Tieghan Gerard's Chocolate Caramel Cake

From the Colorado blogger's Half Baked Harvest Cookbook

An delicious treat from the Colorado blogger's Half Baked Harvest Cookbook: Recipes From My Barn in the Mountains.

This cake is over-the-top, but in the best way possible. It is sincerely the key to any chocolate lover’s heart." — Tieghan Gerard

serves 10


  • Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 4½ ounces dark chocolate, melted
  • 1½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup strong brewed coffee, hot

Chocolate Fudge:

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter

Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1¼ cups caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease with butter or cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, buttermilk, yogurt, canola oil, melted chocolate, and vanilla together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the coffee and beat to combine. The batter should be pourable but not super thin.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the tops are just set and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove, let cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of each pan. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack. Remove the pans and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.


In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and cream. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted and smooth. Let cool to room temperature.


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, and 1½ cups of the confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add ½ cup of the caramel sauce and the vanilla and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, for about 2 minutes more, or until there are no streaks. Taste the frosting and add more of the confectioners’ sugar if you like a sweeter or thicker buttercream.


Place one layer of cake flat-side up on a cake stand or plate. With a knife or offset spatula, spread half the fudge over the top. Drizzle with ¼ cup of  caramel sauce so that it almost completely covers the fudge sauce. Set a second cake layer on top, rounded-side up, and repeat with remaining fudge sauce and ¼ cup of the caramel sauce. Set the third layer on top, flat-side up, and frost the top and sides with buttercream. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Just before slicing, drizzle the cake with the remaining ¼ cup caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce:
Makes 2 cups

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups heavy cream or canned full-fat coconut milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt


In a large skillet, cook sugar over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, for 8 to 10 minutes, until it has melted and turned a deep golden caramel color. Remove skillet from the heat and add the pieces of butter one by one, whisking until combined—the caramel will bubble up. Slowly add the cream and whisk until combined.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring, for 5 to 8 minutes, until the caramel has thickened and is deep amber in color. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the bourbon (if using) and salt. Set the caramel aside to cool completely before using, at least 20 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks. Warm before using.

Categories: Recipes