This is a delicious Southern dessert. I took the traditional cook method for the caramel frosting, and added powdered sugar for ease. You have to work quickly with the frosting, but if it gets ahead of you, you can pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften it up. It's actually very easy to make both the frosting and cake, but I rate it as medium, because getting this amazing frosting onto the chocolate cake takes a little patience and attention. I think the greatest thing about making this cake is the wonderful caramel smell that fills your kitchen while it is being prepared. Hope you enjoy!
Sift together first four cake ingredients in medium bowl, set aside.
With mixer, beat butter at high speed until smooth. Lower mixer speed and add eggs, one at a time and mix until blended. Add sugar and vanilla and mix at medium speed until smooth and sugar is completely dissolved (no longer grainy).
At low speed add dry ingredients and buttermilk, alternating. Blend all ingredients just until mixed.
Spread into two greased and floured 9 inch round cake pans (batter will be thick)
Bake for 30 minutes in an over preheated to 350 degrees. When done, cool on rack in pan until room temperature. Frost with caramel frosting when completely cooled.
To prepare frosting, add butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil and cook over medium high heat for two minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, add extracts, stir and let mixture cool for five minutes.
Pour into large buttered mixing bowl and beat at medium speed for three minutes until glossy smooth. This should look like melted caramels at this point.
Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Be sure to scrape down sides so all powdered sugar is added.
When frosting cake, be sure to work quickly and be careful that cake does not crumble if frosting becomes too hard. If this happens, pop the frosting bowl back into the microwave for 30 seconds to soften it up and make it spreadable again. If you like, you can microwave it at 30 seconds intervals until it is pourable and pour over your cake. While I frosted it traditionally, I did take the last bit left in the bowl and do this and poured over the top so there was nothing wasted. Enjoy!