Monday, August 8, 2011


I have a little tale to tell you today.  It involves cake.  In our family, it is pronounced "caaaake!" (yes, with an exclamation point)  I bake every cake I make from scratch.  Three-layer jobs, frosted, filled, topped...all from scratch.  Lovingly made for birthdays and holidays.  I started doing this right after my husband and I got married and continue the tradition still.  However, while on vacation a few years back, I made a recipe for dessert that flies in the face of all that I hold dear about cake baking.  And while there is a name for this recipe, in our house it is simply "caaaake!"  The recipe is from Paula Deen's "The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook."  It is called...ready for it...Better than Sex Cake.  When I tell people this as they're eating it, I usually get the response of "pretty close."  It is a darn good, yummy, melt-in-your-mouth, rich cake.  How it earned its new name in our house happened the first time I made it.  Our son was  two years old and we were vacationing on Tybee Island, Georgia with my entire family.  We were desperately trying to get him to eat something for dinner-anything at this point.  But he had spied the cake on the counter top.  His whimpers had turned to cries, had turned to screams, and before we knew it he was arching his back, red faced, screaming CAAAAKE! at the top of his little lungs while flailing his arms around.  Now, two years later it is funny.  That evening, I was exhausted and horrified at his behavior.  Admittedly though, the cake is that good, it is worth throwing temper tantrums over.  Here's the skinny on it:

This is not the best photograph of the recipe, but I wanted to include it so that you understood I have done a bit of altering.  Here is where I veer from the page:  I add waaaaay more than 6 ounces of caramel (more on that later) and the icing I make is not the 8 ounces of Cool Whip called for.  It is so much better than that.  

So, here's the steps you need to follow.  Ready?  Buy your favorite boxed chocolate cake mix.  If you're anything like me, this is extremely difficult.  I almost want to wear a disguise when I do this.  I prefer the dark chocolate cakes, but use whatever you prefer.  Prepare it according to the directions on the box to bake in a 9x13 inch pan.  Bake.  

The recipe states to pierce the warm cake all over with a toothpick, but I found that the sweetened condensed milk and the caramel just sit on top of the cake because the holes aren't big enough.  So I use a fork and stab away at varying depths.  I even get a little violent and tear some gaping holes.  It won't matter, trust me.  Here's my ugly cake:

Now you pour the goods on the cake.  The order does not matter-but you dump warm caramel sauce and sweetened condensed milk all over the top.  Sorry for the blurry-ness.  Can't pour and hold a camera steady, I guess!  About the caramel sauce-I use a jar of Sanders Butterscotch Caramel (it really isn't butterscotch like you think of, more like salty caramel goddess of yum).  The jar is 20 ounces.  I use about half.  Honestly, I just eyeball it and when it looks good to me, I consider it done. 

I then use a spatula and spread the caramel/sweetened condensed milk mixture evenly over the warm cake top so it will sink into the holes I've stabbed in.  This takes a while.  See: 

This is what it will look like after all of that yummy deliciousness has absorbed into your cake.  Not pretty, I'll admit.  But that is the next part.

Now it is time to make the icing.  Remember I said I do not follow Ms. Deen's recipe for this at all?  I had this icing on another cake a friend of mine made and knew it was destined for this one.  It is like a whipped cream meets cream cheese meets heaven frosting.  And, it is easy-peasy to make.  Here is what you'll need:

Powdered sugar, cream cheese (softened), cool whip (defrosted-don't be a goof like me and forget that important step!), and crumbled Heath Bar pieces.  That's it!  First you will take your softened cream cheese, put it in a bowl and whip it up with a mixer.  Then you will incorporate 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar.  I do this 1/2 cup at a time so I don't make a giant mess of myself.  

Once your powdered sugar is completely incorporated into your cream cheese, you will want to fold in your cool whip.  Let me repeat: fold in your cool whip.  Do not under any circumstances whip it in, or you will make a giant mess, lose the fluff, and be sad.  See below:

Done with the icing!  Now we frost the cake, and eat.  Here is the cake all done:

 I just sprinkle the Heath Bar pieces on the top, generously.  They're even better the next day (if your caaaake lasts that long) because they get a little gooey around the edges and are still crunchy in the middle.  Mmmmmm.

Here you can see the cake, the carmely-milky yum oozing around it, and all that good frosting on top.  This is what brings out temper-tantrums in small children and drool in everyone else.  

 I dare you not to lick the screen.  Go on, try not to.  

Finally, I leave you with our boy, who has forever changed the name of this dessert to simply CAAAAKE! He gives it a thumbs-up each time we have it.  I always make it for vacation.  Just for him (and the adults too).

Better than Sex Caaaake 

1 boxed chocolate cake prepared as directed for 9x13 inch pan
14 oz jar sweetened condensed milk
6 oz caramel sauce
4 Heath Bars, crushed

Bake cake according to directions for 9x13 inch pan.  Remove cake from oven when cake tester comes out clean.  Pierce warm cake all over with fork.  Pour sweetened condensed milk and warmed caramel sauce over top of cake and spread to cover.  Place in refrigerator and chill.

Betsy's Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 container Cool Whip

Whip cream cheese until fluffy.  Slowly incorporate confectioners sugar until all 1 1/2 cups are in.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Spread onto cooled cake.  Top with crushed Heath Bars.

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