This week I’m showing you how to make this ultimate layer cake with chocolate and salted caramel. I planned this recipe out and I’ve only just finally got round to baking it. The cake consists of 4 tiers of chocolate fudge cake layered with salted caramel buttercream. Make for special occasions such as birthday’s or just as a weekend treat and it will go down a treat.
Chocolate Fudge Cake –
210g (1 and 3/4 cups) plain flour (all purpose)
400g (2 cups) caster sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
(3/4 cup) good-quality cocoa powder
2 medium free-range eggs
240ml (1 cup) buttermilk
120ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
240ml (1 cup) hot coffee
Salted Caramel Buttercream –
150g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
300g icing sugar, sifted
Large pinch sea salt
1 x 397g (14 ounce) can readymade caramel or dulce de leche
1. To make the cake: Preheat your oven to . Line two 8 or 9-inch inch cake tins with some baking parchment and grease the sides with butter. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (the flour, sugar, bicarb, baking powder, salt and cocoa.) Mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
2. Now add the eggs, buttermilk, oil and the coffee. Whisk until all the ingredients are well combined and they are no lumps in the batter.
3. Distribute the cake mix into the tins and then bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean. Once cooked, allow to cool in tins for 30 minutes then remove from tins and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
4. To make the buttercream: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the butter, the icing sugar and the vanilla. Whisk on low speed for until the mixture comes together, then gradually turn the speed up to medium and whisk for 5 minutes until the buttercream is very pale and light in colour. Then gently fold in the caramel and salt.
5. To assemble the cake: Cut each half into half again- so you have four layers of cake. Place one layer of cake down on a cake stand. Spread about a heaped tablespoon of the buttercream on and spread over. Then top with another layer of cake, spread with buttercream. Repeat this step with the other 2 layers of cake. Then spread a nice layer of the buttercream over the top of the cake. Then I topped the cake with some delicious chocolate caramel pieces.
Decadent chocolate fudge cupcakes with a moist crumb, topped with salted caramel buttercream. You’ll find it hard to stop eating these!
(Recipe and blog post updated September 2016)
I originally shared this recipe in October 2013. It remains one of my favourite cupcake recipes. I made these cupcakes three whole years ago for my grandad’s birthday. This was one of the first recipes I shared on my blog all that time ago. I’ve kept the concept of the original recipe the same, but I’ve made a few alterations, which I believe have made these cupcakes even more delicious.
So what makes these chocolate cupcakes special? I think the reason these cupcakes stand out from the other recipes I have tried is because this particular recipe incorporates melted dark chocolate into the batter. Sounds silly, right? But a fair share of chocolate cupcake recipes only call for cocoa powder, which is ok, but for me cocoa powder alone doesn’t pack that real chocolate flavour punch, you need a touch of dark chocolate in there for the strong chocolate taste. Also, the addition of coffee in the cupcake batter is a must! Coffee helps to bring out the chocolate flavour, but if you’re not a fan of mocha flavour or are making the cupcakes for kids/non coffee lovers, then you can leave it out and just use boiling water instead.
Another thing I changed to the original recipe is this time I added caramel to the buttercream. The first time I shared the recipe I topped the cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and drizzled each cupcake with caramel. This new version is a cheat’s recipe, I’m not even ashamed to admit that I use readymade caramel/dulce de leche, but if you have homemade you can definitely use that.
Decoration is where the fun begins! I like to decorate by drizzling each cupcake with extra caramel and some cubes of dairy fudge or chewy caramel candy/sweets. Feel free to scatter over some chocolate or sprinkles as well!
85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped
40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)
180ml (3/4 cup) boiling water
105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)
150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 teaspoon (3g) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salted Caramel Buttercream:
150g (2/3 cup) salted butter, softened
375g icing sugar, sifted
100g (3.5 ounces) caramel or dulce de leche
Pinch of salt
To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee granules/powder (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, add the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
Divide the batter between the paper cases – I find using an ice cream scoop best for doing this as it makes less mess. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
To make the buttercream: Once the cupcakes are cool, make your buttercream. Cream the softened butter until smooth. Add half the icing sugar and mix to combine. Add the remaining half of the icing sugar and beat again until throughly incorporated. Now continue to beat the butter and icing sugar together for about 5-7 minutes until it’s fluffy and a light pale colour. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
Finally, add the caramel/dulce de leche along with the salt and beat until combined. Adjust consistency of the buttercream with the double cream/milk. Taste the buttercream and add more salt if you’d like. Frost the cupcakes as desired. Decorate the cupcakes with an extra drizzle of caramel, fudge/caramels, chocolate or sprinkles.
Bread flour can be substituted with regular plain/all-purpose flour. The bread flour has a higher gluten content and produces a denser, more even structured cupcake.
This recipe calls for caster or granulated sugar. I’m based in the UK and caster sugar is the most commonly used sugar in baking. It’s a superfine sugar and dissolves better than granulated sugar.
Prior to making the buttercream, I recommend leaving the butter out overnight at room temperature to soften. The softer the butter, the creamier and smoother your buttercream will be.
I used a large closed star tip nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto these cupcakes.
Decorated cupcakes will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. I don’t think cupcakes have ever lasted that long in our house!