It's hard to improve on a tried and true classic like chocolate cake. But this recipe succeeds because it combines salty and sweet caramel buttercream with the moist, fluffy, chocolaty cake layers.
Technique tip: You can freeze extra buttercream frosting in an air tight container. When you're ready to use it, defrost at room temperature, then beat the buttercream with a stand or hand mixer to emulsify.
- Butter, for greasing pan
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup boiling water
Salted caramel sauce
- 4 tablespoons corn syrup
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2½ tablespoons ounces water
- 5½ tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Salted caramel buttercream (makes about 8 cups)
- 2 pounds (8 sticks) butter, softened
- 4 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 cup salted caramel sauce (recipe above)
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 13- by 18-inch sheet pan and line with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, combine the remaining flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Beat well. Whisking constantly, very slowly (and carefully) pour in the boiling water and mix.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. Fold in and stir until smooth.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Let the cakes sit for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely in the sheet pan.
For the salted caramel sauce:
Combine sugar, corn syrup, sea salt and water in a small heavy bottom pot. Heat over medium heat, bring to a boil, cook until sugar turns dark amber. Turn off heat and whisk in butter, then stream in cream and whisk. Let cool.
For the salted caramel buttercream:
Beat butter, salt and vanilla together until smooth. Add sugar and beat in mixer on low speed until incorporated. Increase to high speed and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in salted caramel sauce.
Ice the top of one cake with 1/3 of the salted caramel butter cream. Place the second cake on top and ice the top and sides with the remaining buttercream.