chocolate salted caramel layer cake

these days salted caramel is everywhere you look!! so why not pair my favorite chocolate cake with the famous salted caramel sauce that seems to go well with everything… riiiiight?

chocolate salted caramel layer cake by the baking cup

the chocolate cake is a devil’s food cake but this time i swapped the milk for buttermilk for a little more flavor and moisture, and the frosting is a swiss meringue buttercream flavored with salted caramel. oh, and to make the cake more scrumptious, i added salted caramel to each layer and on top of the outer layer!

here i have a few pics of the how-to. if you’re a regular visitor, you know i’ve posted more detailed photos in previous recipes such as the decadent cookies and cream cupcakes or the easter salted caramel bundt cake.

sift all dry ingredients together.

mix well until combined.

add hot water/coffee mixture.

add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

to make the swiss meringue buttercream frosting whisk sugar and egg whites over a pot with simmering water.

add a tablespoon of butter at a time.

and vanilla of course!

add salted caramel to frosting.

frost your layers and make sure to add one to two tablespoons of salted caramel in between.


so ready to eat this amazing cake!

chocolate salted caramel layer cake by the baking cup

chocolate salted caramel layer cake by the baking cup

chocolate salted caramel layer cake by the baking cup

chocolate salted caramel layer cake

salted caramel sauce ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, kosher or sea salt

yields 1 and 1/2 cups

chocolate cake ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 extra large egg {sitting on the kitchen counter for 30-50 minutes approximately}
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature {sitting on the kitchen counter for 30-50 minutes approximately}
1/4 cup flavorless oil {canola, vegetable}
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons strong brewed decaf coffee

salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream frosting ingredients:

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
7 large egg whites
3 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold to the touch {sitting on the kitchen counter for 20 to 30 minutes approximately}
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup to 1 cup salted caramel

make the salted caramel:

  1. combine the water, sugar, and the corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat.
  2. stir together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is incorporated.
  3. cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  4. after 2 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
  5. Do not stir from this point on, but it is important to carefully shake or swirl the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn.
  6. Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
  7. *** This is the dangerous part *** Pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Wear oven mitts, stand away from the pan, and be careful. The mixture will bubble up significantly.
  8. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon, again being careful. Add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.
  9. Pour into a large Pyrex measuring cup or heatproof bowl. Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick like molasses and cool to the touch, about 45 minutes.

make the chocolate cake:

  1. preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. butter two 6-inch pans throughout. line the bottoms with parchment paper. butter and lightly flour sides and bottoms. set aside.
  3. in a medium bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar together.
  4. in the bowl of a stand mixer beat egg, milk, oil and vanilla for 1 minute on medium-low speed until combined.
  5. in a small bowl or large measuring cup combine boiling water and coffee. add in a steady form to eggs, milk and oil mixture at low speed until well combined, about 30 seconds.
  6. set speed to the lowest setting and add flour mixture to liquids, 1/2 cup a at time until combined. do not over mix.
  7. divide batter evenly among prepared pans. about 14.5 ounces per pan.
  8. bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. start checking at the 30 minute mark with a toothpick.
  9. cool cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes and take out of pans. let cool completely on the cooling rack before frosting, about 1 hour or more.

make the salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream frosting:

  1. add water to a large pot and set on a stove burner over low heat until water steams/simmers. in the bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar and egg whites. place bowl on top of pot with simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  2. whisk egg whites and sugar for 3 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is shiny and smooth. be careful when you touch the mixture to check if the sugar has dissolved since it’s hot.
  3. transfer bowl to stand mixer and beat with the whisk attachment for 10-12 minutes, or until glossy, fluffy and soft peaks form and the bottom of the bowl is cool and not warm.
  4. while egg whites are whisking, cut butter in 1/2 tablespoon pieces.
  5. once egg whites are ready, add butter, two pieces at a time beating on medium to medium-high speed {speed #5 or #6 in a kitchenaid}.
  6. add salt and vanilla. mix until well combined.
  7. in a separate bowl, combine about 2 and 1/4 cups of frosting and 3/4 to 1 cup of the salted caramel. mix well with a whisk for about a minute or until well combined. you’ll have enough vanilla frosting for the outside of the cake.

to assemble the cake:

  1. cut all layers in half with a serrated knife {you’ll have 4 layers in total} and make sure to also cut any domes that formed while baking – you want the layers as straight and flat as possible.
  2. place a dollop of frosting in the middle of a plate, cake stand or cake board wrapped in tin foil paper and set first layer top side up. the addition of frosting is to prevent the cake moves while working on it. add 3/4 cup of the salted caramel frosting to first layer and spread with an offset spatula, and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salted caramel. place another cake layer with top side up and add another 1/2 cup of frosting and salted caramel to layer. continue to assemble the cake until you get to the top layer, which you’ll want down side facing up.
  3. crumb coat your cake with a thin layer of the vanilla frosting without salted caramel and the help of a medium offset spatula. this layer doesn’t have to be perfect. place cake in the fridge for about 20 to 30 minutes to help it set.
  4. coat cake with the remainder of the vanilla frosting without salted caramel until smooth.
  5. pour remainder salted caramel on top of the cake. pour in the middle so the caramel spreads on its own and drips over the edges.
  6. serve immediately or store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 day. you can refrigerate the cake but serve at room temperature.


  1. double the recipe for each item to make a four-layer 8-inch cake.
  2. you can make the cake the morning of but make sure to wrap tightly in plastic paper after they’ve cooled down and store at room temperature. assemble and frost in the afternoon or evening of same day.
  3. you can make the caramel sauce the day before or even two days ahead by storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container after it’s no longer hot. let the sauce come to room temperature before using or pop in the microwave in 30-second increments until normal thickness {not too liquidity}.
  4. make the frosting a day or two ahead by storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container and letting it come to room temperature for at least 5 hours. whisk frosting by hand or mixer at low speed.
  5. pour the remainder of the salted caramel sauce on the top outer layer minutes before displaying and serving. if you like the caramel sauce on top really thick, put it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

chocolate salted caramel layer cake by the baking cup


Share This Post


  1. Oh my goodness! This looks amazing!

  2. Get in my belly!!!!!!!!! Lovely!

  3. Looks amazing! Quick question, what’s the point of the coffee and is there a possible substitution?

    • Thank you Mary! The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor and makes it rich. The cake doesn’t taste like coffee at all. I’m not sure about the results, but maybe you could add two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the boiling water and try that? There’s also espresso powder, but that’s coffee, so I’m not sure if you want to go that route. Hope this helps!

  4. Yum!

  5. nancy gurney says:

    This looks delicious! Glad you are staying busy!

Leave a Comment: