Salted Caramel Chocolate Layer Cake

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This cake should come with a warning label. It is a thing of beauty, 100% decadent and perfect if you are feeling a bit naughty.


This recipe was adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated version but it’s pretty close!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Layer Cake

Cake Layers

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or milk with 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Grease and line the bottom of two 8 or 9-inch round pans. Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large bowl, sift the flour and cocoa and stir in the remaining dry ingredients.

Stir together the wet ingredients and incorporate into dry. Mix through until no lumps can be seen.

Divide the batter between the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Cool completely and slice each of the cakes into two layers.


(You will need a candy thermometer for this)

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in medium saucepan of medium high heat and bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is amber colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, swirling saucepan occasionally, until dark amber, 2 to 5 minutes longer. The caramel temperature should come to 375°-380°F.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in cream, butter, vanilla, and salt. Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until smooth and caramel reaches 240°-245°F, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer caramel to prepared pan and let cool until just warm to touch (100°-105°), 20 to 30 minutes.

‘Ganache’ Frosting

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

In a food processor, blitz the butter, sugar and cocoa until smooth (35 seconds). Add the salt, syrup and vanilla and blitz again for 10 seconds to combine. Pour in the melted chocolate and blitz again for another 10 seconds. It should be thick and luscious!


  • Sea salt for decoration

Place the first of four layers onto the cake plate. Spread a 1/3 cup of the cooled caramel onto the cake and place the next cake layer over top. Repeat with the rest of the caramel and cake layers finishing with the final cake layer.


Frost the cake sides and top until it is completely enveloped. Sprinkle with sea salt.


Chill in the fridge to allow the icing to set. But allow the cake to sit at room temperature for 15-20 before cutting. This will ensure more even slices.



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