Bake cake according to directions on the box. Once the cake has been baked and is cooling, bring evaporated milk and sugar to a soft boil over medium heat. Stir frequently until mixture begins to boil then stir constantly. Boil until mixture reaches soft ball stage on a candy thermometer, 235-239°F. This icing has a tendency to boil over and you will have a mess on your hands if that happens so be careful. For this very reason I’ve started using an 8 quart pot to cook the icing in. I like to test the icing to double check its consistency by dropping a small drop into a glass of cold water. If the icing forms a soft ball and doesn’t dissolve but sinks to the bottom, I stop cooking the icing. Set aside and cool until icing thickens. You can continue to stir the mixture to help speed this process up. If you overcook the icing it will crystalize too much and become crunchy. If you undercook the icing it will be runny, sticky and your layers will shift on you. For the record, I don’t know this from experience...cough, cough! I find the perfect icing is one that is soft but forms a thin sugary crust after cooling completely.
I normally make a three layer cake. But sometimes I like to slice each layer in two. If you choose to do that you will need two-three times the icing. Pour the icing between the layers then top the cake with the remaining icing. Icing should slowly run down sides making it easy to cover. It’s normal for the icing to puddle around the bottom of the cake. This just makes a perfect excuse to get an extra taste or two of this yummy, creamy goodness. Just take your offset spatula and redistribute it on the cake.
If you find caramel icing too sweet adding just a pinch of salt will help with the sweetness.
I know there are far easier caramel icing recipes out there. But you will have to agree with me when I say there’s never anything better than what you grew up with. It may take you a time or two to get it right but boy when you do get it right!
If you would like to add some decorations to your Sweet Milk Filling Cake you can add the caramel cream cheese icing as I did this time.
Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz cream cheese
1 stick butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup of caramel icing
Cream butter and cream cheese together then add the caramel icing and beat until combined. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar.