I’m thankful to live in America. I’m thankful for the right to vote. I’m thankful for the freedoms and liberties that my country and its leaders have afforded me.
To be honest, though, I’m mainly thankful that my hope is not dictated by politics. My joy and peace do not stem from a winning vote. In fact, I can list a million things that I have to be thankful for right at this very moment, and not one of them has anything to do with whoever ends up living in the big house on Pennsylvania Ave.
Instead of spending our time chit-chatting about politics, let’s skip right to dessert. On days like these, we need something sweet like chocolate caramel crumble cake to remind us that it’s all good. To remind us to take life one slice at a time. So if you’re not too busy planning your retirement to Canada, let’s settle in and discuss this cake, shall we?
Chocolate Caramel Crumble Cake
Chocolate caramel crumble cake is a three layer chocolate cake stacked with coats of fluffy chocolate frosting, drizzles of salty caramel, and sprinkles of chocolate cookie crumbles.
- Prep Time: 60
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 2 hours
For the chocolate cake
- 2–1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2–1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2–1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 2–1/4 teaspoons corn starch
- 1–1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1–1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
- 3/4 cups black coffee, hot
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1–1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
For the chocolate crumbles
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon water
For the chocolate frosting
- 2–1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1–1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3/4 cups cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 1–1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup prepared salted caramel sauce
To prepare the cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 (8″) round cake pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. In a separate bowl, loosely combine all of the wet ingredients and these to the bowl of the dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed for just shy of 2 minutes, scraping the bowl (and bottom of bowl!) twice throughout.
- Pour equal amounts of batter in to all 3 pans. Carefully place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until center is just barely set and toothpick comes out of cake almost clean. Allow to cool in the pans and on a cooling rack for 20 minutes and then remove from pans to continue the cooling process. Allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
To prepare the crumbles
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the butter and sugar on medium low speed until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low until large crumbs begin to form. Chill the crumbs in the freezer for about 5 minutes to set the crumbs.
- Spread the crumbs out onto a quarter sheet pan and bake in the oven, tossing occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, or until crumbs are baked and set.
To prepare the chocolate frosting
- Whip butter in the bowl of a stand mixer over medium speed (I use 4 on my Kitchen Aid) for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, milk, vanilla, and salt and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the melted chocolate, beating until throughly combined for an additional 1-2 minutes. Place in the fridge if it is too soft. This is enough frosting for a 3 layer, 8″ cake.
To assemble to cake
- Spread a small dollop of frosting on a cake board and place one chocolate cake layer on top. Spread 3/4 cup of frosting on top, spreading it evenly to the edges of the cake. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of caramel and sprinkle with 1/3 of the crumbles. Repeat this process once to assemble the second layer.
- To finish the cake, set in place the final cake round. Spread 1 cup of frosting on top and decorate as desired, garnishing with the remaining caramel and crumbles.
- Cakes can be made ahead and frozen. See my blog post for chocolate cake for more tips on cake baking.
- Frosting can be made ahead and frozen. Bring to room temperature and re-beat prior to using.
- Store bought caramel is fine, but see the link in my post for my favorite salted caramel recipe.
- Chocolate crumbles can be made ahead and frozen.
- You can half this recipe to prepare a smaller 6″ cake.
- This cake can be frosted and decorated as a traditional cake as well. Instead of preparing it as a naked cake, you can pipe a dam of frosting on top of each layer of cake and fill with caramel and crumbles. Once the cake is stacked, coat it in a thin crumb coat and place in the fridge to set up. You can finish it by frosting and decorating as desired.