Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake

Martha Stewart is a genius.  I saw this recipe for a Salted-Carmel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake on her website last fall and decided I had to bake it.  Why did I wait so long?!  Holy chocolate, Batman…this cake is A-MAZING!  The caramel oozes into the rich chocolate layers to create the perfect mix of salty and sweet.  A must try if you’re a chocolate lover!

Salted-Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake          Print Here

From Martha Stewart

Prep Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Yield Makes one 9-inch cake
Serves 12



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 tablespoon 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


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 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


To make the cake (This can be done up to 3 days in advance)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 3-inch cake pans and lightly dust with flour, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift in the flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt. Turn the mixer on low and mix until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups of warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat the mixture for about 3 minutes, until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans (distribute evenly). Bake in preheated oven for about 35 minutes, until set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool in the pans on top of a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto the racks to cool completely.

To make the caramel (this can be made up to 3 days in advance, just bring to room temperature before using)

In a medium saucepan combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup of water.  Heat over high high and do NOT stir for about 14 minutes, until the mixture is dark amber.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream (it may splatter a bit). Stir until smooth and then return to heat.  Place a candy thermometer in the pan and heat until the mixture reaches 238 degrees.  Pour the caramel into a medium bowl. Stir in a teaspoon of coarse salt.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Then stir in the butter, a tablespoon at a time.  Now cool completely.

To make the frosting

In a bowl, whisk together cocoa and 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons of warm water to dissolve the cocoa powder.  In another bowl, beat together the butter, confectioners’ sugar, and a pinch of coarse salt. Beat until pale and fluffy. Slowly beat in the melted chocolate. Then beat in the cocoa mixture until just combined.  Allow the mixture to stand for 30 minutes.

To assemble the cake

Use a serrated knife to level off the tops of the cakes, then cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one layer on a cake platter and spread 3/4 cup of the caramel on the top. Place another cake layer on top, repeat the process with the remaining caramel and cake layers.  Leave the top cake layer uncovered.  Place in fridge for 1 hour to set up.

Frost the tops and sides of the chilled cake. Sprinkle with sea salt. Slice and enjoy!


  • Butter three 9-inch round cake pans and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

  • Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, & 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt in the bowl of a mixer.

  • Beat on low until just combined.

  • Increase speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time.

  • Add buttermilk.

  • Add 1 1/2 cups warm water.

  • Add Safflower Oil.

  • And add vanilla.

  • Beat until smooth.

  • Divide batter among pans

  • Ready for the oven.

  • After 35 minutes, test with a toothpick or cake tester.

  • If it comes out clean, the cakes are done!

  • Transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

  • And the dishes are piling up…

  • Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 water in a medium saucepan over high heat.

  • Cook, without stirring, until the mixture is dark amber, about 14 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Sorry didn’t get an action picture, I was concentrating on not burning myself 🙂

  • Return to heat and cook until candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees, about 2 minutes.

  • Pour caramel into a medium bowl & stir in 1 teaspoon of coarse salt. Let cool for about 15 minutes.

  • Have two sticks of cold butter ready

  • and drop in butter, one tablespoon at a time.

  • Let caramel cool completely.

  • To start making the frosting, get 1 pound of semisweet chocolate

    and chop it up.  Melt it over a double-boiler (I forgot to take a pic!)

  • Whisk together cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water

  • until cocoa dissolves.

  • Beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and a generous pinch of coarse salt in a clean mixer bowl on medium speed until pale and fluffy.

  • Gradually add the cocoa and melted chocolate

  • and mix until combined.

  • Cut the cooled cakes in half and put on cake plate. I tuck pieces of parchment paper around the cake to help keep the cake plate clean while frosting…a tip I learned from watching Julia Child on PBS as a kid 🙂

  • Add 3/4 cup caramel to the top of each layer (except the top layer).

  • Smooth over each layer

  • and keep stacking!

  • Refrigerate until set, about an hour.

  • Frost! Again, I didn’t take pics…this time, because my hands were covered in chocolate!

  • Remove the parchment pieces from under the cake.

  • Use a damp cloth to clean up any extra mess on the cake plate.

  • Ta-dah! A cake!

  • I tried to put it away…

  • But it was screaming for me to eat it!

  • So I cut into it…

  • and took that gigantic piece for myself. Muahahaha!

  • Just look at that pretty thing…layers upon layers of chocolate and salty caramel. *Sigh*

  • Up close and personal.

  • Time to eat!

  • Good to the last drop…now time for a glass of milk!

  • Enjoy!!

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