Brown Sugar Sheet Cake with Salted Caramel Stove-Top Buttercream

I have had my “stuck on a deserted island with one food” scenario planned out for years ((um, Chick-fil-A original chicken sandwich)). But after taking the first bite of this cake, I officially changed my mind. This cake — no kidding. If I was stuck in a deserted island and could only eat one food for the rest of my life, I would choose this cake. Now, if I could just find that deserted island.


If you look closely at this recipe, you may notice it closely resembles the White Texas Sheet Cake ((aka White TSC)) recipe I shared last year ((and make every chance I get)).

The White TSC is a twist on the classic fudgy TSC ((if you have never enjoyed a square of TSC, feel sorry for yourself and promptly get to baking)). The key to a TSC ((whether almond, chocolate or brown sugar)) is both the buttercream and the cake batter are prepared on the stovetop.


With just a few simple tweaks to the my original White TSC, I believe I have created the best version yet.


For the brown sugar cake batter: Instead of the 3 cups of white cane sugar called for in the original cake batter recipe, I added 2 cups of dark brown sugar & 1 cup of white sugar.


Everything else stayed the same!


Isn’t the cake a gorgeous medium honey color?

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream:


I added 1½ cups of packed brown sugar & ½ teaspoon of kosher salt to the melting butter and milk, and brought the mixture to a rolling boil for about 2 minutes. Keeping the caramel at a roiling boil for 2 minutes causes the final buttercream to harden to a homemade fudge-like texture. I believe this is where the magic happens!


While the caramel buttercream mixture was boiling, I heated an extra cup of milk on the stove. Having very warm milk on hand when making this stove top buttercream is essential to obtaining the perfect creaminess. The milk, butter & sugar are turning into yummy, salty caramel candy while boiling. Once you add the powdered sugar, the mixture will thicken the buttercream too much. If you add cold milk to thin it to the perfect consistency, the cold temperature will affect the fudge-like texture we are going for. Hot milk with keep the temperature & texture perfect.


I poured the buttercream over the slightly warm cake. Be sure not to pour it in one spot or it will cause that part of the cake to fall. Oh, and there will probably be about a cup more buttercream than can fit on the cake. So, don’t pour it all out at once. Instead, pour out about 2/3 of the warm buttercream and add more to fill in bare spots as needed.

Let me pause and say, an extra cup of buttercream has never been a problem in our house. The kiddos are like a pack of hungry wolves at feeding time just at the mere mention of buttercream. An extra cup ensures there are plenty of licks to go around! (whew.)


PS – the edges and corners are the best part ((the icing oozes down the sides and pools, coating them in an extra thick dose of perfect salted caramel buttercream)).


Oh, and the center pieces are pretty awesome too. You know, the center always gives the most moist pieces of cake & let me tell you… moist, buttery brown sugar cake?? It is really as good as it gets.

Yes, I would say this cake is perfect for a deserted island.

Brown Sugar Sheet Cake with Salted Caramel Stove Top Buttercream
Serves 28
A simple and delicious buttery, super moist brown sugar sheet cake topped with a thick layer of fudge-like salted caramel buttercream that is cooked on the stove.
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
24 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
24 min
  1. 1 1/2 c water
  2. 1 1/2 c butter ((3 sticks))
  3. 2 c dark brown sugar
  4. 1 c granulated pure cane sugar
  5. 3 eggs, beaten
  6. 3/4 c sour cream
  7. 3 t vanilla
  8. 3 c flour
  9. 1 1/2 t kosher salt
  10. 1 1/2 t baking soda
  1. 3/4 c butter
  2. 1 1/2 c dark brown sugar
  3. 1/2 c milk
  4. 1/2 - 1 t kosher salt
  5. 6 c confectioners sugar
  6. 1 c milk heated on the stove
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large saucepan, bring butter and water to a boil. Combine flour, salt & baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Remove the butter & water from the heat, add sugar, stirring to dissolve. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, stir. Add a beaten egg, stir (quickly so the egg doesn't scramble) & and repeat this process until the flour and egg have been incorporated in the warm liquid and the batter is smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla extract, stirring to combine.
  2. Pour batter into a greased 17"x11"x1" jelly roll pan (I also lined it with parchment paper). Place in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the toothpick tests clean.
  3. Meanwhile, combine butter, brown sugar & 1/2 c milk in a medium saucepan & bring to a boil. In a separate small saucepan, heat remaining cup of milk to just below boiling. Remove both saucepans from heat & stir in 1/2 t salt, confectioners sugar and vanilla. Taste and add the remaining salt if necessary (you want to taste a slight saltiness in this caramel buttercream). Continue to stir, adding the additional warm milk until smooth and the desired thickness in reached. Pour over cake that has cooled for about 5 minutes but is still pretty warm*, **.
  4. Yields 28 servings.
  1. *Over working the icing by smoothing it with a spatula with cause the sugar to crystallize and become grainy. If you want a shiny icing, pour, quickly spread and then leave it alone.
  2. **Also, as I mentioned in the body of this post, you will probably have about a cup of buttercream leftover after pouring it over the cake. I recommend pouring about 2/3 over the cake first and then filling in any bare spots as needed. This will keep you from having an overflowing mess.
Adapted from Food for a Year: White Texas Sheet Cake
Food for a Year:


    • Emily says:

      Hi Cheri – I use salted butter but either will work depending on your taste preference. I prefer salted but I know a lot of bakers only use unsalted.

  1. Sabrina says:

    This looks so good! I’m going to make it this weekend. 🙂 P.S. Chick-fil-A is my ultimate left on a deserted Island one food too! Always seem to crave it on Sundays when it’s not open!! Ha ha ha …Love your website and enjoy following you on Instagram… Jsabkeel 🙂

In true show & tell form: "I am open for questions & comments"

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