Chocolate cake!

Chocolate cake!

Salted Caramel Dreams
23 cm triple layer cake
River Thompson

If ever there was a big cake to celebrate Fatties, this is it. It’s packed full of my favourite things: dark chocolate, salted caramel and peanut butter.

I like to decorate the cake with reserved cake crumbs, toasted Marshmallow Fluff and clumps of shiny Cornflake Bocaditos but go wild with your own combinations of toppings. The frosting recipe makes a large amount, allowing you to go wild with piped decorations, too, if you so desire!


Quantity Ingredient


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
250ml boiling water
175g salted butter
550ml buttermilk, at room temperature
425g plain flour
265g cocoa powder
750g caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
5 large free-range eggs


Quantity Ingredient
450g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
500g smooth peanut butter
125g Classic salted caramel sauce, at room temperature
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
650-750g icing sugar

Filling (The amounts are up to you, depending on whether you want it demure or oozing)

Quantity Ingredient
Classic salted caramel sauce, at room temperature
Salted caramel peanut butter, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Grease the sides and line the bottoms of 3 x 23 cm round, springform cake tins.
  3. First make the sponge. In a large jug, dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water, then set aside to cool until just warm. Whisk in the melted butter and buttermilk.
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the eggs on a medium speed until the whites and yolks are amalgamated. Turn the speed down to low and gradually pour in the liquids. Turn up the speed slightly and mix until well combined.
  6. Returning to a low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go. Be careful not to overmix the batter, but beat until the batter is smooth and just combined.
  7. Divide the batter among the prepared cake tins, gently tapping the cakes on a work surface to level the surface and get rid of any trapped air bubbles. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until a thin skewer or cocktail stick inserted comes out streak-free but with a few moist crumbs attached. Ovens vary so it might be necessary to rotate the cakes during baking or adjust the baking time per cake.
  8. Cool in the pans for 20–25 minutes, then remove from the pans, peel away the baking parchment and cool fully on cooling racks.
  9. Make the frosting. Combine the softened butter, peanut butter, salted caramel, sea salt and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Beat on a medium speed until well blended and pale. Beat in the sugar in 4 stages, starting on a low speed, scraping down the bowl between additions. Increase the speed to high once all the sugar is added. Beat until pale and fluffy. If runny, add more sugar until the desired consistency has been achieved.
  10. To assemble, place the cake layers on a flat, level cake board, surface or turntable and level the tops with a long, sharp serrated knife or cake leveller, cutting off the cracked dome. These can be reserved for crumbing and decorating the cake or are delicious cut into chunks and served with hot Salted Caramel Custard for a warming pudding.
  11. Take one cake layer and top with 250–300 g of the frosting, spread out to a flat, even layer.
  12. Drizzle over the salted caramel sauce and dollop on some salted caramel peanut butter. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat the filling process as before, topping with the final cake layer, placed upside down for a smooth and flat finish. Take a little of the frosting and with a small offset spatula, apply a thin layer of frosting all over the cake, using a cake scraper to smooth the surface. Scrape any excess frosting into a small separate bowl. Place the cake in the fridge or freezer for 15–20 minutes, or until no frosting comes away on your finger when gently touched.
  13. With the remaining frosting, working as before apply a thicker layer of the frosting. Smooth first with the small offset spatula and then the cake scraper. Decorate as desired!
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