Every so often I get the urge to revisit the idea of the caramel cake. The Daring Bakers recently featured Shuna's Caramel Cake for their monthly challenge. It seemed as though everywhere I looked there was caramel and there was cake, causing me to head for my mixer and make one of my own. I didn't use Shuna's recipe, instead substituting buttermilk cake layers and Edna Lewis' caramel icing, simply because I've been meaning to try it for years. The last caramel cake I made was actually for a chocoholic with rich chocolate cake layers sandwiched with creamy caramel and salted peanuts, inspired by the ubiquitous Snickers bar that lives in my freezer at all times. This cake was something entirely different, a little bit simpler and more approachable. It was in the spirit of the classic layer cakes that used to be part of weekend suppers all around the country, back when baking was done on a routine basis, and families loved their homemade cakes. Somehow those days seem to be coming back, and no one could be more pleased by the transition than me.
The layers of this cake are it. The flavor, the lightness, the slight tang and the moisture. I have not eaten better cake. And with a cup of coffee for breakfast, now that is living large.