16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
3¼ cups cake flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
6¼ cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk
16 tbsp. salted butter
2 12-oz. cans evaporated milk
1. Heat oven to 350°. Making sure all ingredients are at room temperature,
grease two 9" round cake pans with 1 tbsp. unsalted butter; dust with 1½
tbsp. flour, tap out excess, and set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, and
salt together; set aside. Beat remaining unsalted butter and 2½ cups sugar
in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a
time, beating after each addition. Add flour mixture and milk alternately in
3 batches, beating smooth after each addition. Divide batter between pans.
Bake until golden, 30–35 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes; remove
cakes; let cool completely. Slice tops off cakes to level them.
2. To make icing, cook remaining sugar and salted butter in a pot over high
heat, stirring constantly, until light brown, 7–8 minutes. Carefully stir in
evaporated milk; reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until
smooth, 8–10 minutes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until icing registers
240° on a candy thermometer, about 1½ hours. Remove from heat; beat with a
wooden spoon until thick, glossy, and spreadable, 20–25 minutes. (A dollop
dropped on a plate should ooze only slightly.) Ice bottom layer of cake; top
with second layer and ice the outside. Chill cake until set.
The cake may stick to the wooden spoon handle while you’re using it to make the
holes, so occasionally wipe off the handle.
The caramel topping will be easier to drizzle if it has been kept at room
temperature. If refrigerated, spoon caramel into microwavable bowl; microwave
uncovered on High about 15 seconds.