Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake

chocolate caramel cake
Photo: Sang An
1 dozen squares

The secret behind this devilish cake is instant coffee powder, which enhances the rich chocolate flavor. Eat a bewitching slice of this cake by the light of the moon, and save the caramel spiderweb and licorice spider for last.


  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for sheet

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

  • 1 ½ teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder

  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water

  • 2 ½ cups packed light-brown sugar

  • cup sour cream

  • 2 large eggs

  • Caramel Buttercream for Chocolate Caramel Layer Cake

  • Caramelized Cobwebs and Licorice Spiders


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet, and line with parchment paper. Butter lining. Dust bottom and sides with flour; tap out excess.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk together chocolate, coffee, and boiling water in a separate bowl; set aside.

  3. Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add sour cream; beat until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture.

  4. Whisk chocolate mixture again; add to batter. Beat until smooth.

  5. Pour batter into prepared sheet. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on a wire rack.

  6. Invert cake onto a rimless baking sheet; peel off parchment. Halve widthwise. Spread half of buttercream on top of one layer. Top frosted layer with second cake layer; coat cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate 1 hour. Cut into 12 squares; garnish each serving with a caramelized cobweb.

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