This salted caramel chocolate cake is perfect for special occasions. With 3 layers of chocolate cake, a decadent chocolate frosting and gooey caramel, you can’t go wrong!
Where has this year gone? It feels like just yesterday when we were celebrating New Year’s. Now February is half over. I guess that’s a good thing, because last March felt like it was yearsssss long. Am I right?
Since time has been flying by, I haven’t dedicated as much time researching recipes that I want to try. Work has been chaotic, so I haven’t had a few minutes here or there to take a break. I do my best and try to stretch in between meetings, but more often than not, I am sitting down most of the day. My lower back is screaming because of it.
I had a difficult time deciding what to make for Valentine’s Day since I didn’t have much time to think or research. I settled on a salted caramel cake and found one from my friend Ashley at Baker by Nature. I’ve had a lot of success with her recipes in the past so I had no doubt that this cake would be a home run.
When I tasted the leftover cake (after removing the domed part while I was stacking the layers), I instantly knew this cake would be a hit. The salted caramel chocolate frosting was already phenomenal, and the salted caramel was drool-worthy. I had a feeling that once all 3 components came together, we would have a cake that was close to perfection.
Of course, I added some additional salted caramel on the top of the cake and sprinkled more sea salt as well. You can omit that, but I find that it cuts down on the sweetness. We enjoyed this cake with even more salted caramel on the side and also with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream (vanilla works too). It was a super indulgent way to enjoy Valentine’s Day as a family.
Needless to say, this is one of the best cakes I’ve made to date. I hope you try it soon.
Husband’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
Addie’s rating: 5 out of 5
My rating: 5 out of 5
Salted caramel chocolate cake
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 and ¼ teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 and ½ cups full fat sour cream
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- ¾ cup vegetable oil can substitute with coconut oil
- 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 an d ½ cups hot water
Salted caramel chocolate frosting
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter very soft
- 4 and ½ cups powdered sugar sifted
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons salted caramel sauce see below
- flaky sea salt for garnish
Salted caramel sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ Tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
Make the salted caramel sauce
- In a medium sized saucepan set over medium low heat, melt the sugar and water together.
- Once the sugar has fully dissolved, add in the butter and continue to heat on your stove over medium heat. Do not stir.
- Keep cooking until the mixture reaches a deep golden/brown color. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the heavy cream. Be careful, as the mixture will spatter and hiss.
- Keep stirring and stir in the vanilla and salt. Stir vigorously until it achieves a thick yet pourable consistency. Set aside.
Bake the cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Generously grease and line 3 separate 9-inch round baking pans and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, whisk together the sugars, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt on low speed until well incorporated.
- In a separate medium sized bowl, mix together the eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, milk, oil, and vanilla. Keep the mixer on low and slowly pour this into the stand mixer with the dry ingredients.
- Carefully stream in the hot water and continue to mix. Your batter will appear very watery (this is OK).
- Evenly distribute your batter into your 3 prepared pans. Bake in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool for about 10 minutes before flipping them over onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the chocolate frosting
- In the bowl of a clean stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Mix until everything is blended thoroughly. Then increase the speed to medium and add in the vanilla, salt, heavy cream and salted caramel. Mix for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is lump-free and uniform in color.
- If the frosting appears too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it appears too thick, add a little bit of heavy cream. Once the frosting is to your desired consistency, set aside.
Assemble the cake
- If needed, trim off any domed part of your cake with a serrated knife. You want to make sure your cake layers are flat so they can stack easily. Eat any scraps or give them to me. (You can always turn leftover cake into cake truffles!)
- Place one layer of cake onto a plate, cake stand or serving tray. Spread a thin layer of frosting on top. Then add about ½ cup of the caramel. Repeat with the next layer - add a layer of cake, then frosting, and finally the caramel.
- Top with the final layer of cake on top of the caramel layer and transfer your cake to the refrigerator to cool for about an hour. This will make it easier to frost so the frosting doesn't mix with the cake crumbs.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. If desired, sprinkle with additional sea salt.
- Slice and serve.