This is the cake I made for my mom on Mother's Day this year. It started life as a caramel cake recipe, but as I was preparing it, I decided it needed something...else. I tweaked it by adding toasted pecans and I cooked the frosting a bit more than I had intended. The result was this decadent variation on a caramel cake!
Prepare 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment or waxed paper. Coat parchment with cooking spray. Dust pan with flour.
For cake: beat sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter until well blended. Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, betting well after each addition.
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, a little at a time. Alternating with milk--beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pans, and sharply tap pans on counter a few times to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans, peel off parchment and allow to cool completely on wire rack.
To toast pecans: place them in single layer on cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for about 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
For frosting: Combine brown sugar, evaporated milk, butter, corn syrup and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until thickened (about 5-7 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth and slightly warm. Cool 2-3 minutes (it will be thin, but it thickens as it cools).
Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Sprinkle with roasted chopped pecans and spoon some of the frosting on top of layer. Top with remaining layer and frost top and sides of cake. I let the frosting kind of drip down the sides. Garnish with roasted pecan halves. Store cake, loosely covered, in refrigerator.