Sorry about Real Life Cake

Drum roll please!


I started my life as a Real Adult last week.

(I don’t know who let me slip through the cracks like that… but it happened. And now I’m a Real Adult. WHAT?!)

Like, I have a job. I go to work at 8:15am and stay til 6pm (ish. Hopefully. Fingers crossed for mostly normal working hours!). Monday through Friday I do this.

Other people depend on me to answer their legal questions. Correctly.

Also people get billed for my time. (Like… people PAY for me to use my brain to solve their problems. This blows my mind right now).

I had to fill out paperwork about benefits and life insurance beneficiaries and 401(k)s.

I have a secretary, which is all kinds of weird and stressful (like, why didn’t our training include a session on How to Interact with Your Secretary and What You Should Ask Them to Do vs What You Should Really Take Care of Yourself?).

work pic


I have to get dressed. I cannot wear oversized men’s flannels and leggings every day. Instead, I’m totally wearing pencil skirts and conservative blouses and sensible pumps.


cake pic2

As you can probably imagine, this certified homebody and lover of oversized flannel was slightly anxious and upset about the close of her Life as a Student and the beginning of her Life as a Real Adult.

So… you know. I made a layer cake to apologize (to myself) about that (very positive) life change.

It’s my Sorry about Real Life Cake. One dark chocolate cake layer surrounded by two butter cake layers. Caramel sauce and toasted almonds in between layers. Frosted with vanilla buttercream. Drizzled with chocolate ganache. Sprinkled with more toasted almonds.

Sorry about Real Life Cake

Makes one 3-layer, 9-inch cake


Butter Cake

16 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
3 cups cake flour, plus more for pans, sifted
2½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups sugar
4 eggs

Dark Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg + 1 yolk, room temp
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

Caramel Filling 

1 3/4 cups sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 (15-oz.) can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Chocolate ganache

8 oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

6 tbsp butter

1 tbsp light corn syrup

3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 batch perfect crusting buttercream


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 9″ cake pans. Set aside.
  2. Now, make your cake batters in whatever order you want. I’ll start with the dark chocolate one for kicks: Start by whisking together your flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt. Then, you cream your butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add your eggs one at a time, mixing well after each new egg. Next, add in the chocolate and vanilla. Last, but not least, add your flour mixture and buttermilk in alternating additions. You want three flour additions and two buttermilk additions; begin and end with flour. Mix until just combined. Then place the batter into one of your prepared cake pans. It will be pretty full, which is totally a good problem to have. Trust me.
  3. For the butter cakes, start by whisking together your flour, baking powder and salt. Also whisk together the milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Set both aside. Then cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at at time. Add your flour mixture and milk mixture the same way you did for the chocolate cake. Three flour, two milk; begin and end with flour. Mix until just combined. Then divide batter between two remaining cake pans.
  4. All three cakes can bake at the same time. The butter cakes should be done a few minutes before the chocolate cake since they are thinner layers. Start checking the cakes after about 20-25 minutes. You want a toothpick inserted in the center to come out clean and the cakes should spring back from the touch.
  5. Let cakes cool on a wire rack while you make the caramel filling.  Whisk together 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, milk, and egg in a saucepan and set aside. Heat the extra 1/4 cup sugar in a small skillet over high heat. Cook until the sugar melts into an amber caramel. This will happen pretty fast, like 1-2 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel into the milk mixture, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. The caramel mixture might harden when you add it. Just keep stirring. It will work itself out. You want to stir this mixture constantly so the bottom doesn’t burn. Cook until a candy thermometer reads 232°. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and baking soda; let sit for about 1 minute. Then, using a hand mixer, beat the mixture on medium-low speed until it thickens up a bit. The recipe says it should reach the consistency of “loose pudding” but I really have no idea what that looks like. So I just whipped it for about 5 minutes and called it a day.
  6. Before you assemble, make your ganache so it has a bit of time to cool before you need to use it. Mix together all ingredients over a double boiler until melted together and smooth. Set aside to cool.
  7. Now comes assembly! Poke holes on the top of each cake layer to help with caramel absorption. Then, place a butter cake layer on your cake stand/plate/whatever you’re using. Slowly drizzle about 1/2 cup of caramel over the cake layer. Patience is the name of the game here if you want to get maximum caramel flavor. Give it time to soak into the cake. Then top with about 1/4 of slice almonds. Place chocolate layer on top. Repeat caramel and almond steps. Place remaining layer on top. Skip the caramel and almond steps.
  8. The frosting recipe I used gives you a frosting that is really easy to work with. I would definitely do a crumb layer before you frost the cake in earnest, though. I had fun practicing my piping since it was my last day of funemployment and these are the things I find relaxing and exciting. But you definitely do NOT have to pipe this frosting. It will work just as well slathered in whichever way you want.
  9. Once the cake is frosted, you can drizzle your ganache around the edges, or even cover the whole top of the cake if you want to. I waited until my ganache had started thickening up a bit because I didn’t want it to all end up at the bottom of the cake. But do whatever feels right to you! Then top with remaining toasted almonds and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Saveur, Martha, Baked, and assembled by my brain.

cake pic

Also. Fun fact? I dropped my phone (in the toilet) on Friday the 13th. It is down for the count. Meaning all my photos– including the ones I took of this cake for you– are down for the count as well. That’s why this took me so long to post (I was waiting on results of data recovery operations (and they were unsuccessful)). And also why you only get the two I posted to Instagram. Apologies. Like, Sorry about Real Life (Cake) FOR REAL.

Bake with love!!



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