Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lizzie Snow's Caramel Cake

My birthday was 2 weeks ago - and since Jimmy did not appear to be running out anytime soon to buy me the icecream cake of my dreams, (I cut him some slack this year), I decided to take matters into my own hands!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cake - especially just eating the icing!  It was my mother's grandmother's recipe, Lizzie Snow Gould.

Make it with classic yellow cake, two 9" cake circles.  Make sure they are fully cooled before making the icing.

3 c sugar
1 c whole buttermilk
1 t baking soda
1 stick butter

Caramelize ½ c of the 3 cups of sugar. Do this by pouring sugar into a 3-4-qt saucepan (medium size), use very low heat and increase heat as you go, all the while stirring with a spoon or whisk to keep the sugar from sticking to the pan.  This part takes a while.  It will be getting close when the sugar starts to look and feel wet.  Keep stirring and let it all change texture to the wet, syrupy sugar (clear in color).

Add ¼ c boiling water to the caramelized sugar, stand back!.  You will be thinking at this point that you have messed up!  All of the caramelized sugar turns hard as a rock in the boiling water, stir up all the hard pieces.

At this point pour the other ingredients into mixture and stir over medium to medium-high heat.  Get it to a slow boil. 

Cook until it forms a good ball when dropped in a glass of cold water. (Reach "soft ball" stage on candy thermometer, ~130 - 140 degrees F.)  Remove from heat.  Stir until creamy.  It must be cool and creamy to go onto cake. It will go on the cake runny and harden on the cake.  If you let it cool too much, it will be tough to spread onto cake (but still be delicious).


btw - I  completely photoshopped embellished my first picture.  Here is the real final cake.  Sometimes delicious doesn't equal pretty!

A teeny tiny little hairline crack quickly turned into a peacesign crevasse




and finally, gone


  1. It looked so Good ~~Wish I had a piece right now!

  2. Yum! I wish I had a piece right now!! Join the club, Anne- every time I've made the cake it has cracked. I call it the earthquake cake. It just goes to show how deliciously, decadently fine the icing is!

  3. You really do need that high-sided cake stand to collect the excess caramel so it doesn't spill over the sides, don't you. I can just taste it, mannnn. My friend made a welcome-home cake for her young son who was returning from camp last week, it turned out to have the same crack. After icing the cracked cake, she and her other young son went upstairs and found some plastic frogs and lizards, then they nestled the creatures down into the crack as though they were emerging upward from the dark and scary deep, and the whole thing was a total hit!! I can still hear my father reciting: "Sweet are the uses of adversity...."