Chocolate & Caramel Layer Cake

72 Comments
caramel_chocolate_cake

Vanilla, chocolate & caramel cake layered with salty caramel

A word of warning before you embark on reading this post: if you’ve given up chocolate and sweet stuff for Lent, you might want to look away now. Recent events suggest I have a tendency to lead people into temptation . . .

Last week I met one of my school friends for dinner after work. There were supposed to be three of us, but my other friend ended up stuck in the office in the way, it seems, that only lawyers can, unsure whether more paperwork might come through from the States and if she’d be there until ten at night or two in the morning. Despite her absence, the evening was lovely: wine was opened, stories shared, gossip caught up on and plenty of good food consumed. After two very virtuous fish-based mains, we both decided to go for the most indulgent-sounding dessert on the menu: chocolate brownie with homemade hazelnut ice cream.

caramel_chocolate_cake

This cake is smothered in a rich chocolate ganache & topped with mini chocolate eggs

The brownies arrived warm and gooey: unashamedly rich, dense slabs swimming in pools of chocolate sauce and garnished with a token sprig of mint and single strawberry. Knowing I’m constantly on the quest for the perfect brownie, my friend asked how this one measured up (it was ok, I’ve had – and made – better, but it kept me more than happy that evening), and we spent a good few minutes debating the merits of chocolate vs. cocoa, fudgy vs. cakey, gooey vs. chewy and other such matters of extreme importance. Not quite politics or world peace as a topic of conversation, but in our defense it was a Wednesday night.

After dinner, I headed home to see how Carniverous Boyfriend had fared with his solitary steak supper (cooked outside on the BBQ despite the time of year, Man vs. Food style, of course). As I walked through the door, I heard the familiar ping of a message on my phone. My friend texting to let me know she’s home safe, I thought, as I pulled it from my pocket to punch in a reply . . .

caramel_chocolate_cake

Chocolate & caramel cake – perfect for an Easter dessert

‘S**t!!! Just remembered I gave up chocolate for lent! Don’t tell anyone about the brownie . . .’

Oops.

caramel_chocolate_cake

Ground almonds & yoghurt in the batter make this cake lovely & moist

This text made me laugh. I love that my friend completely forgot that she wasn’t meant to be eating chocolate, that we debated the merits of different types of chocolate while she was eating it, and that she still only twigged when she got home. This text also made me realize that if my company alone could convince this friend to break her Lenten vows (subconsciously or otherwise), anyone arriving at this blog for the first time – presented with pages of photos, recipes and rapturous descriptions of desserts – probably stands next to no chance against any kind of will power they might have or resolutions they may have made.

Oh well, I did warn you. And if you’ve read this far, I’m guessing you either hadn’t made any Lenten vows in the first place, or I’ve managed to sway you to the dark side, so let’s get stuck in and talk about cake. Quadruple-layer chocolate, vanilla, caramel and chocolate caramel cake to be precise, spread with more sticky, salty caramel, slathered in a thick, rich chocolate ganache and studded with mini chocolate Easter eggs. Why Easter eggs? Why not Easter eggs? The supermarket shelves are groaning with gorgeous displays of all kinds of chocolate eggs at this time of year and when I was buying the ingredients for this cake I just couldn’t resist.

caramel_chocolate_cake

A thin slice of this indulgent cake is more than enough (or means you can have two…)

This would be a lovely cake to make for Easter. Tiny chocolate eggs are squashed into swirls of thick, fudgy buttercream and sprinkled with gold dust which I just thought would work with the golden layers of cake within. It looks so simple from the outside, but is guaranteed to please a crowd when you slice through the icing to reveal four different cakes sandwiched together with sweet and salty caramel. And if you’ve got any fussy eaters, with vanilla, chocolate, caramel and chocolate caramel sponges, there’s sure to be something to please pretty much everyone.

This cake is adapted from a recipe I found on the BBC Good Food website. The main differences are size – I scaled it down to an 18cm round as even my eyes know that a 20cm cake would be more than our collective household stomach could handle – and ingredients – I made my own salted caramel because it’s so much better than anything you can buy in a jar, and swapped yoghurt for milk in the second set of sponges for no better reason than that I ran out. It’s good, really, seriously, unforgettably good in fact, but not for the faint-hearted.

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Four layers of light, moist, chocolaty caramel goodness

My final word of warning: if you do head over to the BBC website to check out the original recipe, don’t look at the calorie content they’ve included. You don’t want to know. Unless you’re the person that gave up sweets and treats for Lent, in which case you probably feel extremely smug right now . . .

Chocolate & Caramel Layer Cake (adapted from the BBC Good Food website)

For the vanilla & chocolate sponges

Ingredients:

150g unsalted butter, very soft
150g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs, beaten
100g plain yoghurt
120g self-raising flour
60g ground almonds
2/3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Method: 

Grease and line two 18cm round tins. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Carefully add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Fold in the yoghurt, flour, almonds, baking powder and vanilla extract until combined. Scrape half the mixture into one of your prepared tins, then add the cocoa powder to the remaining mixture and fold to combine. Scrape this chocolate batter into your separate tin and bake both cakes for around 20 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the caramel & chocolate caramel sponges
Ingredients:

150g unsalted butter, very soft
100g light brown muscovado sugar
50g dark brown muscovado sugar
2 large free range eggs, beaten
50 ml milk
120g self-raising flour
60g ground almonds
2/3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

Method: 

Repeat the steps as above, substituting the muscovado for the caster sugar and milk for yoghurt. Add the cocoa to only half the remaining batter, as above, so you have one caramel and one chocolate caramel cake.

Allow all four cakes to cool completely.

For the frosting & filling

Ingredients:

300g salted caramel (I use this recipe, but you can also buy caramel in a tin & season with a little sea salt)
100g dark chocolate, chopped
100g milk chocolate, chopped
220ml double cream

Method:

Put your chocolates in a heatproof bowl. Warm the cream in a small saucepan until it begins to bubble then pour over the chocolates. Leave to stand for 30 seconds then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Continue to beat until the ganache has cooled and thickened.

Place the vanilla sponge (the palest one!) on a serving plate and spread over one third of the caramel. Place your caramel sponge on next and repeat the process, followed by your chocolate caramel sponge and finally your plain chocolate sponge.

Spread the ganache over the whole cake, smoothing with a palette knife dipped in boiling water. Put any excess icing in a piping bag and pipe swirls around the top edge. I decorated mine with little chocolate Easter eggs dusted with gold powder and a sprinkle of sea salt. Mini eggs would be another good option, or you can leave it plain.

This cake is best served at room temperature when the sponge tastes beautifully moist and the caramel slightly soft, so if you do want to store it in the fridge, make sure you take it out about thirty minutes before slicing and serving.

72 RESPONSES TO Chocolate & Caramel Layer Cake

  1. This is probably the cake of my dreams!

  2. One of the things I love about this site is that there’s none of that ‘sinful’ stuff or calorie counts or whispering about naughty carbs, just desserts and baked goods to make your mouth water and make the world seem like a great place…

    You’ve excelled yourself here. I am quite pleased to realise those are mini eggs. I originally thought they were the world’s largest hazelnuts and was a bit scared.

  3. Caz -

    This cake looks incredible… sadly I’ve given up chocolate for lent :(

  4. Haha the moment you mentioned not looking at that calorie count I had to go and look! Not that I’ve ever counted calories in my life. I do know that’s a pretty impressive number though!

    Looks deeeeelicious though – I love the gradient of sponges, it looks really pretty.

  5. You are a phenomenally gifted and creative baker. This cake looks utterly, absolutely gorgeous. Well done you!

  6. This is a magnificent cake! Just look at all the layers :) I don’t care about calories when it comes to CAKE :D I’d like to have the whole thing to myself now! Thanks for sharing :D

  7. You are so talented my friend! The cake looks stunning.

  8. This cake looks amazing, and beautiful. Thankfully, I never give up sweets!

  9. Annie -

    Looks amazing! Seriously tempted (even though I gave up all chocolate except dark chocolate for Lent!). I came across your blog relatively recently and am absolutely hooked, everything looks so delicious. Quick question – I am rather a novice at caramel making and wondered what quantity of sugar etc you used, and did you add butter or cream? Thanks!

    • Kathryn – me too!

      Miss South – aw, thank you for such kind words :-)

      Caz – you could actually make this without the chocolate layers and cover in caramel icing rather than ganache. Take that Lent! :-)

      Tori – haha, I aim to please :-)

      Emma – thank you. And who cares about calories when something tastes this delicious?!

      Susan – what a lovely comment, thank you!

      Daisy – haha, I don’t think even I could manage the whole thing!

      Baker St – thank you :-)

      Journey Kitchen – done. If you ship me some of your desserts in return :-)

      The Single Gourmet & Traveller – thank you.

      Michelle – thanks!

      The SW Food Blog – good call!

      Regula – thank you lovely :-)

      Annie – so pleased you like the blog. Do have a read through the David Lebovitz post on caramel that I linked to, it’s really helpful. And yes, you need to add cream for that lovely silky texture.

  10. What an absolutely beautiful cake…glad I didn’t give up sweets for Lent.

  11. Very impressive! Although I have to say I liked your last paragraph even more than the cake, if possible. Very good!

  12. Loaf, I could never look away from that. It is INCREDIBLE… How perfectly iced, how well coloured, how perfectly decorated – I’m incredibly impressed, can you tell? I want some NOW.

  13. omg! what a great idea decorating with chocolate easter eggs! it looks absolutely gorgeous! i have never given up chocolate for anything…

  14. I LOVE the different colours in the layers. And the way you’ve decorated it is just beautiful! I couldn’t resist going and looking at the calorie information after you said that and I’m pretty astounded – but surely the number of calories is directly proportional to the SHEER DELICIOUSNESS, right? So it can only be a good thing.

  15. What a divine layer cake this is! And I haven’t given up on anything for Lent. I don’t think I could, it would get ugly if I had to give up chocolate :P

  16. I have had my eye on that one for some time! It looks amazing truly scrummy.

  17. Amy -

    ah I’m speechless, how does one even respond to a cake like this?! Seriously, this is beautiful, and the flavors sound awesome. And Lenten vows… pah!

  18. Your friend is a soldier! I would never even start trying to look at chocolate in the eye and say “I dont want you”. Its a thing between me and chocolates. Anyway, this cake is the most brilliant thing i’ve seen! It’s ombre in a chocolate vs caramel way! How can i possibly not have thought of this! It is just brilliant!

  19. I love blog posts that make me smile inside and out from start to finish, and this post hit that nail on the head! LOL I actually laughed out loud about your friend’s text…mainly because I had something similar happen to me the other day…with a jelly bean (as I’ve given up packaged candies and packaged crisps for Lent)…hehe and although I’m not a cake fiend as many of my bloggy-mates are, this cake looks soooo lovely and as I write this my bf is peering over my shoulder begging me to make him this! Beautiful :) xo

  20. LOL I laughed when I read what your friend texted. I don’t blame her though; how can you avoid chocolate!? This cake looks gorgeous. As if it weren’t delicious enough, that description of the brownie (‘The brownies arrived warm and gooey: unashamedly rich, dense slabs swimming in pools of chocolate sauce and garnished with a token sprig of mint and single strawberry.’) pushed me over the top, I need some sugar!

  21. Your blogs had a makeover! I didn’t realise – looks awesome!! Great photos too!

    And needless to say, that cake looks amazing!!!!

    • Karen – haha, me too!

      Nuts About Food – thank you. I know you’re on my wavelength when it comes to food :-)

      Frugal Feeding – thanks!

      Ruthie – :-)

      Cake Brain – haha, nope, me neither!

      Elly – yep, it is a truth universally acknowledged that the higher the calorie count, the more delicious the cake :-)

      Lorraine – haha, that seems to be the general consensus amongst a lot of bloggers!

      Cake Boule – make it! If you do the full 20cm cake make sure you have a hungry crowd to feed!

      Amy – thank you :-)

      Nic – :-)

      Jesica – thank you. And I know, my friend is very restrained (although clearly not that restrained, or she wouldn’t have eaten that brownie!)

      Elaina – aw, thank you for such a lovely comment. And I reckon that happens to loads of people – it’s so easy to slip up during Lent!

      Kyleen – haha, I know, giving up chocolate would be so hard.

      Russell – thank you. Scrumptious is one of my favourite words, glad you’ve applied it to this cake!

      Kerry – I’ve not changed the blog at all – maybe just taking better photos?! But thanks for your lovely comment all the same :-)

      • Sorry I must be getting confused – I read too many food blogs! It looks lovely regardless :-)

  22. Gasp! This cake looks like perfection. And now my tummy is growling…

  23. I cannot get enough of this cake – you have inspired me to make a layered cake this week with lots of frosting!

  24. Gorgeous cake and what a fantastic idea to use the eggs! Love the layers. :)

  25. Oh wow, this cake looks amazing!!!! I love the graduated layers and well, chocolate and caramel is a match made in heaven in my opinion. Great work on the frosting too!

  26. I have seen many layer cakes, but not like this one! Stunning! Induces massive cravings :-)

    • Movita Beaucoup – thank you!

      Jaime – ooh, looking forward to seeing your cake!

      Gluten Freezen – you can’t go wrong with a few chocolate eggs :-)

      Jennifer – thank you!

      Sylvie – it looks pretty, but the layers all taste gorgeous too. A win-win situation!

      Sneh – ah, thank you :-)

  27. Erin -

    Oh that is a funny story!
    And the cake looks absolutely amazing!

  28. Lisa -

    This is the cake that dreams are made of. You had me at chocolate and caramel, but then you had to go add chocolate Easter eggs and now I’m on the verge of begging for a slice! Oh, did I forget to tell you it’s gorgeous? It’s gorgeous!

  29. Mmm yummy, looks so delicious, thanks for sharing….

  30. I saw this on Twitter and HAD to come over and take a look – *swoon*. This truly is the cake of creams. Your friend’s story reminds me of my friend who was actually having a burger with me on Good Friday one year when her mom called to say they were having fish for dinner, being Catholic and all – her face was priceless as realisation dawned!

  31. What beautiful layers!!!! There’s nothing I love more than layered cakes!!! :)

    • Erin – it made me giggle :-)

      Kaytee – thanks!

      Lauren – thank you :-)

      Lisa – haha, if I could send you some I would!

      Good Cooks – my pleasure :-)

      Jeanne – it’s so easy to do! I’m sure I hear at least one similar story every year, always makes me laugh :-)

      Samology – they are the best!

  32. Now this is one very wicked cake especially for all those who have given up such things for Lent. Luckily I’m not one of them. I would be seriously impressed with myself if I managed something as good as this. I just love the different colour layers and the way you’ve decorated the whole thing – elegance and decadence all in one glorious cake. I’ve bookmarked this one!

    • The Caked Crusader – the layers make it look so pretty don’t they? Love this cake :-)

      Choclette – haha, it absolutely is! Thanks for your lovely comment, and do hope you enjoy this if you end up making it.

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  36. Clever way to make a great cake. Visually stunning. I thought the recipe would go on forever with four different batters. Perfect!

    • Paula – thank you! The different batters really aren’t too tricky – just a question of stirring in a little more cocoa powder really!

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  38. pinksocks -

    Reblogged this on Cook-Eat-Burrrp and commented:
    And this is dream cake

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  42. It’s no surprise this gets so many comments. WOW!! :-)

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  44. Hi! I would like very much to make this cake, but I do not understand sth What about the caramel sauce, the 300 g in the end…should it be mixed in the choc. ganache? Thank you for your wonderfull recipes!

    • Hi Lilian, you use the caramel to sandwich the layers of cake together, then the ganache goes over the top of the whole cake – hope that makes sense? x

    • Sorry for the confusion! I really do not know how I could overlook the lines with the caramel that should be used between the layers. Now I can see them.

  45. naomijoy10 -

    Hi,
    I’m making this for a friends birthday tomorrow. I’ve sort of had to do it in 2 parts so I’ve just taken the first two layers out of the oven and will be doing the other two tomorrow. I was just wondering if I’d be able to make the ganache today and refrigerate it for tomorrow? Will that completely ruin the quality?
    Thanks so much this really looks like a wonderful cake I’m so excited for it to be done! x

    • thelittleloaf -

      I think probably best to make the ganache on the day if you can. If not, you should be able to very gently reheat it on the day. Good luck! x

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