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a piece of chocolate caramel cake on a white plate with a fork.
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5 from 9 votes

Chocolate Caramel Cake

The ultimate chocolate caramel cake, made from scratch. Three layers of amazingly moist chocolate cake are slathered in a creamy chocolate-caramel frosting and topped with extra salted caramel sauce – heaven! Everything is super easy to make and can be prepared ahead if desired. Spoil your family and friends by making this for your next special occasion or party cake.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Cooling Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 12
Calories: 597kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups plain flour all purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons bicarb soda baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs large, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the filling

  • 1 ½ cups salted caramel sauce thick caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought.

For the frosting

  • 80 grams butter melted (⅓ cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ½ cup salted caramel sauce thick caramel sauce, homemade or store-bought.
  • cup cocoa powder sifted
  • 4 cups icing sugar sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon salt flakes optional
  • 6-8 tablespoons milk

Instructions

For the Chocolate Cake

  • Pre-heat oven to 160 °C and prepare 3 x 20 cm cake tins by greasing and lining with baking paper.
  • Add the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, oil and milk and whisk together until just combined.
  • Carefully add the boiling water and whisk slowly until the water is completely incorporated into the mixture.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the three tins (or bake in batches if you don't have enough tins). A measuring cup will help with evenly dividing the mixture.
  • Bake on the middle shelf for around 25-30 minutes, or until cakes have cooked completely. When cooked, they will be fluffy and spring back if gently pressed in the middle. Be careful not to overcook.
  • Transfer cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

For the Frosting

  • Stir the melted butter, vanilla and caramel sauce together with the cocoa. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
  • Add the icing sugar and salt, along with enough milk to form a thick frosting (around 6-8 tablespoons, but use more or less if needed) and mix until completely combined. 
  • The frosting should be thick enough to hold its shape. If it is too thin, add a little more icing sugar until it reaches the desired thickness. If it's too thick, add a little more milk.

To Decorate

  • Assemble the layers one at a time. To start, place one cake layer on your cake stand or plate.
  • Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the first cake layer. Form a trough in the middle and add some of the salted caramel sauce.
  • Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the frosting and caramel process. Add the third cake layer. If needed, refrigerate for a short time to set.
  • Spread the frosting over the sides (optional) and top of the cake. Finish with a drizzle of salted caramel and add a small sprinkle of salt flakes.
  • Slice, and serve. If not eating right away, keep it covered in the fridge but allow to return to room temperature before eating.

Notes

  1. Measure and weigh the ingredients for best results. Kitchen scales should be used to weigh the flour, for accuracy. If you don’t have kitchen scales, make sure you measure and level the flour with a knife. Too much flour and cocoa will dry out the cake.
  2. Make sure all of the ingredients are at room temperature.
  3. The cake batter will appear a little runnier than you may expect. This is normal and everything will result in a super-moist cake once baked.
  4. I use my homemade salted caramel sauce in this recipe. If you use a different recipe or a store-bought caramel sauce, choose a thick one. Runny sauce will run off the cake layers.
  5. The cake and the caramel should be completely cool before attempting to frost and assemble. A warm cake will melt the frosting, causing the layers to slide.
  6. Make ahead – the cake, caramel and frosting can be made the day before and assembled the following day. Store the caramel sauce and frosting in the fridge in airtight containers and completely wrap the cake and store at room temperature. If making the cake more than a day ahead, it should be wrapped and frozen (undecorated) until being thawed for use. The caramel and frosting will need to be brought back to room temperature before assembling, or they will be hard to spread.
  7. Top the cake with any of your favourite chocolate-caramel inspired treats like Twix, Mars bars or Caramello chocolate.
  8. If your oven isn’t big enough or you don’t have enough cake tins to bake the cake layers at the same time, you can bake in batches.
  9. If you have made the caramel sauce ahead of time and stored it in the fridge, you may need to microwave it for a short time to loosen it up again.
  10. The cake can be made into 3 layers as per the recipe card below, or you can bake it into 2 cakes or a single cake. You will need to adjust the cooking time to suit.
  11. The finished, decorated cake should be kept in the fridge for around 5 days. The cake should be brought back to room temperature before eating. To do this, leave it out (covered) at room temperature for half an hour before serving.
  12. Freezing; If making ahead of time, the undecorated cake layers can be baked, cooled and wrapped before freezing for up to 3 months. Wrap them well with clingfilm to protect them from freezer-burn. The layers can be thawed in the fridge overnight or at room temperature before decorating, or they can be decorated while frozen (this makes them a little easier to frost!). The caramel sauce and frosting can also be wrapped, stored in containers and frozen for up to three months. Individual, decorated slices can also be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw before eating.
  13. Please note that the nutrition information is based on the cake being fully decorated with caramel sauce and frosting and being cut into 12 slices, with one slice being one serve. The nutritional information is an estimate only and does not take into account any additional toppings or sides served with the cake.
  14. This recipe is made using Australian cups and spoon measurements. Due to cup sizes varying from country to country, I advise adjusting if necessary. 

Nutrition

Calories: 597kcal | Carbohydrates: 113g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 481mg | Potassium: 335mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 92g | Vitamin A: 297IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 2mg