Valentine’s Day

Be You.

Be Loved.

{Especially if it is love by chocolate cake}

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake from BAKED

For the Chocolate Cake Layers:

  • 3/4 C  dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 C hot water
  • 2/3 C sour cream
  • 2 2/3 C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 C (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 C vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 C firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  • Butter three 8″ round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment and butter the parchment. Dust with flour.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa, hot water and sour cream. Mix well and set aside to cool.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Beat the butter and shortening about five minutes on medium speed until they are combined and ribbon-like.
  • Add the sugars and beat another five minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Finally, add the vanilla and mix for 30 seconds.
  • Next add the flour mixture alternating with the cocoa mixture starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Divide the batter between the three cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes then invert the pans, remove the cake and cool completely. Remove the parchment once cooled.

For the Salted Caramel:

  • 1/2 C heavy cream (35% whipping cream)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 C sour cream
  • In a small sauce pan combine the heavy cream and the salt. Very slowly bring to a simmer until the salt is dissolved then remove from the heat.
  • In a medium sauce pan combine the water, sugar and corn syrup. Stir together carefully making sure not to splash up the sides of your pan (if you do it will seriously burn on). Cook over high heat until your candy thermometer reads 350F or until the mixture is a dark amber color. This should take about 6-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool 1 minute.
  • Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel come to room temperature then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the cake.

For the Whipped Caramel Ganache Frosting:

  • 1 Lb. dark chocolate chopped (at least 60-70% cacao)
  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 2 C unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
  • In a small sauce pan slowly bring the cream to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on your cream so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine the water, sugar and corn syrup. Once again, stir to combine carefully making sure not to splash any up the sides of your pretty, shiny pan (which will no longer be shiny if you splash up the sides). Cook over high heat until your candy thermometer reads 350F. It should take about 6-8 minutes. Remove the caramel from the heat and let it cool one minute.
  • Add the cream to the caramel and stir it until it’s well combined, about two minutes. Then pour the caramel over the chopped chocolate (a little taste test might be warranted at this point). Let the mixture sit for a minute or two then starting at the center of the bowl, working your way out to the edges slowly stir the mixture together until the chocolate is fully melted. (Again, you better taste it just to make sure.) Let the mixture cool for a while then transfer it to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with your paddle attachment.
  • Mix on low speed until the bowl is cool to touch (this could take a while). Once cool, increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter. Once it’s all added beat on high speed until fluffy.

To Assemble the Cake:

  • 2 tsp fleur de sel (sea salt) plus more for garnish if you want
  • Place one cake layer on your prettiest serving platter. Spread 1/4 C of the caramel over the top of the cake layer. Let it soak in then spread 3/4C of the ganache frosting over the caramel. Sprinkle 1 tsp of your sea salt over the frosting. Repeat using the second cake layer. For the third layer spread with caramel then crumb coat the cake and put the cake in the fridge to cool for 15 minutes. This will firm up your crumb layer of frosting making it easier to have a smooth finish on your finished product. After 15 minutes, remove from the fridge and final coat with the ganache frosting. Garnish with chocolate swirls or fleur de sel.
  • You can keep this cake at room temperature for up to three days. I like it a little chilled so I kept mine in the fridge. The ganache has more of a fudge-like consistency if it’s a little cool. Personal preference.


  • This cake is a lot of work. It’s worth it. Trust me.
  • There will be no nutritional information for this cake. Eat it. Savor it. LOVE  it.  Then head over the treadmill and run like crazy.


30 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day

  1. Hello!
    I am planning on making this today. But i have a few questions: is it possible to omit the corn syrup? And Is it possible to use butter instead of veg. shortening? or will that ruin the fluffyness you seem to have in your gorgeous cake?

    Thank yoU!

    • Hi Jess:

      Not sure about the corn syrup. Give it a try. The worst thing that happens is that the caramel doesn’t turn out. If you’re skipping the shortening (because really, who has shortening in their house?) just replace it with butter. Or maybe vanilla yogurt. Let me know how it works out for you!

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  3. Wow, this sounds like a truly decadent cake. I have never been successful with carmel sauce? I can make carmels just fine, but for some reason I always ruin the carmel sauce. I either cook it too long or not long enough. I have never tried one with sour cream? I have been seeing a lot of recipes lately from “Baked” I have got to pick me up both those cookbooks. Thanks for sharing this amazing looking cake.

    • Hi Jen – I did use 8″ cake pans as the recipe called for. The cake layers were nice and thick and the cake turned out tall! You have some great recipes on your blog – hoping to spend some time this evening looking through them. Sorry I can’t help you with scaling the recipe; maybe use the extra batter as cupcakes? ~M

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  5. OMG.. I am currently in the middle of trying not to eat the caramel with a spoon as I’m making this cake (I find the word cake to be a little generic for this amazing thing I’m looking forward to eating).. Now off to make the icing! I’m worried about how its going to go with all that butter.. hahah.. Thank you thank you thank you for posting this!

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