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Caramel Cake

En español |My friend Marcie is from Blytheville, Ark., and doesn't think it's a birthday without a traditional Southern caramel cake. This recipe is adapted from A Gracious Plenty by John T. Edge (Putnam's, 1999). He got it from Good Cookin' From the Heart of Virginia, a cookbook put together by the Junior League of Lynchburg, Va.

Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted cake flour or all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon vinegar

Icing for Caramel Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 pound light brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until fluffy. Add vanilla and blend well. Sift the flour and salt together and add gradually to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Dissolve the baking soda in the vinegar and add to the mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center. Let cool on wire racks before removing from pans and frosting.

Icing

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan or small cast-iron skillet. Add the brown sugar and salt and blend well. Add the evaporated milk and cook, stirring frequently, to the softball stage.

Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Add baking powder and stir. Add vanilla. Beat until the mixture reaches spreading consistency.

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