1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. rum extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (sifted before measuring)
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups milk + 2 Tbsp vinegar (or use buttermilk)
1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)
4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 or 2 generous Tbsp. caramel sauce
Pinch of salt (to taste)
8 oz. caramel icecream topping. I use Mrs. Richardson's as it is readily available in my grocery store. Use brand of your choice.
To make cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two nine-inch round cake pans.
2. Cream together butter and sugars, mixing until light and fluffy. With the mixer set at medium speed, add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and rum extract and continue mixing until well incorporated.
3. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
4. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture (about one third at a time--just eyeball it) and the milk to the butter mixture ending with the milk. Mix just until well blended. Overmixing can result in a dry cake.
5. Divide batter into the two prepared pans and place in middle of preheated oven so pans don't touch each other. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cakes are done when they spring back to touch or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Place pans on a rack and allow to cool for about ten minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of each pan and invert cakes onto racks to continue cooling. When layers are cool, using a serrated bread knife, trim off mounded tops (if necessary) to make layers flat. Individually wrap layers in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to fill and frost. This can be anywhere from a few minutes to a week.
To make frosting: Cream butter and cream cheese in mixer until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar. Add vanilla and one heaping tablespoon of the caramel sauce. If frosting seems too thick, add another spoon of the caramel, mixing constantly. Still too thick? Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until consistency is correct for spreading and piping.
Assemble cake: Place bottom cake layer--with cut side up--on a cake board or plate. Spoon about a third of the remaining caramel sauce into the middle of the layer and spread with a knife in a thin layer leaving at least a half inch all the way around uncovered. Spoon a generous amount of frosting over the caramel and spread evenly with an offset spatula or knife. Place second cake layer on top with cut side down. Spoon a generous amount of frosting on top and spread thinly over top and sides to create a smooth crumb coat. Place cake in refrigerator or freezer (I use the freezer) for about fifteen minutes to allow the crumb coat to become firm. Retrieve from freezer and add another coat of frosting. The second coat should cover crumbs and other imperfections. Save back enough frosting for a piped border around the top and base of cake.
Decorate: Spoon the remaining caramel sauce into a plastic baggie or pastry bag. Cut off the tip or corner (enough to make a small hole). Squeezing the bag, carefully make stripes on the cake top in a crisscross pattern, and allow the caramel to drip down the sides of the cake if desired. Pipe a frosting border around the top and base of the cake. Make sure to take a picture!