Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

There are so many unique (and sometimes complicated) cake recipes out there and just as many versions of chocolate cake.  While I love experimenting and trying out new recipes, sometimes I just want to have a good slice of rich, moist (sorry to those that hate that word-there’s truly no other word to use!) cake. Especially when it’s a special person’s over a month late birthday celebration.


This is the same cake I mentioned in my last post, that came out lopsided and a little crumbly on one side. No amount of icing could really fix that and if anything, the more I tried to fix it the worse it became. Of course, I was frustrated and hard on myself because it didn’t look “pretty enough.” But it still tasted great. More than great, actually. This is one of the best chocolate cakes that I’ve made and our friends loved it when we served it over the weekend.


I think part of what makes this recipe better than the standard run of the mill cake recipe is buttermilk. Buttermilk always helps to make baked goods more dense and moist (again!) while deepening the flavor-every time I bake with buttermilk it reminds me that I should use it more often! In breads, in waffles, in….more cakes! The cake itself is not overly sweet and tastes more of dark chocolate, which is my favorite kind.

The salted caramel also helps to elevate this cake to a whole new level. There may be nothing that I love more than the salty/sweet combination and the salted caramel, mixed with cream cheese and then combined with a dark dense chocolate cake…..I mean, do I need to even go on? I don’t think I really need to convince you about how good salted caramel is. It is also dangerously easy to make. A blessing and a curse.

Make this cake. Make this cake your new go-to chocolate cake recipe, even.


Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Kimberly Taylor Images

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature (Greek yogurt can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee (Starbucks Via packets are great for this!)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Add the chocolate chips and fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended. Divide your batter evenly between your cake pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (or corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine the sugar, water, and the brown rice syrup in a large saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.

Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.

Do not stir from this point on, but instead swirl the liquid around the pan so that the caramel doesn’t burn.

Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.

CAREFULLY pour the heavy cream into the mixture. The mixture will bubble up significantly and is very hot.

Stir the mixture, again being careful. Add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.

Measure 1 cup into a Pyrex measuring cup. Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick like molasses and warm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Save any extra in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 2 sticks butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 cup salted caramel (recipe above)

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.

Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar into the butter/cream cheese mixture and beat to combine.

Add 1 cup of the salted caramel and beat to combine.

Add additional powdered sugar until the frosting is the sweetness and consistency you desire. (I did not need to add any additional sugar).

Now go…make this cake. Make this cake your new go-to chocolate cake recipe, even.  You don’t even need a special occasion. I give you permission 😉


2 thoughts on “Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

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