The Best Chocolate Toffee Graham Cake (a.k.a The Favorite Child)

My new Chocolate Toffee Graham Cake is so delicious my daughter named it “The Favorite Child!” With layers of graham cracker crust, chocolate cake, toffee cheesecake filling, and caramel buttercream, you’ll quickly see how it earned that name.

Cake on a cake stand.

Chocolate Toffee Graham Cake

I am so excited about my new Chocolate Toffee Graham Cake! Not only does it include the best chocolate cake recipe, it also has the most delicious graham cracker crust, with a no-bake toffee cheesecake filling, and salted caramel buttercream. So many flavors and textures that pair so beautifully together.

Let’s break it down some more!

Cake layers of a cake.
The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe

This chocolate cake is truly the best of the best. It’s rich in flavor and so incredibly moist. I use it for so many of my cakes and it really can’t be beat. Plus, it’s so easy to make!

PRO TIP: to ensure a moist chocolate cake, make sure you’re using a good quality chocolate that is high in fat. I recommend Extra Brute Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder. The flavor and quality is phemoninal!

This cocoa powder stores great and you’ll use it in so many of my recipes:

Graham Cracker Crust

For the graham cracker crust, you’ll actually make this element first. You will want to bake this for a few minutes on it’s own and then you’ll pour the chocolate cake batter right on top and bake them together.

The flavor of this crust is enhanced with a hint of coffee flavoring. I don’t drink coffee, but I love the complimentary flavor it adds to desserts. For this cake, the hint of coffee flavoring enhances the chocolate flavor, while also contrasting the sweetness of the filling and buttercream.

I actually don’t drink coffee, so I use a non-coffe substitute called Pero, which is made of barely, has no coffee in it, and gives the same awesome flavor for baked goods. You’ll find Pero at your local grocery store near the coffee.

Slice of cake on a plate.
Toffee Cheesecake Filling

This no-bake toffee cheesecake filling sets this cake apart and truly makes it next-level decadent! The filling is so easy to make and there’s no baking necessary. Mix some sugar with cream cheese, beat heavy whipping cream, and then fold the two together. It’s that easy! Sprinkle in the toffee chips and some mini chocolate chips (optional) and you’re set!

Salted Caramel Buttercream

To finish off this cake, we’re making homemade salted caramel and adding it to our buttercream. If you’ve never made homemade salted caramel, be sure to check out this POST for all my tips. It’s actually so easy to make.

Caramel drip on a cake.

NOTE: for the caramel drip – I actually used caramel baking chips. ½ caramel baking chips with 2-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream. Using caramel baking chips instead of the caramel you make works really well as a drip because it won’t run all the way down the side of the cake.

Cake on a cake stand.

Chocolate Toffee Graham Cake

Graham cracker crust with chocolate cake baked on top, with toffee cheesecake filling and caramel buttercream.
No ratings yet
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake

Ingredients
  

FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST

  • 3 cups (360 g) finely ground graham cracker crumbs , (about 27 whole rectangular crackers)
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or PERO (non-coffee sub)

FOR THE CAKE

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (88.5 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (109 g) vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water

FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) toffee baking pieces, I use the Heath Bar brand
  • 1/4 cup (40 g) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, optional

FOR THE CARAMEL

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) water
  • 1 teaspoon (18 g) light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (57.7.5 g) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 6 cups 750 g powdered sugar, measured then sifted
  • 1/2 cup caramel, recipe below
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.

Instructions
 

FOR THE CRUST

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and then line with parchment. Spray again. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl combine whisk together the melted butter and PERO or coffee granules until dissolved. Stir in the the graham cracker crumbs and sugar until all the graham cracker crumbs are damped by the melted butter.
  • Divide evenly between the three pans and press down firmly with your hand or the back of a spoon to create a solid crust.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool while you make the cake batter.

FOR THE CAKE

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, water, and vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the pans on top of the graham cracker crust (about 16 ounces in each pan) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.

FOR THE CHEESECAKE FILLING

  • In a medium size mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a chilled stainless steel bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold in the heavy whipping cream into the cream cheese mixture. Gently fold in the toffee chips and mini chocolate chips.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

FOR THE CARAMEL

  • 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.
  • Let cool to room temperature before using in buttercream.

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter on medium-high for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  • Turn the mixer to medium and gradually add the caramel. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium-high for a couple minutes until the caramel is incorporated.
  • Remember to mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon or large spatula to push out the air to create a silky-smooth frosting.

Assembly

  • Spead a dollop of buttercream on a cake board or cake stand. Place your first cake layer, crust side down, on the cake board.
  • Pipe a rim of buttercream around the top edge of the cake layer.
  • Fill and spread evenly with half of the cheesecake filling.
  • Repeat these steps for the second layer.
  • Place the final cake layer, crust side down, on the second layer of filling.
  • Apply a thin layer of buttercream around the cake. This is the crumb coat. Freeze the cake for 10 to 15 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  • Once the crumb coat is set, continue to frost the cake with the remaining buttercream.
  • NOTE: for the caramel drip – I actually used caramel baking chips. ½ caramel baking chips with 2-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream. Using caramel baking chips instead of the caramel you make works really well as a drip because it won't run all the way down the side of the cake.
Keyword caramel buttercream, cheesecake, chocolate, Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Toffee Graham Cake
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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  1. This looks so yummy! For the drip, it says to use “½ caramel baking chips”, do you mean a half cup? Can’t wait to make this one!