Hello friends! Today is a special day, because I am bringing you this beautiful cake to celebrate my dad’s birthday! It’s a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake! Chocolate Cake layers filled with Salted Caramel Sauce, covered in Salted Caramel Buttercream, topped with a Salted Caramel Drip, and Caramel Fudge Truffles.
Check out the Salted Caramel Filling.
This Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake is an impressive cake, suitable for any grand celebration! And of course, it’s my dad’s birthday so that’s awesome reason to celebrate!
First, make your cake layers. While the cake layers cool down, you can make the Caramel Sauce.
You can always use store-bought caramel sauce, but this caramel is very easy to make, and it takes no time to put together. Just needs time to cool down.
Make sure the caramel has cooled down completely, and it’s not warm, or cold, in order to use in this recipe.
Tips on how to make the Salted Caramel Sauce:
- Don’t let the sugar cook for too long. As soon as the sugar melts, add the heavy cream and butter.
- After adding the heavy cream and butter, return the sugar to the heat, and cook it just for a few seconds, until the crystallized sugar has re-melted.
- If there are still chunks of crystallized sugar in the caramel, strain them out by pouring the caramel through a strainer.
- Let the caramel cool down completely before using.
- Adjust salt according to your preference. If you like the caramel more on the salted side, feel free to add 1/2 tsp more to the recipe.
- If using store-bought caramel sauce, you will need from 2 to 2 1/2 cups of caramel for the whole cake (filling, buttercream, drip).
How to assemble the Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
Always make sure to spread a thin layer of caramel buttercream on both sides of a cake layer as you assemble the cake. This will help the caramel sauce not be soaked into the cake, by forming a barrier.
So the bottom and top of the middle cake layers should be coated with a thin layer of buttercream.
Once the cake has been assembled, coat it with a thin layer of buttercream, and let it chill for about 30 minutes.
This is called crumb coating, and it helps seal the crumbs in the cake, so they aren’t showing on the final layer of frosting.
Once the cake has been chilled, you can frost it with the final layer of Salted Caramel Buttercream. After that, make sure to chill the cake again before applying the Caramel Drip.
Tips for making a Caramel Drip
- Make sure the cake is super cold.
- The caramel should be at room temperature.
- Test out the caramel by dripping some sauce on the back of the cake and watch how long it takes to drip.
- If the sauce is too runny, place it in the fridge for 5 minutes or so. And if the sauce is too thick, place it in the microwave for 3 to 5 seconds to thin it out.
- You can place the caramel in a piping bag, or simply use a spoon to drip the sauce. Or you can just pour the sauce right on top of the cake, the drips won’t be thin, but more like a veil dropping from the top of the cake.
And place the cake back in the fridge for about 1 hour or so, until the caramel has firmed up, before piping on top or decorating.
I chose to top my cake with these unbelievably delicious Caramel Fudge truffles, aka brigadeiros! Every Brazilian birthday demands brigadeiros! Since my dad is Brazilian, he gets some brigadeiros on his birthday, and on his birthday cake!
The Caramel Fudge truffles complimented this Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake so well! They were the perfect treat!
If you like this cake, here are some more options of cake flavors you might enjoy. Please click on the names of the recipes below to be directed to the blog posts:
- Salted Caramel Stout Cake
- Chocolate Strawberry Cake
- Lemon Blackberry Cake
- Dulce de Leche Chocolate Cake
- Strawberry Nutella Cake
- Raspberry Coconut Cake
- Walnut Chocolate Cake
- Dulce de Leche Vanilla Cake
- Raspberry Chocolate Cake
- Key Lime Pie Cake
- Grape Cake
I hope you enjoyed today’s recipe. If you make this cake, please tag me on instagram. I love to see your creations! Thanks for reading!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 183 grams, 5.4 oz
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 39 grams, 1.38 oz
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature 113 grams, 4 oz
- 1 cups sugar 200 grams, 7 oz
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup milk 157 ml
- 2/3 cup hot brewed coffee read notes* 157 ml
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 2 cups sugar 400 grams, 14 oz
- 1 cup heavy cream 240 ml
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter 170 grams, 6 oz
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Salted Caramel Buttercream
- 1 cup caramel sauce from the recipe below, or use store-bought
- 6 cups powdered sugar 750 grams, 26.46 oz
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature (453 grams, 16 oz)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
- This recipe makes for 4-6” round cakes, or 2-8” round cakes.
- Pre-heat oven to 350Fº.
- Butter 4-6″ cake pans and place a parchment paper circle in the bottom of pans. Butter parchment. You can also use spray oil instead. Set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and espresso powder, if using it instead of the coffee. Set aside.
- Cream the butter at medium-high speed for 1 minute.
- Add sugar slowly, cream for another 2 minutes.
- Add eggs to the mixture, one at a time, scraping the bowl in between and making sure the first egg is incorporated before adding the second one.
- Add vanilla extract and mix.
- Slowly add milk, mix to combine.
- Pour dry ingredients over wet mixture.
- Fold with a spatula slowly, until ingredients are just combined.
- If you see big clumps of cocoa powder, you can use the whisk to try to gently smooth the batter out.
- Once batter is incorporated, pour hot coffee in the bowl. Whisk until combined.
- Pour batter evenly onto baking pans.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for 15-20 min. After the 12 minute mark, keep checking regularly, because you don’t want to burn your cakes or over bake them. Remove them from the oven once a toothpick comes our clean once inserted in the cake.
- Once you remove it from the oven, wait 10 minutes, flip cakes onto a cookie cooling rack and let cakes cool.
Once cool, wrap each layer individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. I like to leave my layers in the fridge for quite a bit so they can firm up and make it easier to assemble and decorate the cake.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Place the sugar in a medium to large saucepan. Don’t use a small pan for a couple of reasons: so that the sugar has an easier time melting evenly, and so that the caramel doesn’t bubble up out of the pan once you add the cream and butter at the end.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly to help the sugar melt evenly.
- As soon as the sugar melts entirely, it will be amber color. At this point, remove it immediately from the heat.
- Add the cream and salt. Be careful. The mixture is going to bubble up to the top, so be careful not to get burnt. After a second, it will subside, and you can whisk mixture.
- Whisk until combined.
- Add the butter. Again, mixture will bubble up, so be careful.
- Whisk until combined.
- Bring mixture to a quick boil, while constantly whisking.
- Let it boil for a few seconds, literally a few seconds, just until the sugar re-melts. Remove from the heat.
- Wait a couple of minutes until caramel cools slightly. If you notice there are still a couple of pieces of crystallized sugar that haven’t melted again, just use a strainer to pour the caramel into a jar.
- After pouring the caramel into a glass jar, or heat-proof container, let it cool completely at room temperature.
Salted Caramel Buttercream
- First make sure the Salted Caramel Sauce is completely cool down, but not cold from the fridge. If the sauce is warm, it will melt the butter from the frosting, and if it’s cold it will lump up.
- It has to be at room temperature.
- Sift the powdered sugar and set it aside.
- Cream the butter at medium high speed for 3 minutes, until very fluffy.
- Add the sifted powdered sugar to the butter and mix on low to combine.
- Add the caramel and raise the speed to medium high, and cream for a couple of minutes, until fluffy.
- Add the salt and the vanilla extract.
- If the buttercream is too runny, add more sifted powdered sugar to adjust the consistency. And if the buttercream is too stiff, add a teaspoon or so of water or milk to thin it out.
- Place one cake layer on top of a cake plate.
- Transfer some of the buttercream to a piping bag, leaving the remaining buttercream covered so it doesn’t dry up.
Spread a very thin layer of buttercream on top of the first cake layer. This will help the caramel sauce not soak into the cake.
- Pipe a ring of frosting around the edges of the first layer.
- Pour about 1/4 cup of caramel sauce in the middle of the cake.
Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the bottom of the next cake layer.
Place it on top of the caramel filled cake layer.
Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the cake. Then pipe a ring of frosting around, and fill with caramel sauce.
Repeat until you reach the final cake layer, remembering to always spread a layer of buttercream on both sides of the cakes, to prevent the caramel sauce from soaking into the cake.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting around the whole cake and smooth it out.
- Place the cake in the fridge and let the cake cool for about 30 minutes.
- This process is called crumb coating, and it helps to seal the crumbs of cake in, so they don’t show on the final layer of frosting.
- Remove the cake from the fridge and apply a thick coating of frosting around the cake. Use a spatula to smooth it out as best as possible.
- Place the cake back in the fridge until very cold, for at least 1 hour.
- Then you can begin to drip the caramel down the sides of the cake.
- I placed the caramel in a piping bag. You can place the caramel in a piping bag, or use a spoon, or simply pour the sauce on top of the cake.
- I usually test out a couple of drops of caramel on the back of the cake to see if they are dripping nicely and steadily before pouring the caramel drip on the whole cake.
- If the caramel is too runny, I’ll place it in the fridge for 5 minutes or so. And if the caramel is too thick, I will microwave it for 3 to 5 seconds to thin it out slightly.
- Place the cake back in the fridge for about 2 hours to let the caramel drip dry before piping anything on top of the cake.
- Keep the cake refrigerated, preferably covered so it doesn’t dry out, for up to 4 days.
Coffee in the cake: Always feel free to substitute the hot coffee for hot water. You could also add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder to the dry ingredients if that’s the case, or simply go without and use just the hot water. I have made this cake many times without coffee, using water instead, and it turned out fine. The coffee is simply used to enhance the chocolate flavor and richness, but not completely mandatory.
Caramel: If using store-bought caramel sauce, you will need 2 to 2 1/2 cups of caramel for the filling, for the frosting, and for the caramel drip.
Salt: Leave out the salt from the recipe for regular caramel, or increase the amount of salt if you like it really salted. Cinnamon: a little sprinkle of cinnamon in the frosting (about 1/4 tsp) will go a long way here and really add a lot of depth to the flavors of this cake.
Truffles: I topped the cake with these Caramel Fudge Truffles. They are super easy to make.