Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake. You Will Be Powerless To Resist This One.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
Photo: Martha Stewart Living

This cake is ridiculous. It’s insane. Honestly, it’s not even fair to all those “other cakes” out there. If you’re not already drooling over this cake, there’s something seriously wrong with you. “Salted Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake?” There are at least four words in the name alone that are drool-worthy. Put them all together in one sky-high dessert, and you will be powerless to resist.

This cake is really all about the caramel. (Don’t ignore the recipe note about the candy thermometer. You really need it for this recipe. You can pick one up for less than ten bucks.) The caramel is creamy, buttery, rich toasted goodness. Resist the urge to eat all of it with a spoon straight from the bowl.

Ingredients for Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake


  • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablepoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Coarse salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water


  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped, melted, and cooled
  • Garnish: flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Directions for Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the cake: Butter three 9-inch round cake pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Sift flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt into the bowl of a mixer. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
  2. Divide batter among pans. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.
  3. Make the caramel: Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cook, without stirring, until mixture is light to medium amber, about 14 minutes. Remove from heat, and carefully pour in cream (mixture will spatter); stir until smooth. Return to heat, and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees, about 2 minutes. Pour caramel into a medium bowl, stir in 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and let cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Let cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Whisk together cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water in a bowl until cocoa dissolves. Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and a generous pinch of coarse salt in a clean bowl with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Gradually beat in melted chocolate and then cocoa mixture until combined. Let stand for 30 minutes before using.
  5. Trim tops of cakes using a serrated knife to create a level surface. Cut each in half horizontally to form 2 layers. Transfer 1 layer to a serving platter, and spread 3/4 cup caramel over top. Top with another cake layer, and repeat with remaining caramel and cake layers, leaving top uncovered. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
  6. Frost top and sides of cake in a swirling motion. Sprinkle with sea salt.


  • If you want to save yourself some trouble, go buy either Hershey’s or Smucker’s caramel sauce in a jar. You will need 3, 14 oz. jars. Put in the fridge to thicken and add salt to taste. The cake comes out fine without the homemade sauce.
  • Cake layers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days (they actually taste better when refrigerated and have a better texture for stacking).
  • When finished, the frosted cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.