Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly mist an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil spray and set the pan aside.
Place the cake mix, brown sugar, cream cheese, oil, eggs, water, vanilla, and almond extract or maple flavoring in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping the sides down again if needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula and place the pan in the oven.
Bake the cake until it is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 48 to 52 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely, 20 minutes
Meanwhile, prepare the Quick Caramel Frosting.
Place the butter and brown sugars in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, and bring the mixture back to a boil then remove the pan from the heat. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until the frosting is smooth. It should be smooth enough to spread
Ladle the frosting over the cake while it is still warm. It will set as it cools. If using for cupcakes and the icing hardens too much, place the saucepan back over low heat and stir in 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of milk.
Ladle the warm frosting over the cooled cake in the pan and smooth the top with a metal spatula. Let the frosting set 20 minutes before slicing and serving the cake.