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Chocolate Cake with Caramel

This Chocolate Cake with Caramel is a rich and dreamy cake. Three layers of moist, fudgy chocolate cake are slathered in homemade chocolate frosting and dripping with caramel.

Spectacular to look at, this is the perfect birthday or party cake. And with my step by step instructions, you’ll be able to to create this in your own home.

slice of three layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and caramel with whole cake in the background on a white stand.

Why you’ll love this recipe

Chocolate cake with caramel is a decadent cake that is as impressive as it is delicious! You’ll love the flavor and richness of this cake.

Deeply dark and chocolatey but lighter than a mud cake. This cake benefits from the moisture added by the sour cream.

Just like my Cannoli cake and Raspberry Torte, this is a layer cake and also another great party cake!

But it’s is not as hard as it looks. Follow my step by step instructions and check out my tips for success and soon you’ll be enjoying a slice of this delicious cake!

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredient notes

ingredients for chocolate cake with caramel as per recipe.

This cake has three components – the cake, the frosting and the caramel. All the ingredients for this chocolate cake with caramel are easily obtainable from the supermarket.

While the ingredient for the chocolate cake may seem basic, there is a careful balance in the recipe.

  • sour cream – for moisture and tenderness
  • dark chocolate and cocoa powder – both types ensures a deep chocolatey flavor
  • baking (bicarb) soda – reacts with the acidity in the cocoa and sour cream to create lift and tenderness in the cake

For this simple chocolate frosting, you will need just unsalted butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, cream or milk and vanilla.

And the caramel is made easily with just 3 ingredients.

  • sugar
  • cream
  • butter

Variations

  • instead of boiling water use coffee in the cake
  • add 1/2 teaspoon of flaky salt to the caramel
  • used store bought caramel

Instructions

For best results, make this Chocolate cake with caramel over two days. Prepare the cakes and caramel on the first day then make the frosting and assemble on the second day.

6-step photo collage showing how to make caramel and chocolate cake for chocolate cake with caramel.

First prepare the caramel

  • Caramelize the sugar. (photo 1)
  • Then add the cream and the butter. (photo 2) Set it aside to cool.
  • Store in the refrigerator

Next bake the chocolate cake

Begin by melting the chocolate into the boiling water. And sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt

  • Beat butter and sugar then add eggs and vanilla. (photo 3)
  • Add cooled chocolate mixture followed by the flour mixture and sour cream. (photo 4)
  • Spread into prepared pans. (photo 5)
  • Bake and allow to cool thoroughly. (photo 6)
  • I like to store overnight in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic. This allows the cake to firm up and be easier to handle.
4 step photo collage showing how to make chocolate frosting and how to frost chocolate cake with caramel.

Finally make the frosting and assemble the cake

  • Beat the butter then add the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla and salt. (photo 7)
  • Place on layer of cake on a serving plate and spread with chocolate frosting. (photo 8)
  • Create a ‘trench’ in the frosting and fill with caramel. (photo 9)
  • Repeat with remaining cake, frosting and caramel. Finish by piling chocolate caramel filled chocolate and top and drizzle over more caramel. (photo 10)

Tips for success and FAQ’s

Instead of tackling this whole recipe in one day, prepare the caramel and the cake the day before. Wrap the cake in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Cold cake is easier to handle.

  1. It’s important to measure all ingredients properly. If not using scales, measure the flour by first stirring to loosen then spoon the flour and level off with a knife. Never pack the flour into the measuring cup.
  2. For best results, have all your ingredients at room temperature.
  3. Before frosting, be sure that the cake is completely cool.
  4. To make your life easier, bake the cake and prepare the caramel the day before.
How do I store this Chocolate cake with caramel?

Store any leftovers in a sealed plastic container or on a plate covered in plastic in the refrigerator. It will keep for 5 days. Let slices sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before enjoying.

Can this is cake be made in a week or two in advance?

Yes, simply bake the cakes, wrap in plastic and freeze undecorated. Make the chocolate frosting and caramel and store separately in sealed containers in the refrigerator. Chocolate frosting will need to come to cool room temperature and whipped until smooth before using. Decorate while cakes are frozen – it’s much easier!

Can leftovers be frozen?

Yes! Wrap slices in plastic and pop into a sealed container before freezing.

three layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and dripping caramel on a white cake stand with jar of caramel in the background.

Serving suggestions

Cut this chocolate cake into generous wedges and serve with extra caramel sauce. A perfect addition to the dessert table at any party or special occasion.

close up of a slice of three layered chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and caramel on a white plate with gold fork.

More recipes you’ll love

Chocolate Salami
Budino al cioccolato
Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Dark Chocolate Brownies

Made this recipe?
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three layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and dripping caramel on a white cake stand.

Chocolate Cake with Caramel Recipe

This Chocolate Cake with Caramel is a rich and dreamy cake. Three layers of moist, fudgy chocolate cake are slathered in homemade chocolate frosting and dripping with caramel.
4.99 from 75 votes
Print Pin Review
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Overnight cooling: 8 hours
Total Time: 10 hours
Servings:12 generous slices
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake

  • 4 ounces (114 grams) dark chocolate coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • ½ cup (40 grams) cocoa powder
  • cup (224 grams) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking (bi carb) soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups (396 grams) superfine (castor) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 grams) sour cream

Homemade Caramel

  • 1 cup superfine (castor) sugar
  • ½ cup heavy (thickened) cream
  • ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • pinch salt

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks/224 grams) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups (450 grams) powdered (icing) sugar
  • ½ cup (65 grams) cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup whipped (thickened) cream
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

To decorate

  • chocolate filled with caramel or your favorite chocolate

Instructions

Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease three 8-inch (20cm) round cake pans, line the bases with non stick baking paper and dust the sides with flour.
  • In a small bowl, combine chocolate and boiling water. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. You may need to microwave it a little to finish melting the chocolate. Cool to room temperature
  • Sift together the cocoa, flour, baking (bicarb) soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • In a stand mixer bowl, beat the butter and superfine (castor) sugar for 2 minutes until creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed add the cooled chocolate mixture and stir to combine.
  • With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients followed by half the sour cream. Then repeat to use up all the flour and sour cream. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Beat on medium until for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 28-32 minutes. The cake will be done when a skewer or toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
  • Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn out to a cooling rack to cool completely. For best results wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Or freeze until needed.

Homemade Caramel

  • Put the sugar in a medium, heavy base saucepan (don't choose a small saucepan because this is going to bubble up) and cook over a low-medium heat until melted and caramelized. Don't stir but swirl the pan around to mix the sugar. Be careful not to let it burn.
  • Once it's all melted and amber in color add the cream, whisking quickly to combine.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter and salt. It will bubble up but will calm down as you whisk.
  • Let it cool then pour into a jar, seal with a lid then store in the refrigerator until needed.

Chocolate Frosting

  • Into a bowl, sift the powdered (icing) sugar and cocoa.
  • Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or hand held electric mixer) until pale, fluffy and creamy.
  • Add the combined powdered (icing) sugar and cocoa, vanilla and salt. Mix until coming together.
  • Add cream and beat until for 2 or 3 minutes until lightened and creamy.
  • If not ready to use, store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Assembling chocolate cake with caramel

  • Place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread with 1/3 of the chocolate frosting. With the back of a teaspoon make two deep circles (one smaller and a larger one around it) into the frosting. Check the pictures above.
  • With a teaspoon, spoon caramel into the deep circles made in the frosting. Cover with another layer of cake and repeat with chocolate frosting and caramel.
  • Top with the final layer of cake and remaining chocolate frosting.
  • To decorate, pile chopped caramel filled chocolate onto the top of the cake then drizzle with as much caramel as desired.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to one day.
  • Serve in wedges with any leftover caramel. Enjoy!

Notes

Tips for success
Instead of tackling this whole cake in one day, prepare the caramel and the cake the day before. Wrap the cake in plastic and store in the refrigerator. Cold cake is easier to handle.
  1. It’s important to measure all ingredients properly. If not using scales, measure the flour by first stirring to loosen then spoon the flour and level off with a knife. Never pack the flour into the measuring cup.
  2. For best results, have all your ingredients at room temperature.
  3. Before frosting, be sure that the cake is completely cool.
  4. To make your life easier, bake the cake and prepare the caramel the day before.
How to make this cake in advance
Yes, simply bake the cakes, wrap in plastic and freeze undecorated. Make the chocolate frosting and caramel and store separately in sealed containers in the refrigerator. Chocolate frosting will need to come to cool room temperature and whipped until smooth before using. Decorate while cakes are frozen – it’s much easier!
The chocolate cake component of this dessert has been adapted from Cake Paper Party
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 844kcal | Carbohydrates: 107g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 176mg | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 148mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 90g | Vitamin A: 1480IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    The flavor was delicious. Next time, I would double the icing and caramel in order to cover the entire cake.

  2. Hi Marcellina, Please let me know precisely how much cocoa to use in the frosting. The quantity is not specified. I will wing it this time, but would like to know what I ought to be doing. . This is the most BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE I HAVE EVER MADE! Thanks for sharing your M A G I C. Cheers Carla in Australia

    1. Hello Carla! So glad you picked that up! I’d completely left it out and I’m sorry. I’ve amended the recipe to show 1/2 cup of cocoa powder. Yes, I have to agree, this is an excellent recipe for chocolate cake. I’m happy that you love it too! Thank you for your very kind (and helpful) comment. Baci, Marcellina xx

    1. 5 stars
      Hi! I was wondering could I leave the chocolate cake(without caramel, frosting or the toppings) in the refrigerator for more than one day?

      1. Hi Julia. Yes, you can however the cake won’t be as fresh tasting. If you’d like to make this cake in advance, wrap well in plastic and freeze. Even if you are just freezing for two days, the cake will remain more fresh than if left in the refrigerator.

  3. 5 stars
    This looks crazily tempting and decadent with the chocolate cream and caramel!
    Angie