chocolate cake with salted caramel and fleur de sel


A few Fridays ago, my co-worker Suneeta and I had an uncontrollable urge for chocolate cake around 3 in the afternoon. {It was initiated by the monthly birthday cake brought into our office that is doled out to only those people with birthdays in that particular month, a policy which is strictly enforced, much to our chagrin}. But not just any chocolate cake – we were craving a gooey, fudgey, mass-produced chocolate cake {which, in the first instance is weird for us since neither of us are chocolate lovers}. After roaming around our workplace, the Ferry Building, in search of the perfect chocolate cake, we were at a loss. High end bakeries like Miette were simply too… precious for our craving – we wanted something much more rich, more sickly sweet, more primal. We ended up walking a half mile to the nearest Safeway where we found the perfect chocolate cake to satisfy our needs, and quite literally ate it with our hands in a nearby park, simultaneously feeling quite pathetic but also elated with our conquest.

This past weekend, to help celebrate our friend Bryan’s birthday, I thought I would try to re-create the chocolate-y, fudgey goodness at home. I came across a recipe from Bon Appetit a few months ago that featured a chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting, a salted caramel filling and fleur de sel, and have been dreaming about it ever since. This cake really is as decadent and amazing as it sounds – the chocolate cake was moist and intensely chocolate-y, but not overly sweet, the ganache frosting made with Guittard chocolate was fudge in the form of frosting, and the salted caramel and fleur de sel sprinkles added the perfect contrast. This cake was decidedly more sophisticated than its Safeway counterpart, and demanded to be eaten with a fork.




Adapted from Bon Appetit

Note: To simplify matters, I used a store-bought salted caramel sauce, but you could certainly make your own by following the recipe above.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream

Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let soften 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool, then cover and chill overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

Chocolate Cake 

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup {1 stick} unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1/2 store bought salted caramel sauce
  • Fleur de sel, for sprinkling

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each with parchment paper; butter paper and dust pan with flour.

Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes. Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended {batter will be thin}. Divide batter between pans {about 3 cups each}.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Cut around cakes; turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment and cool completely.

Place 1 layer on platter and spread one half of the room-temperature ganache on top of first layer and on sides. Spoon 3/4 cup ganache into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain round tip. Pipe ring of ganache around edge of layer. Spread 1/2 cup room-temperature caramel filling evenly inside ring. Sprinkle caramel with large pinch of fleur de sel. Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top with fleur de sel. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour.









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26 Responses to chocolate cake with salted caramel and fleur de sel

  1. This cake is gorgeous! I’m so addicted to the flavors of salted caramel right now.

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you so much Shae! Me too – in my opinion, salted caramel makes almost anything better! I especially liked it with the dark chocolate ganache – the combination of the slight bitterness from the dark chocolate works so well against the butter sweetness of the salted caramel. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words! xo

  2. Great idea for the filling to have the salted caramel. Yum.

  3. lena says:

    No cake unless it’s your birthday month? What torture!

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Haha – it really is! I wasn’t aware of this fact when I first started (my last firm provided cake to everyone during each month) and frankly, it’s hard to get used to! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words! xo

  4. Giulia says:

    Truly a fantastic cake. The aren’t many flavor combinations that captivate me as much as chocolat and salted caramel. Simply delicious, I wish I could have a slice right now.

  5. bakesinslippers says:

    gorgeous shot

  6. bakeaffairs says:

    This cake looks amazing! Well done!

  7. bp says:

    I know exactly how you feel about that craving for old school chocolate cake mid work day! this recipe is mouth watering! great pictures too! Nicely done! Lucky lucky birthday boy!

  8. Love it, like a big rollo (only better because it’s homemade) I so love chocolate and caramel and that touch of sea salt is just the perfect addition.

  9. Absolutely perfect. This would be my new favorite. And chocolate ganache frosting! Oh my.

  10. andmorefood says:

    why do you make such delicious things! this has gone right up the list!

  11. This looks absolutely truly fabulous, like a chocolate caramel bar plus cake in one!

  12. laurasmess says:

    I’ve just realised how much I’ve missed over the past few weeks Lindsay! Argh. Such beautiful baking, words, photographs… I feel like I’m in a happy little place whilst catching up on these posts! Love the idea of eating chocolate cake with your hands in the part. I’ve walked miles to satisfy a food craving too… the most memorable one being a desire for a Cadbury caramel-filled koala (Caramello) one Saturday afternoon. Junk food chocolate. Sometimes nothing else will do! Anyway, this cake is absolutely beautiful. Love your palette knife shot, looks professional missy! That salted caramel interior looks to-die-for!!! Definitely making this. Gorgeous! xo

    • fleurdeselsf says:

      Thank you so much Laura! Are the Caramellos actually koala shaped?! How adorable! I am glad you can relate to the need to consume cheap chocolate – I don’t get such a craving too often, but when I do, I must answer it immediately! 🙂 xoxo

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