Vanilla Poke Cake with Salted Caramel and Buttercream
A while back we enjoyed dinner with my husband’s sweet Aunt Marvel at a very fancy country club. We had a fabulous dessert, an equally fancy multi-layered vanilla bean cake with salted caramel and buttercream icing. It was incredible but clearly a lot of work!
Here’s the GB’s Kitchen version. The identical flavor profile but much, much easier and quicker to make! Because no one should have to slave in the kitchen! And you know what else? It tastes as amazing as it looks!
The shortcut that’s long on yum!
Here’s your shopping (or check your pantry) list. You’ll need:
One vanilla cake mix, eggs, cooking oil, butter, shortening for icing (or more butter), sugar, powdered sugar, meringue powder, vanilla, butter flavoring, milk, heavy cream and salt.
1.) Bake a vanilla cake mix according to the package directions for a 9″ x 13″ pan. Tip: grease only the BOTTOM of the pan like it says on the box. That’s how you allow the sides of the cake to rise and make the top nice and level. I wanted this cake to be super vanilla-y (is that a word?) so I added a teaspoon of my favorite Mexican vanilla because it has such intense but mellow flavor.
2.) While the cake was baking I made a batch of the most incredible salted caramel sauce. It’s from a wonderful website called Two Peas and Their Pod. Maria was so sweet and gave me permission to share the link to her recipe. You’re welcome! Doesn’t it just scream deliciousness? If I had it to do over again, I’d make the sauce before I baked the cake and have it ready. (Plus I could lick the pan while I waited!)
3.) As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, while it’s still hot and in the mood to soak up some of the caramel goodness, poke holes in it about every 2 inches using the handle of a wooden spoon. You want big craters to soak up all the yummy sauce! Now pour about 1/2 the recipe of sauce over the cake and use a rubber spatula to work the sauce into every delicious nook and cranny. Let the cake cool.
4.) While the cake cools, make up one recipe of basic buttercream frosting. (I won’t tell if you lick the beaters!) Our daughter Karen is an amazing cake decorator, a talent she did not get from me. She swears by Wilton’s classic buttercream frosting recipe so I’m sharing it here for you from her blog post https://giftsandgrace.com/decorating-a-cake-with-a-paper-towel-and-some-other-fun-ideas/.
Here it is nice and handy. For this recipe I used my go-to Molina vanilla and Watkins butter flavoring, 1/2 teaspoon each.
5.) Frost the cooled cake with the buttercream and drizzle some of the remaining salted caramel sauce on top. I say you can never have too much of a good thing so sprinkle the caramel-drizzled buttercream with about 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped salted peanuts. I used the ones they call “party peanuts” because I love the salty shine they add!
What’s that you say? You have caramel sauce left over? Wahhh!! Poor you! You’ll think of something! Keep it in a jar in the refrigerator and dip apple slices in it or use it for an ice cream topping. You’ll find way to use it even if you just sneak a sly spoonful when the urge for a little sweetness overcomes you!!
What do you think? Voila! Here it is!
I’d love to hear about the rave reviews you get when you take it to the next family gathering!