Caramel Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2-½ cups granulated white sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
- 1-½ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Brush three 9-inch round cake pans with additional softened butter. Line bottoms of pans with baking paper. Brush paper liners with butter. Dust bottoms and sides of pans with additional sifted cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Whisk together cocoa powder, cold water and vanilla extract until smooth and free of lumps. Keep bowl or container in the refrigerator until cocoa mixture is needed.
- Combine together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Sift once to blend well. Set aside.
- Set mixer speed to medium and cream butter for 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add granulated white sugar and continue beating for another 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is very light and fluffy.
- Break eggs one at a time over butter mixture, beating well after adding each egg.
- Reduce mixer speed to low. Starting with the sifted dry ingredients, alternately add dry ingredients and whisked cocoa mixture into the butter mixture in batches. Beat well after adding each portion to ensure complete incorporation.
- Divide batter among the prepared pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until tops of cakes spring back when lightly touched with a finger and tester inserted comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use a thin knife to loosen the cake layers from the pans. Invert cakes onto wire racks, peel off baking paper liners and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Whisk together sugar and cocoa powder. Transfer onto a saucepan. Gradually pour in milk while whisking, until smooth and free of lumps. Set pan over medium-low to medium heat. Cook fudge, while continuously whisking, for 5 to 7 minutes or until it reaches a smooth spreading consistency. Remove pan from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Gently whisk in cubes of softened butter until completely melted. Set aside.
- Place light brown sugar in a saucepan. Set pan over medium heat and gently whisk until sugar melts. Whisk in butter until completely melted. Gradually whisk in cream until smooth. Continue cooking the caramel, while whisking, until thick and smooth enough to spread. Remove pan from heat. Allow to cool.
- Place a cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Reserve about 2/3 to 1 cup Chocolate Fudge Filling and Frosting. Spread with 1/3 of the remainder all the way to the edges until evenly distributed. Top with second layer of cake. Cover second cake layer with another 1/3 of the filling. Add final cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake evenly.
- Fill a piping bag with reserved Chocolate Fudge Filling and Frosting and fit with a small star tip (or any other decorative tip of your choice) and pipe rosettes along the edges of the cake top (and base, if desired). Spoon caramel sauce all over cake. Chill for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. Cut cake into wedges before serving.
- Makes 10 to 12 servings.
- If desired, cool caramel sauce to room temperature. Gradually beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to form caramel frosting and use to frost the top and sides of cake instead.
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