This chocolate cake with caramel frosting starts with a rich, fudgy, super moist chocolate cake made in a sheet pan. Then it’s slathered with caramel frosting and a drizzle of caramel sauce for the ultimate chocolate caramel combo!
Sticky, creamy, caramel with a hint of salt is probably one of the most delicious things. I love it on ice cream, or with tart apples… to be honest, I have zero problems eating a spoonful of salted caramel sauce right from the jar.
But I especially love caramel & chocolate. Because – whenever there’s chocolate involved you really can’t go wrong.
So today we’re making Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting. It’s a ridiculously fudgy, super moist chocolate cake. Then it’s slathered with caramel frosting and an extra drizzle of caramel.
Seriously – the fudginess factor is on point. And the creamy caramel frosting is clearly how you take a chocolate cake from delicious to drool worthy.
We’re making this chocolate cake recipe in a jelly roll. What’s awesome about making chocolate sheet cake is that it takes way less time to bake, and there’s way less skill involved than making a layer cake.
Then our chocolate sheet cake is super moist & fudgy because:
- We’re using oil
- A combo of brown sugar & granulated sugar
- Buttermilk for the softest crumb (if you don’t have any buttermilk, see the recipe notes for a substitution)
- And adding hot coffee at the end really brings out the chocolate flavor. (You don’t taste the coffee once the cake is baked, but if you prefer you can use boiling water instead).
Then after the cake is baked, it’s time for the caramel frosting. First we make our salted caramel sauce, then it’s added to a basic vanilla buttercream frosting. I’ve included all the instructions for making the salted caramel yourself – but you can also just use your favorite store bought caramel sauce if you need to save.
Now I made my frosting salted caramel because I like the contrast of the sweetness with that little hint of salt. But if you’re making this cake for children, or if you think salt is weird in your desserts, feel free to leave it out.
Then it’s time for frosting slathering, caramel drizzling & cake eating. Seriously – the combo of fudgy cake & caramel is off the charts. And if you love Rolos, or if See’s Caramels are your calling, then this chocolate cake with caramel frosting is for you.
Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting
For the Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour , spooned & leveled
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder , dutch processed preferred
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar , packed
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk , room temperature*
- 3/4 cup freshly brewed hot coffee , or boiling water
For the Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter , cut into 5 or 6 pieces
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt , optional
For the Caramel Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 4 -5 cups powdered sugar , sifted
- 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce , cold
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt , optional
- 2-4 tablespoons cream , or milk
- Rolo Candies for decorating , optional
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour. Set aside
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a separate large bowl using a stand or electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the oil and sugars followed by the eggs and vanilla. Turn the mixer down to low speed and carefully beat in the buttermilk followed by the flour mixture. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once evenly combined, carefully beat in the hot coffee. The mixture will be very thin.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and if you give the pan a gently nudge the middle doesn't wobble. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Make the Salted Caramel (Skip this step if using prepared caramel sauce)
- Add the sugar to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir gently with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The sugar will first form clumps, then it will turn amber in color and the clumps with dissolve until you have a smooth mixture.
- Then add in the butter while gently stirring. The mixture will bubble and boil. Once the butter is combined (about 2 minutes), carefully pour in the cream while gently stirring. The mixture will boil quite aggressively here. After the cream is combined, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Allow to cool fully before using
Make the Caramel Frosting & Serve
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until fluffy. Then turn down the mixer to low speed and carefully beat in 2 and 1/2 cups (or about half) of the powdered sugar, then once combined turn the mixer to high speed and beat for an additional 10 seconds. Turn off the mixer, add in 1/2 cup of salted caramel and the vanilla and salt. Beat on low speed until combined. Beat in 2 more cups of the powdered sugar on low speed, then turn the mixer up to medium speed for 10 seconds. Add in the whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Beat in a bit more powdered sugar as needed.
- Frost the cake using a flat knife. If the frosting brings up cake crumbs, first frost a thin layer, then refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes and frost again with the rest of the caramel frosting.
- To serve, cut into pieces and drizzle each with salted caramel and decorate with a few Rolo candies