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Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting


Forget boxed cake mix! This chocolate cake with caramel frosting comes together really fast, and you don't need any kind of special ingredients. You can bake this recipe as cupcakes, but I took the easy route and baked a sheet cake.

It's so moist!

The coffee ingrdient really enhances the depth and flavor of chocolate. You can't really taste the coffee, but it is my favorite combination when I bake.

The caramel frosting is a bit labor intensive, but certainly good. This cake would be fantastic with a Seven Minute Frosting or Cream Cheese Frosting.

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Rate this recipe 4.1/5 (28 Votes)


  • (makes 28 cupcakes, and reduce baking time to approximately 20 minutes)
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup black coffee, cooled (I used a dark roast coffee. You can't taste the coffee, but the chocolate is deeper in flavor and richness with this ingredient)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice with milk to equal 1 cup; or 1 tablespoon vinegar with milk to equal 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup canola (or vegetable) oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 tablespoons (that's 1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 6 cups powdered sugar*
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream (I used 4 tablespoons)**
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons caramel syrup (I used 2 tablespoons; recipe below)
  • Pinch kosher salt (important... salted caramels are the food rage, these days)


Servings 18
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 50mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners (or use a 9X13 prepared baking pan or cake pans.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, & salt in a large bowl or in bowl of stand mixer. Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, & vanilla. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. (Batter will be thin.)

Scoop about 1/4 cup batter into each cupcake liner, or into a baking sheet, or cake pans.

Bake for 20 about minutes (for cupcakes) or 28 minutes (approximately) for a baking pan at 350°F or until toothpick comes out clean.

NOTE: I always check my cakes at 5 minutes less than the recommended baking time, just to be sure I don't overbake the cake. A toothpick inserted, should come out clean.

Cool completely and frost.

In a small saucepan, cook butter until browned. Pour through a fine mesh sieve into a heatproof bowl; set aside to cool. Pour cool browned butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add powdered sugar. Add cream, vanilla, caramel syrup, and salt and beat until powdered sugar is completely incorporated.

*The original recipe listed 1 pound of powdered sugar. I like my icing a little thicker, but adjust to your preferences
**I would say that the heavy cream is optional...maybe add more caramel syrup, to suit your taste

Be sure to have all of your ingredients pre-measured and close at hand.

In a large, deep skillet, over high heat, mix together sugar and 1/4 cup water.

Cook until mixture turns a dark amber color. Reduce heat to medium.
To avoid dangerously hot splatter, protect arms with long sleeves & hand with oven mitt, & cautiously, and very slowly, add 1/2 cup water. Stir until mixture has reduced slightly. Remove from heat and cool completely.

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