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Nov 26, 2015

Old Fashioned Carmel Cake

Carmel Cake Slice

Carmel Cake Slice

This cake has always been a family favorite.  From my family of origin where the “recipe” started, to my present family.  As a teenager, I can remember standing by the stove and stirring the icing for seemed like eternity being careful not to let it burn.  But we always knew that the end result would be the best cake ever.

One of our family traditions has been for me to make each person the cake of their choice.  As I look back on years of photographs of birthday celebrations, it is clear that the Carmel Cake is our favorite.  Once at a church function showcasing foods from our heritage I made this cake.  A gentleman from Nigeria had a slice.  The cake not being from his tradition was a new taste for him.  His eyes lit up like a Christmas Tree in December at the first bite.  Years later he simply calls me, “The Lady with the Cake!”

When I started to make the cake on my own, I called my mama for the “recipe”.  She laughed and said, there’s really no recipe but write this down: two or three cans of Pet milk; 2 – 3 cups of sugar depending on how sweet you want the icing to be; a stick of butter – always use real butter, margarine got too much water in it and you just waste your good ingredients. Add a bit of real Vanilla extract at the end so you cook the flavor out.  Over the years, I’ve firmed up the measurements a bit but the simplicity of the basic ingredients remain the same and the results are So YumMe!

Prepare your favorite layer cake recipe.  I have tried may over the years, including several box varieties.  I use Duncan Hines Butter Recipe for this cake.  Make sure you get the Butter Recipe variety and not the oil variety.  The boxes look very similar.

Carmel Cake Icing

3 cans of Pet or Carnation evaporated milk

2 cups of organic raw sugar

1 stick of butter

1 TBL of Vanilla extract

In a medium sized saucepan, combine all ingredients except the Vanilla extract, stir to combine over medium heat.  When first starting the icing, you may want to use the double boiler method to keep it from burning.  If you don’t have one, one can be improvised by putting the saucepan in a larger dutch oven filled with about three inches of water.  Monitor the water as the icing cooks adding more as needed.

As the icing cooks, it will become thicker and darker in color.  Be patient, stirring the mixture every ten minutes or so.  My mama was amazed that I had found a way not to stand at the stove and stir and stir.  Again, be careful not to let it burn.  Carmel is generally a softer icing and we like it rather thick so I cook it longer.  To check for doness, drop a little icing into a small bowl filled with room temperature water.    If it comes together in a form rather than separating, it’s ready.  At the end of the cooking time, add in Vanilla, stir to thoroughly mix in.

Allow the icing to cool about 20 minutes before applying to completely cooled cake layers.  Any leftover icing can be used in coffee or our favorite way, eaten by the spoonful.  I hope you enjoy this So YumMe Old Fashioned Carmel Cake!

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wife, mother, sister, friend. Business owner, writer, photographer. Yes, it's a lot but life is full of opportunites and we should take full advantage of them.
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