Nutty Caramel Cake

What do you get your mam for Mother’s Day when the world is in lockdown? Besides a crappy card that says ‘mum’ on it or some overpriced flowers, there aren’t really a lot of options. So why not make her something I thought. Something sweet, delicious & personal.

nutty caramel cake

My mam loves anything to do with nuts or caramel, we both dive straight for the purple ones in the quality street tub. She loves caramel so much that somewhere along the line she developed the most abhorrent habits when it comes to actually eating chocolate bars, nibbling off all of the caramel & leaving the rest (honestly, it’s as bad as putting the milk in first). Seeing as her two favourite flavours pair so well together, I wondered how well they would work in a cake, a nutty, caramel cake. The answer is rather bloody well (if I do say so myself)!

nutty caramel cake

Rather than stick to one particular nut here, this cake is made with a mixture of nuts for a true nutty flavour. I use a mix of hazelnuts, walnut, pecans, almonds & brazil nuts, the kind you can pick up in a ready mixed bag from the supermarket. To introduce a little hint of caramel in the sponge, dotted throughout are small chunks of dates, adding their subtle, toffee-like flavour & a lovely chewy contrast.

nutty caramel cake

The whole thing is then sandwiched & topped with a smooth, sweet, caramel cream. You can make your own caramel for this but ready-made tinned caramel works really well here & keeps thing’s simple. You can double up on the caramel cream & cover the entire cake, top & sides before decorating. But for me, there’s just something homely & comforting about seeing a classic sandwich cake, the kind that really do look homemade with love. Whether it’s for mother’s day, a special occasion or just something to accompany a cup of tea when we can all be reunited again, I hope you like my mams nutty caramel cake.

nutty caramel cake

(makes an 21cm layer cake)


For the cake:

  • 150g mixed nuts (plus a few extra for decorating)
  • 300g butter
  • 300g soft light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 200g pitted dates, chopped
  • 225g self-raising flour

For the filling & topping :

  • 150g butter
  • 400g caramel (homemade or tinned)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500g icing sugar


To make the cake:

  • Start off by adding all of the nuts to the bowl of a food processor & blitz until course
  • Add the dates to the bowl & blitz again until almost finely chopped
  • Empty the nut & date mixture out into a large bowl
  • Add the butter & sugar to the bowl & use a wooden spoon or a hand mixer to beat everything together (it will be quite thick at this point)
  • Next, add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time, beating with each addition
  • Sieve the flour into the bowl & beat until smooth & no pockets of dry flour remain
  • Divide the mixture up between two greased & lined 21cm sandwich tins
  • Bake the cakes in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes, until golden & springing back when pressed lightly with a finger
  • Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 15 minutes before turning out & placing on a cooling rack until cooled

To make the caramel cream:

  • Begin by adding the butter to a large bowl & beating with a wooden spoon or hand mixer to soften
  • Add the caramel & vanilla to the bowl & beat together until smooth
  • Next, sift half of the icing sugar into the bowl, along with the salt & beat again
  • Sift in the remain icing sugar & beat everything until thick & smooth
  • Once the cakes have fully cooled, spread or pipe two thirds of the caramel filling over the bottom cake before sandwiching the other on top
  • Spread the remaining caramel on top of the cake & decorate with a few extra nuts

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