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Bamma's Caramel Cake

Bamma's Caramel Cake

This recipe comes from Carolyn who lives in a quiet valley in south central Montana. This was her mother, Barbara’s recipe. Barbara raised four children in Dover, Massachusetts and everyone called her “Bamma”. I love how this recipe is super simple to make, and it has a “secret ingredient” which is always fun! I served this after a Sunday family dinner at my parents house and no one could pinpoint what the extra flavor was from. Of course, as you can see the “secret ingredient” is indeed canned mandarin oranges, which I think brings so much moisture to the cake and in a way makes it so bright. The caramel sauce that you then pour on the top of the cake makes a glaze and really takes this perfectly sweet Caramel Cake to the next level. As Bamma even writes on her recipe card, “It tastes like caramel not orange and it's super!” Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and story with us, Carolyn, it really means so much.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (including cooling time)


For the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 11oz cans of mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 teaspoon for butter or shortening for greasing baking dish

For the sauce: 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cups heavy whipping cream (cold)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl beat eggs and then add mandarins. Mix well. It is okay if the mandarins begin to fall apart.
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour and then add sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix until well combined.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and beat with a hand mixture for 4 minutes until everything is well combined. The mandarins will completely break apart at this point. (Secret ingredient, check!)
  5. Pour into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-45 mins.
  6. While the cake is baking, in a medium saucepan combine the butter, whole milk and brown sugar and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Once it is boiling and well mixed turn off heat.
  7. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, use a spatula to help spread the caramel over the cake evenly.
  8. Let cool before cutting into cake. Top with whipped cream (recipe below).

Whipped Cream:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip with a hand mixer or whisk until it holds stiff peaks.

Watch on Instagram here!



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