It's no secret that I like making decadent cakes. I like taking different flavor combinations and making them into a cake that really wows everyone. That means taking a cake flavor and finding the perfect frosting combination to pair with it. It might also mean making a filling that ties everything in together.
My weekends either seem to be crazy busy or totally open. One weekend my husband and I might have dinner with friends one night, go shopping one day, and then have some event to attend with friends. Then there are other weekends where I have nothing to do so I bake! That seems to be the way I fill the time when I have a free weekend.
Last weekend I had a free weekend and a craving for coffee and caramel. I'm not a huge chocolate cake fan but I do like mocha flavored cakes. I think the coffee flavor really adds something special to the chocolate and it makes it taste even better. The coffee and caramel combination is one of my favorites.
Whenever we go out of town my husband and I like to stop for coffee. We are both huge fans of the caramel macchiato. Something about the combination of coffee, milk, caramel, and vanilla in a warm beverage is almost magical. This cake reminds me of my favorite hot beverage.
The cake is a chocolate mocha cake soaked in caramel syrup. Then it's topped off with salted caramel frosted. I was going to leave it as it was but I felt like it needed some decoration. I had a bit of the frosting left so I piped an edge on the bottom and on top. It still didn't look finished so I put chocolate chips around the top edge and sprinkled the top of the cake with gold sprinkles.
This cake was amazing. The chocolate mocha cake had a distinct caramel flavor from the syrup. It's super moist and delicious. The salted caramel frosting is amazing. I love the hint of salt with the sweet frosting. This cake was so good that I had two big pieces of it! If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy coffee and caramel your going to love this cake!
For the Cake:
(Makes one 8- or 9-inch Two Layer Cake)
-½ cup cocoa powder
-4 cups dry Cake Magic! Cake Mix (see below), whisked well before measuring
-¼ t. baking soda
-¾ cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt)
-1 cup (2 sticks) melted and cooled unsalted butter
-1 cup brewed espresso, cooled
-4 large eggs, at room temperature
For the Milky Caramel Syrup:
(Makes 1 cup)
-½ cup sugar
– ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
-¼ cup Salted Caramel (see recipe below)
-½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Salted Caramel Frosting:
(Makes 4 cups)
-1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– ½ cup Salted Caramel (see recipe below)
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-4 cups (one 16-ounce box confectioners’ sugar)
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
(Makes 1 cup)
-½ cup sugar
-½ teaspoon kosher salt
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
-½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and side of two 8 inch cake pans. Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess.
2. Place the cocoa powder and cake mix in a large bowl. Stir in the baking soda, yogurt, butter, espresso, and eggs until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
3. Bake until the layers are golden brown and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 35 to 40 minutes.
4. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the sugar, and cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, stir in the salted caramel and vanilla, and set aside to cool. Use the syrup warm or let it stand, covered, until it reaches room temperature.
5. After removing the cake layers from the oven, pierce them (still in the pans) at 1-inch intervals with a skewer or paring knife. Pour or brush the syrup over the layers, dividing it evenly. Set the layers aside, in the pans, on a wire rack to cool completely. (The syrup will soak into the cakes.)
6. When the cakes are cool and no longer wet to the touch, 1 to 2 hours, make the frosting: Combine the butter, caramel, salt, and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
a) For the Salted Caramel:
1. Combine the sugar and salt in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium to
medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the caramel is deep amber and smells of toasted nuts but has not begun to smoke, 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Tilt the pan away from you and stir in the butter and vanilla. Add the heavy cream in a thin stream (the caramel will swell, bubble, and possibly splatter, so be careful and don’t rush). Stir until the cream is incorporated, about 1 minute.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool completely before using (it will thicken significantly as it cools).
7. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of one of the cake layers to loosen it. Place the layer on a cake plate or board. Spread the layer with about a third of the frosting on top. Place the second layer on top of the first layer.
8. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Decorate as desired.
Cake Magic! Cake Mix
(Makes 4 cups)
-2½ cups all-purpose flour
-1½ cups sugar
-¾ teaspoon baking soda
-¾ teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon table salt (see Note)
1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine. Whisk the mix again before measuring.
NOTE: It’s important to use table salt in the cake mix; other types will eventually settle out of the mix.