Chocolate caramel birthday cake

Want to go directly to the layer cake recipe? click here to skip to the recipe for this chocolate caramel cake with chocolate frudge frosting and a caramel filling!

 Chocolate caramel cake with chocolate frosting and caramel filling between the layers

Piping. I want to be good at piping. I watch Sweetapolita‘s videos and I watch youtube videos, all with the volume on high. It looks so easy. It sounds so easy. Yet, when I pipe a border, or really anything, onto a cake, it’s apparently not as easy as it seemed. The problem is that I have no opportunity to practice, and I maintain that piping on a piece of parchment is not the same as piping on a cake that you know is going to be ogled and served later that day.

Conclusion: I need more guinea pigs, who want a cake, and who will accept the not-so-perfect piping/finish of the cake. Any takers?

Chocolate caramel cake with chocolate frosting and caramel fillingLucky for me, it was my mommy’s birthday last week, and she didn’t mind if I made her an imperfect birthday cake, so I made her this chocolate caramel birthday cake. There’s caramel hidden in between the layers of chocolate cakes! What’s not to love about it?

This is actually my second attempt at a chocolate caramel layer cake and it held together MUCH better than the first. To make this version of the cake, I baked up three 8-inch chocolate cake layers (using another great recipe from Anna Olson’s Back to Baking—I highly recommend this book if you don’t have it!). I sandwiched caramel sauce that I cooked down to thicken (as suggested by my friend Selah of Sweet Nomélie—Thanks for the advice, Selah!), and a delicious fudge frosting (also from Anna Olson’s new book) between the layers.

Chocolate caramel cake recipe


Chocolate caramel cake with chocolate frosting and caramel filling between the layers
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate caramel birthday cake

This chocolate caramel cake is made with moist layers of chocolate cake, a dark chocolate fudge frosting and a caramel filling.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 637 kcal
Author Janice


For the cake layers:

  • 300 grams all-purpose flour 2 1/3 cups
  • 92 grams cocoa powder 1 cup
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 170 grams unsalted butter 3/4 cup, room temperature, plus a little extra melted butter for the pans
  • 436 grams light brown sugar 2 cups
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 375 mL buttermilk 1 1/2 cups

For assembly:

  • 1 batch caramel filling
  • 1 batch chocolate fudge frosting
  • White chocolate melted for writing on cake
  • 1 8- inch cake board to build the cake on
  • 1 10- inch cake board to display the cake on or a large, flat serving plate


For the cake layers:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch cake pans by evenly brushing with melted butter, flouring, and lining the bottom of each with a parchment round. Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the brown sugar.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat again.
  5. Add the sifted dry ingredients, alternately with the buttermilk. Be sure to scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixture with a spatula to make sure every ingredient is evenly incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter between the three pans, smooth, and bake the cakes for about 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble:

  1. Peel away the parchment and trim the layers using a serrated knife so that each is flat and leveled.
  2. Begin assembling the cake directly on an 8-inch cake board placed on a cake turntable, beginning with the first layer of chocolate cake. Pipe on one even layer of frosting (using a 10-mm round piping tip). Smooth it with an offset spatula, then pipe a border of frosting (to hold in the caramel and better adhere the layers).
  3. Dollop the caramel (or drop small spoonfuls) over the frosting but staying within the piped border.
  4. Top with the next layer of cake, pressing slightly.
  5. Again, pipe on a layer of frosting, smooth it, then pipe a border. Dollop with caramel (you may not want to use it all).
  6. Top with the third layer of cake, pressing slightly.
  7. Using an offset spatula, crumb coat the top and sides of the cake. Set the cake in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes or so. Then frost the cake with an even layer of frosting. Again, put it in the fridge to set.
  8. Transfer the cake (carefully) to the 10-inch cake board (I glued the two boards together with <a href="" rel="nofollow">Elmer’s white glue</a>) or the serving plate. Pipe a border around the top of the cake, and along the base edge (I used a star tip—D7).
  9. If desired, write a message on the cake with melted white chocolate.
  10. Store the decorated cake in the fridge to set up. Pull out of the fridge 20 minutes or so before serving to let it warm slightly.

Recipe Notes

  • Calories calculated for one slice so one-sixteenth of the finished cake
  • I like to use an extra dark cocoa powder like the cocoa from Cacao Barry available on Amazon
Chocolate caramel cake with chocolate frosting and caramel filling between the layers
5 from 1 vote

Caramel filling

This is a recipe for a caramel sauce that is cooked down to thicken it so it makes a good, set filling for cake

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 49 kcal
Author Janice


  • 200 grams granulated sugar 1 cup
  • ~60 mL water 1/4 cup
  • 58 grams unsalted butter 1/4 cup, room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 125 mL whipping cream 1/2 cup, warmed on the stove


  1. Set out all your ingredients before beginning. This is very important. Have the cream heating on a back burner so that is is warm, but don’t let it boil.
  2. In a deep 3 quart saucepan, pour the sugar, and then the water. Don’t stir it.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium–high heat. If there’s sugar stuck on the sides of the pan, carefully brush it with a heat-resistant silicone brush dipped in a little water.
  4. Continue to boil the caramel until it turns amber in color (the temperature will read somewhere between 350°F and 360°F with a candy thermometer). As soon as the caramel has reached the desired color, slide the pan off the heat, and turn the burner off.
  5. Slowly and carefully drop in the cubed butter (it will bubble and erupt so be careful!). Pour in the cream, slowly and carefully, a quarter at a time.
  6. When the bubbling has calmed down, begin to gently whisk the caramel until it is smooth and homogeneous.
  7. Put the caramel saucepan back on the burner, and cook it to 242°F to thicken it.
  8. Let the caramel cool to room temperature before sandwiching it between the cake and frosting layers.

Recipe Notes

  • Calories calculated for 1 tbsp (15 mL) of caramel
Chocolate caramel cake with chocolate frosting and caramel filling
5 from 1 vote

Fudge frosting

This recipe is for a dark chocolate frosting that is much like a fudge frosting. This is a great chocolate frosting that is not too sweet.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 cups
Calories 40 kcal
Author Janice


  • 170 grams unsalted butter 3/4 cup
  • 171 grams Baker’s dark chocolate 6 oz, either <a href="" rel="nofollow">bittersweet</a> or <a href="" rel="nofollow">70%</a>, chopped
  • 45 grams cocoa powder
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 345 grams icing sugar 3 cups, sifted
  • 250 mL full fat sour cream 1 cup


  1. Melt the butter and the chopped chocolate together in a small bowl over a double boiler. When completely melted and uniform, set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together (starting on low) the cocoa powder, vanilla, half the icing sugar, the cooled melted chocolate mixture and the sour cream. When the mixture is smooth, add the rest of the icing sugar, and continue beating til it’s smooth and fluffy.

Recipe Notes

  • Calories calculated based on 1 tbsp (15 mL) serving of frosting
  • For the cocoa powder, I like to use extra dark cocoa powder like the one from Cacao Barry available on Amazon


birthday, birthday cake, buttercream, caramel, celebration, chocolate, chocolate cake, dark chocolate, frosting, layer cake, sour cream

11 Responses to Chocolate caramel birthday cake

  1. Caroline September 4, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Oooh, I like that. Would you happen to have a picture of a slice of the cake so that we can see the layers?

    • Jan September 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      Unfortunately, I don’t because we cut the cake at night and it was way too dark to photograph 🙁
      Hopefully, I’ll make it again soon, and update the post with a picture of a slice!

  2. Melissa@Eyes Bigger September 4, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    my piping is ridiculously bad. this looks pretty damn fine to me. and I’ll take a cake from you any day no matter what the piping looks like… just don’t think it would ship very well (but then, it wouldn’t matter how the piping was would it!?)

  3. Medeja September 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    happy birthday to your mom! And the cake looks pretty good for me! I am sure I wouldn’t be able to decorate it so nicely.. :/

  4. Julia September 6, 2012 at 6:45 am #

    Stunning photography!

  5. veggiebentolove September 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    The piping and the photography are stunning! Nicely done 🙂

  6. Anonymous February 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    The recipe for the icing makes no mention of when to add the sour cream. I’ll just add it with the 2nd half of the sugar and hope for the best!

    • Janice Lawandi February 4, 2013 at 12:58 am #

      You’re right! Sorry about that (I’ll update the recipe). I just blended it in at the end, but I think you could also add it to the mixer bowl with the cooled chocolate mixture, vanilla and first half of icing sugar. Let me know how it turns out!

  7. Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 5:47 am #

    Icing is wayyyyyy too thin. Ran down the sides of my cake. What did I do wrong?

    • Janice Lawandi February 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      That’s strange because I’ve made this frosting recipe a few times. I wonder if you let the melted chocolate mixture cool enough before proceeding. If you didn’t, that could be the problem! Good luck!

  8. michelle February 21, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    I made this cake and it was fabulous! I used 2% Greek Yoghurt instead of sour cream for the icing because that’s what I had on hand and it turned out perfect. Thanks!

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