Caramel Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Caramel Swirl Icing
½ cup softened unsalted butter
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
¾ cup half and half
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon iodized salt
1 (14 ounce) jar caramel topping, divided (I use Hershey’s brand)
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a 13 X 9-inch metal baking pan with non-stick spray containing flour.
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars together with a mixer on medium high speed 4 minutes. Scrapes sides of bowl. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla to half and half and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. On low speed add half and half mixture and flour mixture to butter mixture like this: ⅓ flour / ½ half and half / ⅓ flour / ½ half and half / ⅓ flour. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again. (Batter will look like it isn’t thick enough. Don’t be tempted to add more flour!) Pour batter into prepared pan leveling with a spatula.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of pan comes out clean. Remove from oven and poke holes every inch using a wooden skewer. Spoon ⅓ jar caramel on top of cake, spreading evenly to fill holes. Cool cake completely before icing. Makes one, 13 X 9-inch cake.
Cream Cheese Caramel Swirl Icing
12 ounces softened full fat cream cheese (1 ½ packages- do not use Neufatchel)
¾ cup softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
Remaining 2/3 jar caramel topping
Mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla together with a mixer on medium high speed until combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again. Spoon icing on top of cooled cake.
Using remaining 2/3 jar caramel topping; drop 1 ½ tablespoons caramel on top of cake in rows (You will make 6 caramel dots- 3 on top and 3 on bottom of cake, evenly spaced.) Swirl caramel into icing with the back of a spoon. Eat cake immediately or store leftovers in refrigerator. If refrigerated, bring cake to room temperature before eating or cake and icing will be stiff!
Published in The News and Neighbor on October 23, 2019.