Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with caramel and ganache

  • Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with caramel

    Yesterday, I woke up really early and made this buttermilk chocolate cake because I knew the kind of day I was going to have.

    Often, I wish I could hire my own personal tech team.  I dream about the hours I could save, the frustration and headache I could avoid.  But alas, The Little Epicurean is a company of one (and two pups).  Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having A LOT of trouble with my blog email.  One day I can’t receive emails and then another day, I can’t send out emails.  I’ve finally had enough and decided to migrate my email to Google Apps for Work.

    I spent the better of the day (some 5 hours!) updating the backend of my blog.  You know, the not-so-fun part about having a blog (without a staff or tech team).  Coming up with ideas, tasting and photographing food, and sharing recipes with you all– that’s the FUN part.  Finding and redirecting broken links, researching about which plug-ins to have/update/delete, confronting sites and business that have stolen your photos/recipes– well, those are definitely the BAD parts.

    Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

    During all this mess, the two pups were going crazy because they could see the neighborhood kids playing in the park across from our window.  Mind you, during all the pup’s wining and crying I was on the phone with Google Support trying to unravel the situation I got myself into.

    I wanted to pull my hair out.  I stress out (easily).  Although I’d like to think I’m pretty cool, calm, and collected- Alex, my brother, and my parents know otherwise.  I forget to breathe, my shoulders get really tense and then my brain goes bonkers.  Eventually, I completed everything I sought out do to.  And luckily, I had this chocolate cake waiting for me.

    Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with caramel

    Victory never tasted so sweet.  Four thin layers of buttermilk chocolate cake soaked in caramel sauce then covered with dark chocolate ganache and finished with more caramel and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Yes, that’s how accomplishment is supposed to taste- rich, decadent, and oh so lovely.

    Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with caramel

    It’s kind of difficult to see, but the cake is made up of four layers. To prevent the chocolate cake from drying out, there’s about two tablespoons of caramel sauce soaked between the layers.  That same caramel is then poured over the edges of the ganache enrobed cake.  Just be careful not to pour too much caramel (like me).  Caramel runs and gets quite messy.

    Moral of the story, when dealing with serious/boring/necessary issues, be sure to have chocolate waiting in the wings.

    Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with caramel and ganache

    Yield: 6-inch cake


    • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 large egg white
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup buttermilk

    Chocolate Ganache:

    • 5 oz dark chocolate (72%), roughly chopped*
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream

    Caramel Sauce:**

    • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
    • 1 tsp fine sea salt


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter two 6-inch cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.  Set aside.
    2. Sift together cake flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.  Set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed.  Slowly add sugar.  Continue to mix, scraping down bowl as needed to ensure throughout creaming.  Add eggs one at time, mixing on low speed.  Add egg white and vanilla extract.
    4. Add 1/3 of dry flour mixture and mix on low speed.  Add 1/2 of buttermilk and mix until incorporated.  Follow with another 1/3 of flour, then remaining buttermilk.  Finish with last 1/3 of flour mixture.  Mix on low speed until there are no longer any dry streaks of flour.
    5. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Unmold the cake and set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
    6. Once cake is cooled, slice each cake into two equal slices.  To build the cake, place one layer on a serving platter.  Pour between 1 1/2 tablespoon to 2 tablespoons of caramel over the layer.  Spread evenly.  Place another cake layer on top and repeat until you have the fourth cake layer on top.  Spread thickened chocolate ganache all over the cake.  Pour remaining caramel sauce over the edges of the cake.  Sprinkle Maldon sea salt over caramel, as desired.

    Chocolate Ganache:  Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl.  Bring heavy cream to a simmer.  Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let sit for 3 minutes.  Remove plastic wrap and stir ganache until homogenous.  Cover with plastic wrap, allowing plastic wrap to touch chocolate to prevent condensation.  Every 30 minutes, stir ganache until it has thickened to frosting consistency (about 2 hours).

    Caramel Sauce: Melt sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pot on high heat.  Lower heat and allow sugar syrup to color.  Remove from heat once syrup is aromatic and amber in color.  Warm up heavy cream in the microwave for 45 seconds.  Add about 1/3 of warm cream to sugar syrup and whisk.  BE CAREFUL as the mixture will bubble and steam.  Add the remaining warm cream and whisk until mixture has slightly cooled.  Add butter and salt.  Whisk until mixture is homogenized.  Let cool to room temperature.  Once cooled, sauce will thicken.  To speed up the process, you can also place caramel in the fridge to cool faster.

    *Use good quality chocolate, not chocolate chips or chocolate candy bars.

    **Good quality store-bought caramel sauce is a perfect alternative.

    The Little Epicurean

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    This cake is my dream cake!!!

    Judy P

    Oh my I can feel my waistband tighten as I read the recipe. It looks so delicious….all my favorite flavors ! I bet if I made it, I would hide it in a closet and eat the whole thing in 4 hours…..that’s even with trying to pace myself. It’s beautiful.

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Thank you so much Judy! If you make it, invite me over so I can help you finish it! :)

    Tina @ Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

    This cake looks INSANELY delicious, girl!

    Nazia @ Your Sunny Side Up

    Would it be totally wrong if I ate the entire thing on my own? Because I really can’t imagine sharing such a gorgeous cake!

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Absolutely not! (As long as you make another cake to share with others.) Thanks Nazia!

    Lokness @ The Missing Lokness

    You always make some of the most beautiful cakes! This is stunning! I am sure all the stress will go away after a slice of this incredibly rich chocolate cake. Glad you have figured out the email thing. ;)

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Aw, thank you SO much!! Chocolate and a glass of red wine does wonders for my stress ;)


    Oh my gosh computer/techie problems are the worst. They make me feel so dumb. I get super stressed about them. Cake seems like a pretty good way to make you feel better! This looks FAB!

      Maryanne Cabrera

      YES they are the worst! I’m hoping to learn more this year so I can stay on top the game! Thank you Liz!! :)

    katie @ butterlust

    I hear ya, sista! Blog/computer woes are my nemesis and one of the (more than I’m willing to admit) things that drive me to frustrated tears. Good thing there’s chocolate cake to heal life’s little nuisances! And THIS one is beyond gorgeous! I so want to reach through the screen and stick my finger in that caramel!!!

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Oh, I am quite familiar with tears of frustration. I hate no understanding how to do something. It drives me crazy and I spent too much time trying to figure it out!

      Thank you! I wish I could share a slice with you!


    Oh, this cake is beautiful! I’m drooling just looking at it, and I already ate dinner (and dessert!).

    Computer problems make me go nuts too – but if I had this chocolate cake every time I had computer problems, I may just start to look forward to a few hiccups here and there ;)

    Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    Wow… if this tastes even an EIGHT as good as it looks then it would still be the most amazing cake ever. Stunning presentation and photos! Love the flavors :)


    Ugh, I do feel your pain. I was just telling a friend of mine that I wish I could afford to hire a “team”. At least you had this cake waiting for you afterwards. I’m sure each bite was a soothing piece of relaxation.

    Sarah | Broma Bakery

    Saw this on your IG and started drooling everywhere. It’s absolutely gorgeous, Maryanne! Good luck with the blog stuff. It can be sooo frustrating at times! Once, my site wasn’t working on our internet– like literally our wifi. It worked on other wifis, and it worked for my sister across the country. Just not our wifi. After 4 hours on the phone between comcast and go daddy (they each blamed the other one), it finally got resolved. But MAN was it frustrating.


    WOW! This looks so good!! I love love LOVE chocolate and caramel! Seriously such an amazing combo! :) YUM! …and your blog looks amazing! Even though you it’s the inside work… it looks great!

    Connie @ Sprig and Flours

    What a beauty! That is one of the prettiest chocolate cakes I have ever seen! The innards of that cake is just perfect.

    I’m so sorry about all the trouble you have been having with the tech side of your blog. I am so lucky to have my boyfriend, who, to my lucky stars, studied computer science in college. I wouldn’t have been able to get my blog off the ground if it weren’t for him!

    And what great wisdom — always have chocolate cake around for those stressful days! *noted!

    Thalia @ butter and brioche

    Now this is one decadent and beautiful cake! You definitely can cut me a thick slice right now..

    June Burns

    “Moral of the story, when dealing with serious/boring/necessary issues, be sure to have chocolate waiting in the wings.”

    *raises palms* Amen!

    Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

    Girl – I FEEL for you. Also, how come whenever you’re trying to get important things done on the back end of the blog, the internet TAKES SO LONG?

    I love the drippy caramel down the sides of this cake. I’d stress eat the heck out of that cake.


    This cake is absolutely beautiful. Probably a good thing you made this before getting into the tech issues. ;)


    This cake looks divine! Do you think the recipe would work for cupcakes?