Caramel cake is a Southern specialty that you can find in almost any community or church cookbook below the Mason Dixon. Jack Daniels is a classic Southern mash whiskey and it is one of those things that finds its way into numerous Southern recipes from cakes to cookies. Praline is certainly Southern in both flavor and origins. What happens when you combine them all into one magnificent cake?
Suddenly you will say y’all. The front porch will be referred to as the veranda. The theme music from Gone with the Wind will play whenever you sweep down the stairs. And your irritating neighbors? Well, bless their hearts.
Really. It’s good.
If you have read the blog very long you know that I collect old cookbooks. Some of them very old. I have cookbooks from the Depression, World War II, the 50′s… I have recipes from the late 1800s. I love old recipes. This caramel cake is one I have made often from a cookbook that was published in 1951. It is a collection of recipes from Women’s Leagues all over the country. You know, back when ladies spent afternoons playing Bridge and sipping juleps. Since the book was published so long ago you find a lot of regional specialties in it.
Regional foods are something we are losing as chain restaurants and insipid foods shipped from all over the world become the norm. It’s sad, really, that so many people will never know what a really ripe peach tastes like, or the melting texture of fresh crab-cakes, or the aroma of smoky barbecue. It’s sad. Like so many other activities, traditions, and lifestyles of our ancestors, unique flavors are becoming extinct.
Well, this cake will never be extinct because once you taste it you will find yourself making it over and over again. I have to admit a preference for chocolate cake but I have to admit that this caramel cake is every bit as good. It is a little tricky, and takes a little time but it is so worth it.
I used the Jack Daniels Caramel sauce and the pecan praline filling is the same one as in the coconut praline pie but you’ll need to double it. This recipe makes three 8-inch layers. I have only two layers because I had to use the batter from one layer for cupcakes for something else.
I made this with a homemade vanilla that I started in February with tahitian vanilla and caramel vodka. It helped to intensify the caramel flavor and, let’s face it, there is nothing that can compete with the flavor of homemade vanilla.
Caramelly, boubon-y, praline-y, sweet… this cake is just fantastic. you will want a cup of good, strong coffee to sip along with dessert.
Southern desserts are just special. This is one of my favorite modern cookbooks for Southern cakes, pies and everything else.