Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp instant espresso
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 3 Tbsp milk
- 3/4 tsp instant espresso
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 oz reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- For the salted caramel sauce, cook sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula. Continue cooking until sugar forms clumps and melts into a light amber colored liquid, about 4-5 minutes. Once the sugar is completely melted, carefully add butter a few pieces at a time, whisking constantly until incorporated. Slowly drizzle in heavy cream while whisking constantly. Let mixture boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl. Stir in vanilla and salt. Let cool to room temperature, then chill until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray three 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture. Add sugars, eggs, egg yolk, milk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla to flour mixture; whisk in just until incorporated. Dissolve instant espresso in boiling water; add to batter and whisk in just until smooth.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs, and the edges are pulling slightly away from the pan. Cool cakes completely in pans on a wire rack.
- For the frosting, warm milk in the microwave until very warm. Stir in instant espresso and vanilla; let cool to room temperature. Beat butter, cream cheese, and salt in a large mixer bowl until combined. Mix in powdered sugar on low speed 1 cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Add cooled espresso mixture and mix in on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high, and beat until frosting is light and airy.
- To assemble, place one cake layer on a rotating cake stand. Use an offset spatula to spread about 1/2 cup frosting over the layer, all the way to the edges. Spoon 2 tablespoons of salted caramel sauce in the center of the cake layer, and gently spread over the frosting with an offset spatula, leaving a 1-inch border. Add second cake layer and repeat with frosting and caramel sauce.
- Repeat the process of frosting the top cake layer, swirling the frosting generously over the edge of the layer. Use the offset spatula to apply frosting to the sides of the cake while you rotate the cake stand, then use a bench scraper to gently smooth the edges of the cake and remove any excess frosting. Chill frosted cake for 20 minutes before topping with additional caramel sauce. If desired, fill a piping bag with leftover frosting and pipe around the top edge of the cake.
Cake Layers: You can bake this cake in either 2 or 3 layers. For 2 layers, divide batter evenly between two 9-inch round cake pans and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. For even cake layers, place your cake pans on a scale and weigh each pan as you add the batter.
Salted Caramel Sauce: The salted caramel sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before assembling the cake (you can also heat the sauce briefly in the microwave, 25 to 30 seconds, before using).
Keywords: Salted Caramel, Espresso, Chocolate