Sweet and Salty Cake

After only a few seconds perusing its pages at the bookstore several weeks ago, I fell in baking love with Baked, which is brought to us by the bakery of the same name in Brooklyn. I brought it home, poured over its recipes, and marked more than a few as “must-bake.”

Fast forward to a few days before Thanksgiving, when I was having a very hard time deciding what to make in the chocolate category for our dinner. Suddenly, I remembered this cake and became very excited about making it.

Now having made this cake, I will tell you that it is evil. It’s not a simple cake to make, thus making it evil in my book. However, it is so jam-packed with goodness, making it evil in a whole other way.

Sweet and Salty Cake is a rich, delicious chocolate cake with salted caramel, chocolate-caramel frosting, and a sprinkling of salt. Absolutely delicious! - Bake or Break

So, let me paint the picture for you. Three layers of chocolate cake soaked with salted caramel and frosted with a caramel chocolate ganache, which was perhaps the most decadent thing I’ve ever put on a cake. With a pound each of butter and chocolate, not to mention all that heavy cream, I think that is a safe assumption. The combination of all that chocolate and salted caramel is just amazing.

I readily admit that I won’t be eager to make this one again, just from an effort standpoint. That being said, it is probably one of the very best cakes I’ve ever had the pleasure to eat. So, for those of you who enjoy making these labor-intensive cakes, you’ll be doubly rewarded with baking it and eating it. Just be sure to save a piece for me.

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Sweet and Salty Cake

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 56 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 56 minutes

Sweet and Salty Cake is a rich, delicious chocolate cake with salted caramel, chocolate-caramel frosting, and a sprinkling of salt. Absolutely delicious!

Sweet and Salty Cake


For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 & 1/4 cups hot water
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the salted caramel:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

For the whipped caramel ganache frosting:

  • 1 pound dark chocolate (60-70% cacao), chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 2 cups unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For assembling the cake:

  • 2 teaspoons fleur de sel, plus more for garnish


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour and knock out the excess.
  2. Combine the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream. Set aside to cool.
  3. Sift the flour, baking power, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until ribbon-like, about 5 minutes. Add both the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three portions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes on wire racks. Remove from the pans and let cool completely. Remove the parchment paper.

To make the salted caramel:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fleur de sel. Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the salt has dissolved. Be careful not to let the cream burn.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup, stirring carefully so as not to splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat about 6-8 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer reads 350°. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute.
  3. Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until time to assemble the cake.

To make the frosting:

  1. Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
  2. Bring the cream to a simmer over very low heat. Make sure the cream does not burn.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup, stirring carefully so as not to splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat for 6-8 minutes until an instant-read thermometer reads 350°F. Remove from the heat and let the caramel cool for 1 minute.
  4. Add the cream to the caramel. Stir slowly for 2 minutes. Then, pour the caramel over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute. Then, starting in the center of the bowl, and working out to the edges, slowly stir in a circle until chocolate is completely melted. Let cool, then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer.
  5. Mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Increase speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the sides and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1/4 cup caramel over the top, letting it soak into the cake. Spread 3/4 cup of ganache frosting over the caramel. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon fleur de sel over the frosting. Top with the second cake layer. Spread with frosting and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon fleur de sel. Top with the third cake layer. Spread with caramel. Crumb coat the cake and put the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Garnish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.
  2. Cake will keep at room temperature (cool and humidity-free) for up to 3 days. May be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Allow the cake to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.


Recipe very slightly adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

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