This gluten free chocolate caramel cake is so decadent and rich! Moist chocolate cake filled with salted caramel and covered in silky smooth chocolate fudge frosting.
It’s January and everyone else is blogging about salads and sugar free and everything healthy. And here I am flagging you down to try this AMAZING gluten free chocolate caramel cake! Yep, just trying to keep it real and this is the real me for sure. Ha!
Ever since I watched some show on the Cooking Channel with a chocolate caramel cake, I’ve been kinda obsessed with making one. It looked so incredibly good because caramel and chocolate are pretty much bff’s. But there was no recipe, so it took me a while to figure out the right caramel and fudge frosting. And once I made this cake I was absolutely in love with it!!
This is my favorite chocolate cake recipe ever because it’s so moist and stays moist for days. And it’s almost a one bowl super simple recipe. You might already know this cake recipe from my gluten free triple chocolate cupcakes. The ingredients are:
- Kim’s gluten free flour blend (or any flour blend of your choice containing xanthan gum).
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Canola or vegetable oil (or any neutral-flavored oil)–what? no butter??? The use of oil as the fat in this recipe is what makes the cake so moist and helps it stay moist for days. It’s very light and not dense at all.
- Vanilla extract
- Hot coffee (it really brings out the chocolate flavor)
Making the Caramel
I could literally eat this caramel with a spoon, but after a few spoonfuls I decided I’d better save most of it for the cake. I found this recipe on Pinterest when I was looking for something to fill my cake that would be soft enough to cut through, but not so soft like a caramel sauce that it wouldn’t stay put.
While the original recipe worked well, I opted to thin it out slightly with some heavy cream to make it more spreadable. There’s no checking a candy thermometer for this recipe, so it’s pretty simple to make:
- In a small saucepan, melt brown sugar, golden syrup (or corn syrup), and butter over medium low heat.
- Stirring constantly, allow the mixture to come to a boil and boil just until the caramel is smooth and the sugar is completely melted (if you lift the spoon and let the caramel drip, you shouldn’t see any visible sugar crystals).
- Add sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream and stir to combine. Continue to stir and allow the mixture to come to a full boil.
- Boil the caramel, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened (it will thicken more upon cooling), about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add vanilla extract and a pinch of sea salt. Cool completely before filling cake layers.
Making the Fudge Frosting
I’ve been searching for a perfect fudge-like frosting for a long time, and I I’ve finally found it! What’s great about this recipe is it can be made in about a minute (that’s right–ONE minute!) and it uses ingredients you probably already have on hand.
This recipe comes from the lovely Emma from Emma’s Goodies on YouTube. If you’re not already following her channel, you should be! She makes some amazing things and has some really great tips, too.
The frosting begins by whisking powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer). Add softened butter and boiling water and mix to combine. The boiling water changes the consistency from what would be an American buttercream into a fudge-like frosting that’s unbeatable!
Finish it off with a little bit of melted dark chocolate and salt and lemme tell ya, this frosting is heaven on a cake!! It seriously couldn’t be simpler and is such a game changer for me, I will use it quite often on cakes and cupcakes.
Putting Together This Gluten Free Caramel Chocolate Cake
Now that you’ve made the three components, let’s put together this cake and get to the best part–eating it! Start by putting the first layer of cake on an 8-inch cake board and top it with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of caramel. Spread it to the edges, but don’t go over. Some will squish over the sides, which is fine. It’s going to get covered with the fudge frosting anyway.
Top with another cake layer followed by the fudge frosting. Frost the sides and top with the fudge frosting, covering up any caramel in the process.
If you’re like me and can’t resist chocolate cake, no matter New Year’s resolutions you’ve made, I urge you to make this gluten free chocolate CARAMEL cake! It’s so moist and fudgy and will become a new favorite of yours I’m sure 🙂
Gluten Free Chocolate Caramel Cake
- 2½ cups (375 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or any flour blend with xanthan gum)
- 1¼ cups (132 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2¼ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1¾ cups (415 ml) milk, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (180 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 2¾ cup (550 g) granulated sugar
- 1¼ cups (272 g) very hot coffee or boiling water
- ½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
- ¼ cup (60 ml) Lyle's golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
- 4 tbsp (56 g) butter
- 1 can (14 ounces or 394 g) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 3¼ cups (400 g) powdered sugar
- ⅔ cup (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1⅓ sticks (150 g) butter, softened
- ⅓ cup plus 1½ tbsp (100 ml) boiling water
- 2 ounces (60 g) melted dark chocolate
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper (or butter and flour). Spray the parchment and sides of cake pans with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Pour the sugar in and blend briefly. Add the dry ingredients and blend on low until somewhat smooth. Add very hot coffee or boiling water and pulse to combine, careful not to let the hot liquid splash back on you.
- Pour into cake pans and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
- Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely before filling and frosting.
FOR THE CARAMEL
- In a small saucepan, heat the brown sugar, butter, and golden syrup (or corn syrup) on medium low heat until mixture begins to boil. Stirring constantly, boil the mixture until the sugar has melted completely, about 5 minutes. You shouldn't see anymore sugar crystals present when you lift the spoon up.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream and stir to combine. The caramel will bubbly rapidly so be careful. Keep stirring constantly until the caramel begins to boil again. Continue boiling and stirring until the caramel thickens considerably, about 5 more minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour without scraping into a heat resistant container, such as a mason jar. Refrigerate, uncovered, and allow to cool completely before using.
FOR THE FROSTING
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa. Add the softened butter and boiling water and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and blend until smooth.
- Refrigerate frosting for 30 minutes and it will firm up enough to spread.
Putting the Cake Together
- Place one cake layer on a cake plate or cardboard cake round on a turn table and ladle 1/3 of the caramel on top. Spread evenly to the edges. Add another cake layer and repeat the process. Add the final cake layer and refrigerate the stacked cakes for one hour (or freeze for 30 minutes). You may have leftover caramel, depending on how much you put on each layer. This can be thinned with a little heavy cream and spooned over ice cream.
- Remove the cake from the fridge or freezer and spread the fudge frosting all over the top and sides of the cake. Serve cake at room temperature. Cake will keep at room temperature for 3 days. Do not store it in the refrigerator as the caramel will begin to crystallize.
Frosting slightly adapted from EmmasGoodies 1 Minute Chocolate Frosting on YouTube.