Salted Caramel Ghirardelli Chocolate Cake

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This year for the holidays the kids and I decided that we wanted to fix a dessert a week through Christmas and the kids and I landed on this recipe for a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake.  This is the only time of year that I’m excited about baking and being in the kitchen and since they shot down my original idea to fix a German Chocolate cake I went and scoured the interwebs for an alternative and landed on the idea of a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake, and boy am I glad I did.

For a minute I was a little offended because my grandmother used to make a German Chocolate Cake every Christmas and with everything that was going on this was going to be my way of sharing some of my childhood memories with my family, but they shot that idea down without the blink of an eye, lol.

My oldest daughter is allergic to nuts, so I get that reasoning but my husband, the man I love shared with me that he DOESN’T LIKE GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE, and I swear I started second-guessing who I married, lol.

Who doesn’t like German Chocolate Cake????

I do not understand!

He requested just a “regular”, in his words, chocolate cake, and I must say I was underwhelmed with the idea of a regular, so I decided to find a recipe that was a little fancier, which is why I’m sharing this recipe with you for this Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake, aka STRAIGHT GOODNESS!!!!

Now I’ve got to be honest that I had ulterior motives because I just found my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, and I really wanted to give it a try, however, I was able to quickly get this thing out of the box and onto my counter I was willing to do, lol.

So let’s get into this cake!!!

Tools You’ll Need

Because this is a 3 layer cake you’re going to want to make sure your mixing tools are large enough for the job.  If you don’t have a stand mixer like my KitchenAide just be sure to have a 5 qt mixing bowl or larger because it’s a lot of batter.

You’ll also want to have some:

  • Piping bags for the icing
  • Cake Spatulas
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cake Stand
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Salted Caramel Ghirardelli Chocolate Cake

Difficulty: Intermediate Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 1 hr Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 10


For the Cake

For the Icing

For the Garnish


Set Up

  1. Pre-Heat your oven to 350 degrees (F).
  2. Line the bottom of your 9" round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with non-stick baking spray generously.

Prepping the Cake

  1. Combine both granulated and brown sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in your stand mixer (using paddle mixer) or in a mixing bowl if you're using a hand mixer and stir on low until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. If you find any clumps you can use your hands to break them up. (We didn't see many clumps).
  2. In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients, eggs, egg yolks, sour cream, oil, and vanilla extract until completely combined.
  3. Once wet ingredients are combined pour them over into dry mixture and mix together on low until combined, (the mixture won't be all the way smooth just yet)
  4. Pour in hot water and continue mixing until the mixture is smooth and completely combined (about 1 minute). The batter will be thin and loose.
  5. Pour batter evenly between each pan being careful not to fill your cake pans past 1/2 full. We had a little extra batter so we made cupcakes :-)
  6. Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or until you can poke the center of the cake with a toothpick and it comes out clean.
  7. Allow cake to cool for about 10 minutes then place on a cooling rack. DO NOT TOUCH THEM UNTIL THEY ARE COOL, you don't want to split your cakes.

Preparing the Chocolate Icing

  1. While your cakes are cooling, using the same mixer and attachment, cream the softened butter until it's completely smooth on medium speed. This should take about 3 minutes.
  2. Once the butter is smooth turn your mixer off and sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
  3. Turn your mixer back on the lowest speed and stir until the sugars are completely absorbed by the butter. Once absorbed, turn your mixer on medium and add in vanilla extract, whipping cream, salt, and caramel then beat for 3 minutes. (If your mixture is then add more powdered sugar, if it's too thick add heavy whipping cream a teaspoon at a time.)
  4. Transfer icing to piping bags to prepare to decorate the cakes

Putting Your Cake Together

  1. If you don't want a cake that leans, you'll want to take a serrated knife and cut off the top part of each layer of cake before you begin assembly this will make each layer flat.
  2. Place a quarter-sized drop of icing directly to the cake stand and spread to create an anchor for your cakes.
  3. Place the bottom layer of cake on the stand then cover completely with icing. Spread icing evenly over the cake until the cake is completely covered. We left the sides of our cake open, so if you don't want a lot of icing just cover the top, but if you want the cake entirely covered cover the sides here as well.
  4. Drizzle the caramel sauce in a circle and completely cover the top of the layer of cake. Line the edges as precisely as possible, your caramel will drizzle down the sides naturally.
  5. Repeat this process for the next two layers of cake.


  1. Once the cake is completely iced, garnish with flaky sea salt. I took my fingers and just sprinkle sparingly across the top of the cake and decorated the cake plate with the salt. Go easy on the salt, it's just to add the final kick, but you do not want a salty cake.
Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 Slice

Servings 10

Keywords: salted caramel chocolate cake, salted caramel ghiradelli cake, chocolate cake recipe

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