Decadent Deep South Caramel Cake

​​​​ferris robinson 

This cake has been the mainstay of many a celebration in Lookout Mountain, and my family has been fortunate to be on the receiving end of this heavenly concoction numerous times. My friends Hazel and Nini are known for whipping this recipe up and presenting it to friends who are celebrating birthdays and other fun occasions as well as to friends who are overcome with sadness. They bring it to folks moving into new houses, couples with new babies and grandbabies, and to folks gathered around the death bed of someone they can’t bear to let go.

Nini presented my father with a birthday cake six weeks before he died. It was wrapped in foil, and he accepted with delight, saying, “Oh, honey, I love your caramel cake! It’s my favorite thing in the world!” Of course, that was the one time she had NOT made the caramel cake. She promised to make it for him on his next birthday, which he didn’t live to see. But she arrived a few weeks later at my parents’ house with the luscious caramel cake as we huddled around his bed, my father barely there anymore. We lifted our forks to him as we tasted the rich creamy sweetness of the thick icing, and felt lifted up and comforted. We felt love, pure and simple, through this cake.

So, of course, this is the particular cake I refer to in Making Arrangements. It is the cake unlikely cancer-survivor Lang Eldridge double-wrapped in foil and froze for her soon-to-be-widowed husband. When I asked my friends if I could share the recipe, they deferred to Patsy Kemm, protesting that it was her recipe and not theirs to share. Her daughter, Kristin, said, “My mother, who did die from cancer, would have been thrilled to have you use her recipe. Mom’s cake was loved my many. Her spirit is alive through the Caramel Cake recipe. So go right ahead and use it.”

Patsy is in heaven now, hopefully talking about that incredible cake with my father. When you take your first bite of this cake, I hope you lift your fork to her, and to all the folks you love.


Get the recipe for Decadent Deep South Caramel Cake HERE. You'll get a short-cut cake mix recipe and the best caramel icing recipe in the South. You'll also get monthly updates on recipes, random tips and book updates. I hate spam and crowded inboxes, so that won't happen. Thanks for checking outMaking Arrangements, a novel about funerals, flowers and forgiveness.