Caramel Fudge Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

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Caramel fudge layer cake makes the most decadent dessert! With layers of rich chocolate cake, salted caramel frosting, and chocolate ganache topping, each bite of this cake is simply divine. Recipe makes one 8-inch layer cake.

Caramel Fudge Layer Cake

Essential Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make caramel fudge layer cake:

  • Flour – Use all-purpose flour in this recipe.
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – I recommend Dutch process cocoa for the richest, fudgiest chocolate cake.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – Give the cake a lift. Both are necessary since we’re using Greek yogurt.
  • Salt – To enhance the chocolate flavor.
  • Sugars – The cake is made with both granulated sugar and light brown sugar.
  • Eggs – Use two large eggs plus one egg yolk. The extra egg yolk adds moisture and richness.
  • Milk – Creates a soft texture.
  • Greek yogurt – The secret to a super moist chocolate cake! You can also use sour cream.
  • Vegetable oil – This stir together cake is made with vegetable oil. You can also use any neutral oil you like to bake with.
  • Vanilla –  A splash of pure vanilla extract enhances the flavor.
  • Boiling water – Helps bloom the cocoa and melt the chopped chocolate.
  • Semisweet chocolate – I use and love Ghirardelli baking bars.
  • Powdered sugar – For perfectly smooth caramel frosting.
  • Heavy cream – To make the chocolate ganache.

Cake Layers

  • Classic Chocolate Cake – The 8-inch chocolate cake bakes up incredibly rich and delicious!
  • Salted Caramel Frosting – Perfectly balanced caramel frosting makes a dream pairing to the moist chocolate cake
  • Salted Caramel Sauce – Easy, foolproof homemade caramel sauce is my favorite filling for this cake
  • Chocolate Ganache – A nod to chocolate fudge, glossy chocolate ganache makes a decadent finish

Make Ahead Tips

Homemade salted caramel sauce makes the best cake filling and salted caramel frosting. Make the sauce in advance, then let cool to room temperature (or refrigerate overnight) before using.

Chocolate ganache can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated for several days. When you’re ready to use the ganache to decorate the cake, gently warm in a small saucepan over low heat, just until melted and smooth.

Assemble the Cake

To assemble the cake, start with one chocolate cake layer. Use a serrated knife to trim off the dome of the cake for a nice flat layer, and spread salted caramel frosting over the cake layer.

Spoon salted caramel sauce in the center of the frosting and spread out from the middle, leaving a 1 inch border.

Top with the second cake layer (trim the cake first) and spread with remaining caramel frosting. Chill the cake for 20 minutes before adding the ganache topping.

If desired, sprinkle chocolate shavings over the top of the cake. Chill the assembled cake for 20 minutes before serving (and if you like, serve with an extra drizzle of caramel sauce). Enjoy!

More indulgent chocolate cake recipes:

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Caramel Fudge Layer Cake

Caramel Fudge Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

  • Author: Laura Kasavan
  • Prep Time: 75 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 1 8-inch cake, 12 servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Caramel fudge layer cake with layers of rich chocolate cake, salted caramel frosting, and chocolate ganache topping makes the most decadent dessert! Recipe makes one 8-inch layer cake.


Ingredients

Salted Caramel Sauce

Cake

  • 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 granulated 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
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Salted Caramel Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce (from above)

Ganache

  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Assembly

  • 3 Tbsp salted caramel sauce (from above)
  • Chocolate shavings

Instructions

  1. Caramel sauce: Make one batch of homemade salted caramel sauce. Set aside to cool to room temperature (or make in advance and refrigerate overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray.
  3. Make cake: 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. Add boiling water to batter and whisk in just until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate.
  4. Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles.
  5. Bake cake layers for 28 to 30 minutes, until tops spring back to the touch, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, and the edges are pulling slightly away from the pan. Cool cakes completely in pans on a wire rack.
  6. Caramel frosting: Beat butter and salt in a large mixer bowl on medium speed until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar on low speed until incorporated. Mix in salted caramel sauce until incorporated. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 cup powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium and beat frosting for 1 minute, until light and airy.
  7. Ganache topping: Place semisweet chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour heavy cream into a small saucepan and bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour warm heavy cream over chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes before stirring until smooth. Let ganache stand for 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
  8. Assemble cake: Use a serrated knife to trim off the tops. Place one layer on a rotating stand and use an offset spatula to swirl frosting over the cake layer. Spoon salted caramel sauce in the center of the frosting, and spread out from the middle, leaving a 1 inch border.
  9. Top with the second cake layer and spread with remaining frosting. Chill the cake for 20 minutes before using a small spoon to drizzle ganache around the top edge of the cake, letting the excess drip down the sides. Sprinkle chocolate shavings over the top of the cake. Chill the assembled cake for 20 minutes before serving.
  10. Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes

Unsweetened cocoa: Use Dutch processed baking cocoa for the richest chocolate flavor. I use and recommend Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa.

Semisweet chocolate: I use and recommend Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking bars or Guittard semisweet chocolate wafers.

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Keywords: Caramel, Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Ganache, Layer Cake, Cake

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8 Comments

  1. This cake was wonderful! I made it for my husband’s birthday party and everyone loved it. I used the caramel sauce on the first layer and to drizzle over the top of the cake. It was so rich and decant!!

    1. Hi Sarah, yes you can make the layers ahead. Let the layers cool completely and wrap well in plastic. I would leave at room temperature overnight, and then just chill for an hour or two before frosting.

      1. Thank you so much! I have tried several of your recipes, and they have all been so delicious, I am going to make this one for my in-laws 40th anniversary next weekend!

  2. For the first time ever, I’m making a chocolate cake as our second Thanksgiving dessert! This beauty is perfect for the holidays! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Laura! xo

    1. I’m officially calling chocolate cake a new Thanksgiving tradition! 🙂 Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!