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Doctored Up Caramel Cake

This easy doctored up caramel cake starts with a box of cake mix but no one would know it! The caramel cake turns out so moist and flavorful and the caramel icing is dreamy!

Our doctored up cake mix recipes continue to be some of the most viewed recipes, regardless of the season!

I reached out to my instagram followers and asked them what flavors of doctored up cake mix recipes they would like to see.

I was hoping someone was going to suggest caramel, because that’s what I had in mind! But, no one did, haha. You guys gave me a ton of other great flavor suggestions that I wrote down in my recipe notebook for future use, so some of those other flavors will be coming in the future!

But I couldn’t get the idea of a doctored up caramel cake out of my mind. Especially with fall coming, I thought caramel would be a great version to test.

I initially tried using caramel pudding mix to add that caramel flavor to a box of white cake mix, but it wasn’t quite caramel-y enough. So, I went with the real deal – caramel sauce!

Mixing half of the caramel sauce into the batter gives the whole cake that rich, deep flavor. And swirling the other half of the caramel on top of the cake batter adds streaks of caramel to the cake once it’s baked.

I paired this caramel cake with caramel icing. I decided to skip the traditional buttercream frosting that is more light and airy. I chose a homemade caramel icing that hardens on the top of the cake when it cools. It’s not crunchy, but the outside of the frosting sets, similar to the type of icing you’d use on a bundt cake.

Not about that caramel on caramel life? Try chocolate or coffee frosting!

As I was writing this post I was having the most difficult time trying to describe the flavor of caramel. I even googled it to see if I could find the words I was searching for to describe it.

How would you describe caramel? The words that come to my mind are sweet, deep, rich, soulful, and cozy.

For a step-by-step of how to make this doctored up caramel cake recipe, watch this short video:

Doctored Up Caramel Cake

Doctored Up Caramel Cake

Yield: 9x13 inch pan
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours

This easy doctored up caramel cake starts with a box of cake mix but no one would know it! The caramel cake turns out so moist and flavorful and the caramel icing is dreamy!


Caramel Cake

  • 1 box white cake mix, 15.25 oz
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup jarred caramel sauce, divided in half

Caramel Icing

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, 1 cup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


Caramel Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, sugar, flour, and salt. Add in the eggs, milk, buttermilk, and sour cream, beat with an electric mixer until combined, 2-3 minutes. Add in half of the caramel sauce, mix into the batter.
  3. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top of the batter and use a knife to swirl the caramel into the batter.
  4. Bake for 36-39 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before adding frosting.

Caramel Icing

  1. In a small-medium sized pot over medium heat on the stove, melt the butter and brown sugar. Stir frequently until melted. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer.
  2. Once simmering, add in the heavy cream, stir and allow the mixture to return to a simmer.
  3. Once it simmers again, remove it from the heat and immediately whisk in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. It’s okay if there are a few powered sugar lumps.
  4. Immediately pour the caramel icing over the cooled cake (the icing will set quickly so be sure to move fast) and spread into a even layer. Allow the icing to set and cool before serving.


We recommend Duncan Hines white cake mix for best results!

This easy doctored up caramel cake starts with a box of cake mix but no one would know it! The caramel cake turns out so moist and flavorful and the caramel icing is dreamy!
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  1. Re your doctored up caramel cake: I’m confused as to the amount of butter in icing. Recipe says “2 sticks, 1/2 cup”. One stick is 1/2 cup so is it 2 sticks or 3 sticks? Thanks.

  2. Hi I would like to make this cake but please  Please can you tell me what is the other substitute to the white cake mix can use thanks a lot

  3. This looks delicious!

  4. Is it 2 sticks of butter or 1/2 cup for icing?

  5. Do you make your own Carmel sauce or it’s in a jar you buy from the store?

  6. Why butter milk, sour cream and milk?

  7. This sounds delicious. I love cream cheese frosting. Have you tried this cake with a cream cheese caramel frosting? If so, what is the recipe for the cream cheese caramel frosting?

  8. This looks amazing! Which caramel sauce did you use? 

  9. Oh my gosh! I just want to sit and eat a tub of the frosting. Can you figure out a recipe to make fudge?

    Thanks so much!!!

  10. Can I use Caramel Bits instead of sauce in the cake ?

    • Yes, it will just have a different flavor. Do you mean melting the caramel bits or just putting them in the batter as is?

  11. In just made this cake. Does it have to be refrigerated?

    • No it doesn’t. However, if you’ll be serving it the next day, I would suggest refrigerating over night.

  12. I made sunflower decorated cupcakes with this recipe. Swirled a tiny bit of caramel into each cupcake. Used caramel frosting as the base leaves then yellow frosting petals and chocolate center. Yummy! Just what I was looking for. Thanks. This recipe made about 30 cupcakes.

  13. have you tried this in cupcakes?

  14. Hi, I’d love to make this cake can I substitute something else for the sour cream?

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