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Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake
Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake – Rich, dark chocolate cake layers with dulce de leche filling, chocolate caramel frosting and salted caramel drip.
Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake
A couple of years ago, on Ryan’s 33rd birthday, I asked him what kind of cake he wanted to celebrate. His reply was, “it’s just got to be your best cake yet.” Oh, ok. No pressure. Ha!
I immediately planned on using my chocolate cake recipe. It’s Ryan’s favorite! He also loves my salted caramel frosting but I wanted to do something new, so I incorporated the salted caramel into a chocolate frosting and the drip.
At that point, using Dulce de Leche as a filling was just an obvious addition. Thick, creamy caramel sauce? Yes, please! I used store-bought dulce de leche, but you can certainly make your own too.
Chocolate Caramel Buttercream
A quick note about the frosting – you’ll add one cup of warm caramel sauce to the chocolate and stir until nice and smooth. At that point, let the mixture cool a bit before adding the butter, a little at a time. Once all the butter is added, your mixture will likely still be pretty thin. Go ahead and stick it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool down and set.
After it’s chilled, continue to beat the frosting for another five minutes or so, or until it lightens and takes on a spreadable consistency.
When you’re done frosting the cake with the chocolate caramel frosting, make sure to chill the cake for 15 to 20 minutes before doing the caramel drip.
I hope you enjoy this Chocolate Dulce De Leche Cake! Follow me on Instagram @cakebycourtney for more tips and recipes on all things cake!
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Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake
Rich, dark chocolate cake layers with dulce de leche filling, chocolate caramel frosting and salted caramel drip.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (225 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (375 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (88.5 g) Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (5.6 g) salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water or coffee
- 1/2 cup (109 g) vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoons (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
FOR THE DULCE DE LECHE
- I used 3 bottles of Trader Joe's pre-made Dulce de Leche. You can use any brand you'd like or make your own.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 16 ounces dark chocolate
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly chilled
- 1 cup (8 oz) caramel sauce (recipe below)
FOR THE CARAMEL
- 1 1/2 cup (300 g) granulated sugar
- 10 tablespoons (147.87 g) water
- 6 teaspoons (42 g) light corn syrup
- 1 cup (231 g) heavy cream
- 3 teaspoons (12.6 g) vanilla
- 3 teaspoons (16.8 g) salt
- For the Chocolate Cake
- Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by spraying the bottom and sides with nonstick spray, lining the bottom with parchment paper and spraying again. Set aside.
- In a bowl of electric mixer, combine and stir all dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In medium sized mixing bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, water or coffee, oil and vanilla and beat lightly with a fork.
- With the mixer on low speed, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated (about 30 to 60 seconds). Batter will be thin. Scrape sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans (I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed - about 15 to 16 ounces of batter in each 8-inch pan.
- Bake for 16-20 minutes, until toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
- When cakes are completely cooled, divide each cake layer into two with a cake leveler so you have six layers total. Keep the two layers together (for each of the three cake layers you baked) and wrap with plastic wrap and freeze until you're ready to use. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. Let thaw for about an hour before frosting.
- For the Chocolate Caramel Frosting
- Put the chocolate into a mixing bowl and pour the warm caramel sauce over the chocolate. Stir until the mixture is smooth and starts to cool down.
- After it cools down a bit, add the butter, little by little, beating until everything is smooth and well blended.
- The frosting is done when the texture is soft and silky. If you added the butter while the mixture was still warm, just place the bowl in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to set. Continue beating for another 5-7 minutes until it reaches a thicker, more spreadable consistency as seen in the picture above.
- If the buttercream is still too soft, place in the refrigerator again for a couple hours and then re-beat when you're ready to use.
- For the Caramel Sauce
- Mix sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
- Bring the water and sugar mixture to boil over medium heat, but DO NOT STIR. (Stirring encourages crystallization). Let the mixture cook until it caramelizes into a golden brown color. It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.
- Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Pour in just a tiny bit at a time, especially at the beginning, and mix to combine. You can start adding more and more as you go along.
- Mix in salt and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- NOTE: You'll use one cup of caramel sauce for the frosting and will need to reserve 1/2 cup for the drizzle. Make sure the caramel sauce for the drizzle is at room temperature before piping on the cake.
- Place the first cake layer on your cake plate and spread about 1/3 cup Dulce de Leche on top. Repeat for the remaining layers, placing the last layer, bottom-side up.
- Coat the cake in a thin layer of the chocolate caramel frosting to lock in the crumbs. Chill for 15 minutes.
- When the crumb coat is set, continue to frost the cake as you'd like with the chocolate caramel frosting. Chill again for 15-20 minutes.
- Using the remaining 1/2 caramel sauce, pour it into a piping bag with a small round tip or use a strong plastic bag and make a small cut in the corner. Pipe the caramel around the edge of the cake so it falls off like a waterfall.
- Serve right away or store in an air-tight container overnight in the fridge or several days in the freezer. Bring back to room temperature before serving.
Can’t wait to try this cake, but could you please put up the recipe for the macaroons you use on top of the cake. Thanks
Those are actually just store bought 🙂
Just made this awesome cake. Was such an incredibly moist cake. I made mine a 3 layer, 8-inch cake but it was so delicious, surprisingly not too sugary either. It’s a keeper! Thanks for a great recipe!
I’m so happy to hear that!!!
Not sure if I did something wrong but the frosting was extremely bitter. Creamy but bitter. I feel 16 oz of dark chocolate was way too much. I don’t know if I used the wrong type of chocolate. I used 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate (Ghiradelli).
Trader Joes discontinued their de leche, but they have caramel sauce. I know de leche is thicker so I’m thinking I’d get a different brand for that. In regards to the caramel sauce though could I just use the store bought or is yours a specific consistency? If I can use store bought, about how much does yours make so I know how much to buy?
Most grocery stores have dulce de leche. I’d use that because it’s thicker and will hold up better.
Hey Courtney, I love your cakes! They are all so beautiful and look so tasty. I was finally able to make this one and, although the taste was great (that caramel, delicious!), the look wasn’t. The cake didn’t rise much and is very dense and moist, so I was not able to cut it in half. And the chocolate buttercream looked more like a ganache. I think it would’ve been better to pour it on top of the cake. Any tips on how to bake on higher altitudes and how to work with butter that has a higher water content? (I think these were the 2 factors that contributed to both my issues) Just to clarify, I just recently moved to Central America, so I’ve been having to test different brands of butters and learning to work with a new oven. Thanks!
Hi Nora, I’m sorry to hear you had some issues. All of my cakes will work great at high altitude, but if you have any issues or doubts, the first thing I recommend to reduce is the sugar. Next time, use 1/4 cup less sugar. This cake is moist and rich but not supposed to be super dense. A dense cake often occurs because we’ve used too much flour. How are you measuring your flour? Maybe even try sifting it next time. And I’m not sure about the butter… I’ve always used a Costco brand butter and it’s been great. This frosting should be light and silky. Did you use heavy whipping cream?
Hi , your cakes look amazing and I just tried the dulce de Lethe cake. It was way too salty. I even didn’t put in as much as the caramel called for. Also the chocolate caramel frosting made much more than I needed to use since I used the dulce de Lethe for the filling between the layers. Has anyone else made similar comments?
Hi! I’ve made the layers and homemade dulce de leche, the frosting tastes buttery and chocolates but not like a typical buttercream. Is this normal? There is no powdered sugar at all?
Can you pipe designs with the caramel chocolate frosting? Or is the consistency wrong to pipe?
It’s going to be too soft for piping
No brute cocoa on hand. Substitute? I,e. Double amount Dutch process cocoa?
No just use what you have. Don’t double it.
My family really enjoyed this cake. It’s sure to show up again!
I’m so glad!!
Hi there! I am wondering I can substitute cake flour for all purpose flour?
You will want to use cake flour if the recipe calls for it. You will get a different result with AP flour.
Made this for a baby shower and it was so so soooooo good! The dulce de Leche sort of soaked into the cake layers and made them extra most and rich. Absolutely scrumptious!
So happy you loved it!
Hi Courtney! Question: I usually follow your measurements in grams just to be more accurate, but I’m concerned that for example 6 teaspoons of light corn syrup for my weighted 62 grans instead of the 112g. Should I follow grams or cups/spoons?
I just fixed this. It should be about 42g.
Is there a reason this recipe isn’t showing up? 🙁
We are updating it!
Where is this recipe? My daughter has asked me to make this cake for her birthday.
We are updating it!
hi i couldn’t find chocolate dulce de leche cake recipe, its one of our favorite.
We are updating it!
Looks so delicious! I’m having fun exploring your whole website. What did you use to decorate the top of this cake, besides the Carmel drip!
I made this cake for my friend’s birthday last week, and it was SUCH a hit!!! I was so confused when I looked at the frosting recipe and saw that there was no powdered sugar in it, but I trusted Courtney, and I am so glad I did. Dulce de leche and chocolate is such a dynamic duo
Yay! Thanks for believing in me and the cake! So glad you loved it!
What kind of chocolate bits did you use besides the curls for the topping?
Not too sweet, moist, and perfect. I did six inch pans and ended up lowering the temperature to 340. They turned out great! I’m still so happy with the chocolate caramel buttercream. So delicious! And almost magical with how well it whipped up!
I made the cake and it was amazing, everybody loved it! Would it be safe to use it as cupcakes as well?
I made this one. They loved it. I used 70% dark Lindt chocolate like 4 bars. I had to adjust the amount of caramel ( I added more) as it was a little bit bitter with just 1 cup caramel with it. I should have used 60% (maybe?) But it was great! It was described as “ divine” 😃thank you for sharing your recipe!