Truly worthy of any celebration, this cake features a rich salted caramel filling sandwiched between dark, utterly moist chocolate cake layers that contain less fat than you might think.

How To Make Salted Caramel Chocolate Layer Cake

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Preparation:
2 hrs
Cooking:
1 hr
Total:
3 hrs
Serves:
12

Ingredients

For Salted Caramel Filling:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp fleur de sel or other fine-grained sea salt

For Cake Layers:

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs stored at room temperature
  • 1 cup strong black coffee or 2 tsp. instant coffee powder plus 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk or 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar unsifted
  • large pinch of salt
  • 5 tbsp milk, half and half, or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For Garnishing:

  • extra fleur de sel or fine-grained sea salt

Instructions

For Filling:

  • Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. 
  • Turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to cook for 10 minutes, without stirring, until the sugar produces a dark amber color. 
  • Remove the pan from heat and pour in the cream. At this point, the mixture will start to bubble. 
  • Stir the mixture well, then stir in the butter and salt. Let the filling cool to room temperature. Afterward, cover the pot and chill the mixture in the refrigerator for later use.

For Cake Layers:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While your oven warms up, grease two 9-inch round pans and dust them with cocoa powder (an optional but helpful method is to line the pans with parchment circles). 
  • In a large bowl, sift and then stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Add the eggs, buttermilk (or milk-vinegar mixture), coffee (or reconstituted coffee mixture), oil, and vanilla extract.
  • Beat the mixture by hand or with an electric mixer at medium speed until the ingredients are well combined.
  • Pour the batter, which should be thin at this point, into the prepared pans. Tap the pans firmly against the counter once to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake the batter in the oven for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Once they're done baking, allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.

For Chocolate Buttercream:

  • Sift the cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and salt into a small bowl. Meanwhile, cream the butter with an electric mixer in another bowl. 
  • Add the sifted mixture and cream alternately, mixing well between each addition. Continue beating until the desired texture is achieved.
  • Add more cream or powdered sugar if you want to thin the mixture or thicken the frosting.

Assembling The Cake:

  • Place a small dollop of frosting in the center of a cake plate or stand and top with one cool cake layer.
  • Warm the caramel filling still in the saucepan over low heat for 5 seconds at a time, stirring in between periods, until it forms a thick spreadable consistency.
  • Spread the filling evenly over the cake, then place the second cake layer over the filling and frost the top layer with chocolate buttercream.
  • Finish the cake off with a sprinkle of sea salt, if desired. Afterward, serve immediately or refrigerate until needed (cake can be stored for 4 or more days if well covered). Enjoy!