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Sweet and Salty Cake

Courtesy of Baked bakery in New York City, this Sweet and Salty Cake will satisfy every chocolate lovers' appetite.

  • Yield: Makes one 8-inch 3-layer cake
Sweet and Salty Cake

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, December Winter 2006


  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 2/3 cups cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Caramel with Salt
  • Whipped Caramel Ganache Icing
  • Fleur de sel, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with a parchment paper round, butter parchment paper and flour; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, 1 1/4 cups hot water, and sour cream; set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

  3. In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth and it appears to create strings inside the bowl, about 7 minutes. Add both sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix again for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

  5. Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 18 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely.

  6. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Using about 1/4 cup of the caramel, spread a thin layer on the cake, allowing some of the caramel to soak into the cake. Follow the caramel layer with a layer of about 1 cup of the ganache icing. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another layer of caramel followed by a layer of ganache icing. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining ganache icing. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.


Reviews (11)

  • Lauren Lentini 18 Jun, 2013

    Martha Stewart recipes are notoriously flawed, as if deliberately.

  • Cake Girl 1 Apr, 2013

    This cake is delicious. Unfortunately it is an absolute mofo to make and a horrific mess. It took me like 4 hours and my kitchen is in shambles. And it fell apart all over the place. I need a shower.

  • DejaW 3 Nov, 2012

    once again find the recipe without errors at the cooking channel site.

  • DejaW 3 Nov, 2012

    Ok so for those of you who got some very disappointing results with this recipe I know what the issue is!! I uncovered a flaw in the cooking time. In the original recipe they are suppose to "bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean." I am quoting this directly from the cooking channel site. view recipe here-->

  • Blobby 22 Aug, 2012

    This is hands down the worst cake recipe we have ever made. Nothing went as planned. Cooking times were WAY off. The cake fell apart even before we attempted to ice it. The caramel ganache was a disaster. We tried to make it twice and each time was worse than the last. When we tasted the cake there were strange tangy pockets. This cake hurt our feelings. I want my time and effort refunded. I am very disappointed in you, Martha.

  • cookie_man 22 Oct, 2014

    Seriously? The cake hurt your feelings? Maybe you don't need a recipe, maybe you need a freaking psychiatrist.

  • Zdesh 7 Jun, 2012

    This cake is fabulous. Two thumbs up! So light n moist. I used all butter, didn't have vegetable shortening. I used a different size pan so the cooking time had to be different, used Cadbury cocoa. I didn't even use sea salt n substituted normal salt. Huge success!

  • holleeserena 28 Jan, 2012

    i made this cake several times before and it was fantastic. i don't know if they have changed the recipe, but it was an epic fail this time. same comments as previously posted. took forever to bake and the consistency was sooo bad that it fell apart when i iced it. tasted good but was a mess!!

  • lilbmer 25 Nov, 2010

    I TOTALLY concur with JDN. I made this cake EXACTLY, and I mean EXXXXXACTLY to the letter with high quality chocolate (valhrona), Plugra butter, etal and the baking times listed are SO FAR OFF it's ridiculous. The MUSH in the middle I was left with tasted good, but it was like pudding. I left them in as long as I could but the edges were burning and the center was MUSH. Taste was great, but could not assemble and present to a level I would have been proud of. :(((((

  • Heidi France 18 Oct, 2010

    I live in France and can't get vegetable shortening. May I just use all butter for the cake batter?

  • jdn 24 Aug, 2010

    I love this cake, and everything else in the fabulous "Baked" cook book. However, the recipe here differs from the recipe in the book, and I think the differences are important to point out. The first time I made this cake (following the recipe from online), it was severely undercooked and, therefore, unstable. The cooking time in the book for the cake layers is 35 to 40 minutes, rotating half way through (for even heating).

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