Chocolate Caramel Cake. A moist chocolate cake with caramel pretzel filling, caramel buttercream frosting, and finished with chocolate ganache. This cake is the stuff dreams are made of.
Last week we had a situation come up where we didn’t have anyone to watch our daughter the following day. I texted all of our usual sitters, and no one was available. Super stressed, at 8PM, I texted my friend Erin, who was 3 kids, and asked if she would be able to watch my daughter the next day. Without any hesitation she agreed.
This is the second time in the last year Erin has been there to watch one of my kids when I was in a pinch. She is a saint. Seriously. I wanted to pay her for her time, but she refused. So, I offered to make her a cake. She agreed.
Not only is Erin great about helping out in a pinch, but she is also super complementary of my desserts, which makes me want to make her more dessert, and make her perfect dessert.
I have been looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe for a while, and until this week, hadn’t found my version of perfect. But for Erin, there was no choice, it had to be done. So, I took a morning and set my mind to it. Three cakes later, this cake came to be. I took a bite, heard angels sing, and knew that this was now my go to chocolate cake.
Erin said she was interested in salted caramel ,so I incorporated that into the filling, frosting, and decor. This cake is rich, but amazing. Hope you enjoy!
Chocolate Caramel Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup coffee
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 stick butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream room temperature
- 3/4 cup crushed pretzels
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- To make cake, preheat over to 350 degrees. Line 3, 8" pans with parchment paper. Flour & butter sides of pans (I use baking Pam to do this).
- Whisk together first six ingredients in mixing bowl. Then add following 7 ingredients and beat on medium speed until all ingredients well combined, about 2 minutes. The batter is thin.
- Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans.
- Bake until toothpick comes out of center of cake with just a few crumbs, about 25 minutes.
- While cake is baking, make caramel sauce. In small pot over medium heat, add sugar and water. Continue stirring until sugar melts (it will turn grainy, then harden, and then melt), this will take about 10 minutes. Once sugar melts, stop stirring, turn heat to medium-high and boil until mixture turns an amber color and has a nutty smell. Remove from heat.
- Cut butter into cubes and gently place in sauce. Whisk until smooth. Slowly pour in whipping cream, continuously whisking. Note: It is important that the butter and cream are not cold, if they are cold it will make the caramel harden before it's well mixed.
- Allow caramel to cool to room temperature. Note: This will make about 3 cups of caramel sauce.
- To make filling, crush pretzels until you about about 3/4 cup of crushed pretzels.
- Mix pretzels with 1 1/4 cups of caramel sauce. Set aside.
- To make frosting, beat butter and sugar together and light and fluffy. Pour in 1 cup of caramel sauce and beat until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until desired sweetness level is reached. Mix in milk to desired consistency.
- Assemble: First level off domes of cooled cakes. Then, use caramel frosting to make a barrier around the outside edge of the top two cake layers. Use half of the pretzel/caramel filling to spread inside the barrier of each of these layers. Stack layers, ending with non-frosted layer.
- Use caramel frosting to frost outside of cake. I do a thin layer and then put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes (this is a crumb layer), and then finish. Save about 1/2-1 cup for decor.
- Make ganache. Place chocolate chips and corn syrup in heat proof bowl. Heat heavy cream in microwave until boiling (about 30 seconds in my microwave), and then pour over chocolate mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 5 minutes. After this, whisk together until smooth.
- To place ganache on cake you may pour in center and spread with offset spatula, or place in bottle so that you can allow the ganache to run down the sides, and then filling top of cake with remaining ganache.
- Allow ganache to cool for about 5-10 minutes. Decorate with remaining caramel frosting. Place remaining caramel sauce in drizzle bottle and decorate as desired. NOTE: Above recipe are links of things I use to make this process of cake assembly and decor easier.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
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The following are the things I use to help with the assembly and decor of this Chocolate Caramel Cake (Amazon links below):
Pre cut 8″ parchment rounds: If you make a lot of cakes, this is a huge time saver.
Cake Boards: For an 8″ cake, Iuse 8″ if I’m decorating the cake in the location where I’m going to serve it (looks better, you see less cardboard). I use a 10″ if I need to transport it. The large round isn’t as pretty, but ensures the bottom icing doesn’t get squished. This cake was on a 10″ round since it was traveling.
Cake Turn Table: This is great for turning the cake while you’re decorating.
Squeeze bottles: Perfect for ganache on sides of cakes and for caramel drizzle. I actually have the 18 pack as I use these so often.
Wilton Buttercream Tips: For this cake, I used the Wilton #22 tip for the edge decor.
Pastry Bags: The 12″ bags are appropriate for most decor, such as this cake. I actually buy them in bulk.