If you’ve always wanted to try to bake a cake from scratch but thought it would be too difficult, then this salted caramel vanilla crunch cake is the perfect recipe for you to try. Easy for both beginners and seasoned cooks alike, it is simple and still utterly delicious. You can also make this cake in just over an hour, so it won’t take up too much time you could be spending at the party. Also, this cake is ideal for people who love treats that combine both sweet and salty flavors. Made with a salted caramel topping and Frosted Flakes, this crunchy dessert from recipe developer Autumn LeAnn will have your family and friends coming back for more.
LeAnn says her favorite thing about this cake is its combination of textures. The cake layers are light and fluffy, while the cereal coating on the outside adds a pleasant crunch. In addition, the slight stickiness of the caramel sauce adds yet another layer of flavor to this cake experience. So, without further ado, let’s get started on the road to making this easy salted caramel vanilla crunch cake!
Gather the ingredients for salted caramel vanilla crunch cake
Butter makes this cake rich in flavor, and you will need four sticks of it to make two 8-inch layers, as well as the frosting to go in between the layers and on the outside of the cake.
You will also need 4 cups of powdered sugar, 1½ cups of granulated sugar, 2¾ cups all-purpose flour, 2 ½ cups of Frosted Flakes, 1½ cups of whole milk, 11½ ounces salted caramel topping, two large eggs,1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 ½ tablespoon baking powder, and ⅓ teaspoon salt.
Preheat the oven and prepare the cake mix
To get things started, you’ll want to preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, prepare two 8-inch round baking pans by spraying them with non-stick spray. Trace around one pan onto parchment paper and cut two pieces just inside the lines. Place one piece of paper in each pan. This will help ensure that your finished cakes will easily release from the pans after baking.
Next, cream together two sticks of butter, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla extract in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until the result is fluffy and aerated, which will take around five minutes. LeAnn says a good sign that the mix is ready is when tiny air bubbles begin to form in the mixture, which makes it a little lighter in color.
When the mixture is fluffy, add the eggs and mix until just combined. Then add the flour and baking powder to the batter, also mixing until combined. Next, add the milk slowly. LeAnn says that doing this at a reduced pace means that you’re allowing the flour to absorb the liquid at a rate that avoids overmixing, which can otherwise result in a tough cake. Combine until all the ingredients have just come together.
Once the mixture is ready, pour it into the cake pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the layers cool completely before assembling the cake.
Make the salted caramel frosting
While the cake layers are baking, it’s time to get started on the frosting. Add the remaining sticks of butter and ½ cup of the salted caramel topping in the bowl of a stand mixer that’s been fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix these ingredients until they’re evenly combined.
To keep from making a mess when adding the powdered sugar, turn the mixer off and add the sugar slowly, turning the mixer on and off every few seconds. That way, you can avoid a giant cloud of powdered sugar rising up from the mixer, which can happen if you add it all at once. When the sugar is mixed well enough not to make a mess, turn the mixer on high and aerate it into a whipped frosting, which will be light and fluffy.
Remove the cooled cake layers and apply the frosting
Remove one cake layer from the pan and ensure that it’s fully cooled. If your cake layers are still warm, then you run the risk of melting your frosting into a runny mess, which is a common but preventable cake frosting mistake. If you’ve confirmed that the layer is at least room temperature, then add about ½ cup of the frosting on the top, spreading it with an offset spatula or a similar kitchen tool in a smooth, even layer. Spread 3 tablespoons of the salted caramel topping on top of the frosted cake layer, then sprinkle Frosted Flakes on top of that in an even coat.
Remove the second layer of cake from the pan and place it on top of the first layer. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Apply a layer of Frosted Flakes to the sides of the cake. Then, drizzle the top of the cake with the remaining salted caramel topping. If you want to help amp up the salty flavors in the cake, LeAnn says that "you could even lightly sprinkle large flakey salt on as a garnish if you want a little more salt."
Whatever variation you choose, cut the final cake into slices. A cake of this size can easily serve around 14 people with slices that are about 2 1/4 inches wide at the back. Enjoy!