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Bourbon Spice Cake with Orange Salted Caramel Bourbon Buttercream - Melanie’s favourite Fall cake

We’ve all read food blogs that take 100 years to get to the recipe… so let’s change that! Here is Melanie’s favourite Fall cake. Bourbon Spice Cake with Orange Salted Caramel Bourbon Buttercream



·      2 ½ cups cake flour

·      1 tsp baking powder

·      ½ tsp baking soda

·      2 tsp ground ginger

·      1 tsp ground cinnamon

·      ½ tsp salt

·      ½ tsp ground nutmeg

·      ½ tsp ground cloves

·      ½ tsp ground cardamom

·      1 cup unsalted butter, softened

·      2 cups brown sugar, packed

·      2 tbsp molasses

·      3 eggs, large, room temperature

·      2 tsp vanilla

·      ½ cup bourbon or whiskey

·      1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Bourbon Caramel Sauce:

·      1 ½ cups granulated sugar

·      ½ cup water

·      ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

·      1 cup whipping cream, room temperature

·      2 tbsp bourbon or whiskey

·      1 tsp vanilla

·      ½ tsp salt


·      2 cups unsalted butter, slightly cold

·      6 cups icing sugar, measured then sifted

·      Half of the bourbon caramel sauce

·      Zest of one orange




For the cake:

1.    Preheat oven to 325 degreesF. Spray three 8 inch cake pans (or four 6 inch cake pans) with non-stick baking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again so the paper is covered. Set aside.

2.    In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients and set aside.

3.    In your stand mixer or a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium high for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture is light in colour and fluffy (sugar granules should be much less visible). Add in the molasses halfway through the mixing.

4.    On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is well combined. Stir in the vanilla and bourbon.

5.    Still on low speed, in three batches, alternate the buttermilk and dry ingredients until just combined.DO NOT OVER MIX.

6.    Divide the batter equally into your prepared pans.

7.    Bake in the centre of your oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.

8.    Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before tipping out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.If baking cake layers ahead of time, peel off the parchment once the layers are fully cooled and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Repeat for at least two layers of plastic wrap. Freeze flat with cake boards between each layer for up to one week before decorating.

For the bourbon caramel sauce:

1.    Heat sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. (Stirring encourages crystallization).Let the mixture cook until it caramelizes into a golden brown colour (I like to let mine get nearly bronze). It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.

2.    As soon as the caramel is the colour you want (CAREFUL NOT TO LET IT GET TOO DARK), remove from heat and immediately stir in the butter until melted. It will bubble aggressively.

3.    Slowly pour in the whipping cream, stirring consistently. It will still bubble aggressively.

4.    Once the sauce has stopped bubbling, it should look smooth and silky. Add in the bourbon, vanilla, and salt.

5.    Divide into two equal parts. Cool at room temperature, then chill for at least 30 to 60 minutes before using.

For the buttercream:

1.    In your stand mixer or large bowl, beat butter on medium high speed until lighter in colour and there are no visible lumps.

2.    On low speed, mix in the icing sugar, caramel, and orange zest.

3.    Once all icing sugar is combined, increase speed to medium high to high speed and beat for approximately 8 minutes. Scraping sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

4.    Buttercream should be smooth, light, and fluffy. Turn the speed to low and beat for another minute or two to knock out some of the air and make the buttercream silky smooth.

5.    Decorate your cake as desired! I like to frost by adding buttercream and caramel between each cake layer. Freeze after crumb coating for 15 minutes. Then do another layer of buttercream, finishing with caramel drip, and home made crystallized orange peel for decoration!

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