This Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake looks fancy but it’s super easy to make and the caramel cream cheese frosting is simply amazing! The frosting is so simple with basically just two ingredients – dulce de leche and cream cheese. And you can mix up the cake in one bowl.
If I’m being honest, I totally made this cake just because I knew the frosting would look great in photos. Because the texture is so silky smooth and the consistency is so fluffy, it’s perfect for creating beautiful swirls all over the cake. You see, I’m in a food photography course and have been trying to improve my skills for several months now. It’s been a lot more challenging than I thought. Especially since I have a new camera as well. Turns out, an advanced camera is well, advanced. There’s a huge learning curve. But I think you can tell by this photo that the cake itself is a keeper!
The chocolate layer cake is soft and moist. It’s the perfect vehicle for the most luscious caramel cream cheese frosting you’ve ever had. And the real beauty of this frosting is it’s simplicity. I didn’t have to separate eggs or boil sugar. No slaving over the stove for this one. It’s just a matter of mixing some softened cream cheese with store bought dulce de leche (a thick caramel that’s usually sold in a can). I also added a bit of cream and butter to make it extra fluffy but it’s almost not necessary.
Why I Love This Cake Recipe
It’s another vintage recipe from my grandmother. She was a great baker!
This cake is an easy-mix chocolate cake.
Easiest enough for a 5 year old (let mommy handle the boiling water and putting it in the oven).
You just put all the ingredients in a big bowl (except the water). Then add boiling water and mix it up!
Sometimes it’s the simplest of recipes that taste the best.
It’s a perfect birthday cake.
Ingredients You Need for This Cake
Sugar – I used granulated sugar.
Eggs – large eggs at room temperature.
Milk – I used whole milk.
Cocoa Powder such as Hershey’s Cocoa 100% Cacao Naturally unsweetened.
Oil – I used canola oil.
Salt – I used Morton’s Table Salt.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Vanilla Extract – pure vanilla extract is the best.
All-Purpose Flour – I prefer unbleached.
(See below for the full recipe, including what you will need for the frosting.)
How to Make Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
Whip up the cake batter in one big bowl.
Pour batter into 4 (9-inch) round cake pans that have been greased and lined with parchment.
Bake as directed and let cool.
For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add dulce de leche. Mix to combine.
Add cream and beat for about 30 seconds.
Fill and frost the cake.
Slather on the caramel cream cheese frosting, using an offset spatula to make a swirling pattern (if desired).
I love that you can make the frosting messy and yet it’s just so lovely.
Add pecans for garnish, then sprinkle with a little bit of kosher salt.
So how did I do with the photos? Which one do you like the best? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback.
p.s. If you’re interested in learning more about food photography, I’d highly recommend Foodtography School with Sarah Crawford!
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Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
For the chocolate cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cocoa powder (sift it if it's too lumpy)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup boiling water
For the caramel cream cheese frosting
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 26.8 ounces dulce de leche (I used two 13.4 ounce cans)
- 4 tablespoons whipping cream
- 2 pinches kosher salt
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
For the cake
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and line 4 (9-inch) round pans with parchment paper (I used non-stick cooking spray). Set aside.
- Into a large mixing bowl, put all the ingredients except the water in the order in which they are listed. Do not stir. Then add the boiling water and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pans; bake about 35 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool at least 1 hour before frosting.
For the frosting
- Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add dulce de leche, one can at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Gradually add cream then beat at medium speed until frosting is desired spreading consistency. Spread frosting between each layer and on top and sides of cake.
- For the garnish, add pecan halves around the top edge of the cake, then sprinkle with a little bit of kosher salt. Use the salt sparingly as you don't want it to be too salty.
You might also like Classic Southern Red Velvet Cake
All text and images © Lise Ode for Mom Loves Baking. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate. This post may contain affiliate links.