you'll need to whisk more often toward the end of the cooking time. If it starts to get too thick but isn't the right color yet, you can whisk in a little milk (be careful because it'll bubble up when you do) to thin it out and keep cooking. Don't add too much milk, though, or it'll be too thin.
  4. The caramel will thicken to coat the back of a wooden spoon and cook to the dark golden color in the pictures above — that's how you'll know it's done! When it's ready, remove it from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour it over your cake and spread it evenly over the surface. Serve immediately.


6 Comments on Southern Caramel Sheet Cake

  1. Natalie
    April 30, 2018 at 2:22 am (3 years ago)

    I love sheet cakes! Yours looks absolutely delicious! I love the caramel topping!

    • Julie Ruble
      May 2, 2018 at 12:26 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks Natalie!

  2. Paula H
    April 30, 2018 at 5:01 am (3 years ago)

    This looks too good! I’m living in France with a small oven – do you think I could do this in a bundt pan or make as layer cake? Maybe 2 sheet cakes? Assuming I can get the right flour, of course. It also looks easy to halve. Just a note, I now appreciate recipes with grams as measurement.

    • Julie Ruble
      May 2, 2018 at 12:25 am (3 years ago)

      Hi Paula! I think you could half this recipe and do it in an 8-inch square pan — just check for doneness early and often. Alternatively, here’s a similar recipe that’s a layer cake instead:

  3. LaCandace
    October 25, 2018 at 1:45 am (3 years ago)

    At the end you said serve immediately. Will it dry out or something if you don’t? I cook caramel round cakes but I’m about to attempt a sheet cake and just was curious of that statement and how to frost it?

    • Julie Ruble
      October 25, 2018 at 11:17 am (3 years ago)

      I just like it when the caramel frosting is still kinda warm! But you can cover and keep leftovers for a couple of days without it drying out I think!


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