Now, who do you know that doesn’t like caramel? Personally I don’t know anyone who doesn’t go all gaga at the mere mention of the word. So when I recently combined my homemade bourbon caramel sauce with rich cream cheese frosting, and slathered said combination all over my new recipe for brown sugar Bundt cake; with just one bite I knew my quest for a really good caramel cake was over.

A little history: For years I had been trying to perfect a caramel flavored cake, but had never been able to achieve the flavor I desired. So recently I decided, what the heck, let’s give it one more try.

So while in the planning stages for this recipe I remembered that brown sugar was the base for my favorite caramel sauce. (It was a true “light bulb” moment!) So I went on line and looked for Bundt cake recipes that contained brown sugar. I found several that looked wonderful. So I took a bit from “this” recipe and a bit from “that” recipe”, and came up with “the other” recipe – mine.

So then I decided to serve this cake at a recent JazzVox concert. It was a smashing success. And I’m telling you true, the wonderful people who attend these concerts are a tough audience. They not only expect to hear amazing vocal jazz artists; they want their jazz served up with darn good food. (Our guests are true connoisseurs of the arts; both the art of jazz music and the culinary arts. And believe me, Mr. JazzVox himself (Nich) and my husband, the resident sommelier, and I could not agree more about striving to bring our guests the best possible jazz artists with a side of really great mashed potatoes!)

So if you too love to provide your family and friends with great food, bake them this cake in the near future. They are not only going to love you all the more, they might even start singing your praises. And if they happen to sound like Ella, all the better. Cheers!

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding and pie filling
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • ¾ c. water
  • 1½ c. brown sugar, divided
  • ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • ¼ c. whipping cream
  • 2 T. good bourbon
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 2½ – 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. milk

Butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. Set aside. Mix the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, water, and 1 cup of the brown sugar in mixer; beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean.

Meanwhile whisk ¼ cup of the butter and the remaining ½ cup brown sugar together over medium heat in a small heavy saucepan until brown sugar has dissolved completely. (This happens after the mixture comes to a boil and is allowed to burble for a couple of minutes or until it turns kind of shiny. Continue whisking the entire time the mixture is on the heat.) Remove from heat and carefully whisk in the whipping cream and bourbon. Allow caramel to cool completely before adding to the other frosting ingredients. (You won’t need all the caramel sauce for the frosting, but never fear; it makes a wonderful ice cream sauce or a delicious additive for your morning coffee!)

While the cake is baking and the caramel is cooling, whip the remaining ¼ cup butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating at low speed until smooth. (You want a fairly stiff mixture at this point.) Next, stir about a quarter cup of the cooled caramel sauce into the mixture.

When the cake comes out of the oven, place the hot pan on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes. Carefully loosen the edges of the cake from the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate; let cool completely before frosting all sides with the icing. After the icing has set for about 30 minutes, drizzle the top and sides of the cake with some of the remaining caramel sauce. Store the cake covered and at room temperature. Can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.


Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks