Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting

chocolate cake with whipped salted caramel

With the start of October and the launch of the new Chic website, I figured this celebration requires cake.  A chic chocolate caramel cake!

I tend to get a little excited for the holidays and festivities that come with the onset of autumn (see: fall color sprinkles).  I start planning my Halloween costume the first week of October, I have my Thanksgiving menus printed before November, and my family buys our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  Some may say I am just too eager.  Nope, I don’t see anything wrong with being prepared.

TheChic_slice of chocolate caramel cake

I admit I went a little sprinkle happy with this chocolate cake.  I just love how fun and playful sprinkles are.   (You can definitely switch up the colors and make this again for Christmas!)  Plus, sprinkles add a nice crunch with every bite of cake.

The rich, luscious chocolate cake  paired with the creamy yet salted caramel is sure to bring happiness to your tastebuds.  I can’t think of a better combination that chocolate and caramel.  (Just think about all the chocolate-caramel candy bars!) Caramel may be fall’s best friend, but chocolate is it’s soul mate.

TheChic_sprinkle chocolate caramel cake

Chocolate Layer Cake, makes 4 x 8-inch rounds

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tbsp instant espresso powder, optional

2 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

TheChic_chocolacake ingredients

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and lightly flour 4 (or 2) 8-inch cake rounds.  Line with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.  Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy in texture.  Scrape down bowl as needed.

3. Add eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is incorporated before adding the next one.  Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure even mixing.

4.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder.  (Espresso powder or instant espresso coffee is optional.  I like to use it because it helps heighten and highlight the chocolate notes.) Make sure there are no cocoa powder lumps.  If desired, sift ingredients together.  Set aside.

5. Add vanilla extract to milk.  Stir together.

6. Add 1/3 of dry flour mixture to mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed until almost combined.  Follow with half of milk mixture.  Repeat and end with the last 1/3 of flour mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined and there are no streaks of flour left.

TheChic_divide chocolate cake batter

7. Divide batter evenly between four 8-inch cake rounds.  If you only have two cake rounds, divide by two and split cake layers after baking.  I like to use a large cookie scoop to distribute the batter.  Use a mini offset spatula to even out the cake batter.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until cakes are done and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

*note: If you divide the batter between two pans instead of four, you will have to increase your baking time by 15-20 minutes.

8. Let cakes cools for 5-10 minutes before unmolding.  Run a mini offset spatula along the edges of the cake, unmold, and let cake cool to room temperature on wire rack.

Whipped Salted Caramel

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 cup heavy cream

1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks

2 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

TheChic_making caramel1

1. Using a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add sugar and water.  Fold to combine until sugar is moistened.

TheChic_making caramel2

2.  Heat mixture over high heat.  Once sugar starts to melt, lower heat and allow the syrup to cover.  Make sure not to agitate the sugar to prevent unwanted crystallization.

TheChic_making caramel3

3.  Keep an eye on the syrup as it cooks.  It can quickly burn.  Remove from heat once syrup is aromatic and amber in color.  Let cool slightly, about 2 minutes.

TheChic_making caramel4

4. Meanwhile, warm up heavy cream in the microwave for 1 minute.  Add about 1/3 of warm cream to sugar syrup and whisk.  BE CAREFUL! As soon as you add the cream, the mixture will bubble and steam vigorously.  Slowly add remaining cream and continue to whisk.  Whisk until mixture has slightly cooled.

TheChic_making caramel5

5.  Add butter and salt.  Whisk until homogenized.  Let cool to room temperature.

TheChic_making caramel6

6.  Transfer cooled caramel to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle (or whisk) attachment.  Mix on medium speed.

TheChic_making caramel7

7.  Mix for 7-10 minutes until caramel has lightened in color and thickened significantly.  Mix until caramel has the texture and body of buttercream.

Cake Assembly

1. Once cake has cooled to room temperature you are ready to assembly. If necessary, slice cake layers.

TheChic_chocolate-cake-assemble

2. Place one cake round on plate or cake board.  Spread about 1/2 cup of whipped caramel frosting on cake using an offset spatula (or use a spoon).

TheChic_cake assemble2

3. Place second cake round on top.  Spread another 1/2 cup of frosting.  Repeat with remaining layers.

4.  You can serve the cake tomboy style (meaning keep the sides of the cake exposed).  Or you can can smooth a thin layer of frosting around the sides of the cake and cover it with fun, festive sprinkles/jimmies.

5.  Keep cake chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Before slicing and serving, let cake sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften.

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting
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Chocolate Layer Cake
  1. 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  3. 4 large eggs, room temperature
  4. 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  7. 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  8. 2 Tbsp instant espresso powder, optional
  9. 2 1/4 cups whole milk, room temperature
  10. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Whipped Salted Caramel
  1. 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 1 cup heavy cream
  4. 1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
  5. 2 tsp fine sea salt
Chocolate Layer Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour 4 (or 2) 8-inch cake rounds. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy in texture. Scrape down bowl as needed.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure even mixing.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. (Espresso powder or instant espresso coffee is optional. I like to use it because it helps heighten and highlight the chocolate notes.) Make sure there are no cocoa powder lumps. If desired, sift ingredients together. Set aside.
  5. Add vanilla extract to milk. Stir together.
  6. Add 1/3 of dry flour mixture to mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until almost combined. Follow with half of milk mixture. Repeat and end with the last 1/3 of flour mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined and there are no streaks of flour left.
  7. Divide batter evenly between four 8-inch cake rounds. If you only have two cake rounds, divide by two and split cake layers after baking. I like to use a large cookie scoop to distribute the batter. Use a mini offset spatula to even out the cake batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cakes are done and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  8. Let cakes cools for 5-10 minutes before unmolding. Run a mini offset spatula along the edges of the cake, unmold, and let cake cool to room temperature on wire rack.
Whipped Salted Caramel
  1. Using a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add sugar and water. Fold to combine until sugar is moistened.
  2. Heat mixture over high heat. Once sugar starts to melt, lower heat and allow the syrup to cover. Make sure not to agitate the sugar to prevent unwanted crystallization.
  3. Keep an eye on the syrup as it cooks. It can quickly burn. Remove from heat once syrup is aromatic and amber in color. Let cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, warm up heavy cream in the microwave for 1 minute. Add about 1/3 of warm cream to sugar syrup and whisk. BE CAREFUL! As soon as you add the cream, the mixture will bubble and steam vigorously. Slowly add remaining cream and continue to whisk. Whisk until mixture has slightly cooled.
  5. Add butter and salt. Whisk until homogenized. Let cool to room temperature.
  6. Transfer cooled caramel to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle (or whisk) attachment. Mix on medium speed.
  7. Mix for 7-10 minutes until caramel has lightened in color and thickened significantly. Mix until caramel has the texture and body of buttercream.
Cake Assembly
  1. Once cake has cooled to room temperature you are ready to assembly. If necessary, slice cake layers.
  2. Place one cake round on plate or cake board. Spread about 1/2 cup of whipped caramel frosting on cake using an offset spatula (or use a spoon).
  3. Place second cake round on top. Spread another 1/2 cup of frosting. Repeat with remaining layers.
  4. You can serve the cake tomboy style (meaning keep the sides of the cake exposed). Or you can can smooth a thin layer of frosting around the sides of the cake and cover it with fun, festive sprinkles/jimmies.
  5. Keep cake chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Before slicing and serving, let cake sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften.
The Chic Site http://thechicsite.com/
 

7 Responses to “Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting”

  1. Tiffani P

    I wish there was a “print” button – so that I could print this recipe for easier creating in my kitchen! Can you make that happen, Maryanne? I am thinking of making this for a birthday at work later this week!

    Reply
  2. Rachel

    When making the frosting, the directions were very unclear. Making sure not not agitate the sugar, not sure what that means. We assumed it meant no stirring, but it ended in a crystallized mess. Anyways, a clearer explanation would be helpful!

    Reply
    • Maryanne Cabrera

      Hi Rachel, agitate means do not stir or do not disturb. Liquid sugar crystalizes when it is moved too much. It can also crystalize if the pot being used has any oils or debris. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you.

      Reply
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About The Chic

Back in 2004 when I was looking to name my events company, I stumbled across the word 'Chic' in an old dictionary. The definition was: “a fashionable lifestyle, ideology, or pursuit”. I fell in love with the word and the idea that chic is the pursuit of something better, prettier, or cooler than you are today. Chic isn’t a state of being or even a destination, chic is the journey you take on the way to something greater. ~Rachel

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