Caramel fig chocolate cake is a simple yet elegant cake perfect for all sorts of occasions. Four layers of dark chocolate cake sandwiched with fig jam, frosted with caramel buttercream, and topped with salted caramel drizzle and sliced fresh figs.
The BER months are here! The BER months are here! No matter how old I get, I’ll always get excited for what my dad and I fondly call the BER months (SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, DecemBER.)
Once the BER months hit, it’s time to sing and dance, be merry, and smile until your cheeks hurt. (It’s also when my stomach losses control and eats all the cookies, cakes, and hot chocolate in sight.)
Caramel Fig Chocolate Cake
If figs were in season all year long, I’d make this caramel fig chocolate cake at least once a month.
Dark chocolate cake, fig jam, and caramel Swiss buttercream. When eaten together, these flavors are so magical and delicious.
Chocolate Cake Layers
This recipe makes two 6-inch chocolate cake rounds. The two cakes are split in half to create a total of four layers.
The chocolate cake gets its flavor from unsweetened cocoa powder and instant espresso powder. You may use natural cocoa powder or Dutch processed cocoa powder.
Natural cocoa powder will result in a lighter colored cake. Dutch processed cocoa creates a richer, darker chocolate colored cake.
I have tested the recipe using both cocoa powders. Honestly, I couldn’t taste the difference. The color of the cake layers was the most significant difference.
I highly recommend the fleur de sel caramel sauce (salted caramel) from Trader Joe’s. That’s the caramel I used for this recipe.
Stonewall Kitchen sea salt caramel sauce is another great option.
And of course, homemade caramel sauce is the way to go when you have extra time!
The addition of instant espresso powder in the batter greatly enhances the chocolate cake by highlighting the rich cocoa flavors of the cake. The slightly bitter yet sweet and silky buttercream just melts in your mouth. And my favorite component of this cake is the fig jam.
You can find fig jam at speciality stores and well-stocked supermarkets. Or, you can easily make a homemade version. Love and Olive Oil has a great fig jam recipe here.
Make Cake Components Ahead of Time
- Bake the chocolate cake in advance. Cool cake to room temperature then tightly wrap in plastic wrap.
- Keep cake in the freezer for up to two weeks.
- To defrost frozen cake, allow to thaw at room temperature overnight.
- Prepare buttercream according to recipe instructions. Store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.
- Take buttercream out of the fridge. Let sit at room temperature for several hours until softened.
- Revitalized buttercream using a sturdy whisk or beat with a paddle attachment in stand mixer until smooth, light, and fluffy.
- Buttercream may also be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month. Defrost at room temperature overnight. Whisk once softened to revitalize.
Caramel Fig Chocolate Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, room temp
Caramel Swiss Buttercream:
- 6 large egg whites, (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups (1 pound) unsalted butter, room temp
- 3 Tablespoons salted caramel sauce*, homemade or store-bouht
- fig jam
- salted caramel sauce
- fresh figs
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together coconut oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined. On low speed, alternate adding dry flour mixture and milk. Add about 1/3 of flour mixture, followed with half of the milk. Add another 1/3 of flour and remaining milk. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Add sour cream and remaining flour. Mix until combined and there are no longer any streaks of dry flour.
- Divide batter between prepared cake pans. Level batter. Bake for 28-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 3-5 minutes before unmolding. Allow cakes to cool to room temperature on wire rack.
Caramel Swiss Buttercream:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler. Make sure simmering water does not touch the bowl. Whisk sugar egg mixture until it reaches a temperature of 160ºF. Alternatively, if you don’t have a thermometer, heat until all the sugar has melted. You can test test by dipping a finger into the warm mixture and rubbing it between your fingers. The mixture should be smooth. You should not be able to feel the granules of sugar.
- Return bowl to the stand mixer. With a whisk attachment, beat mixture at medium speed until it cools to room temperature. Reduce speed to low and add butter one tablespoon at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, add caramel. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Once cake is cooled, slice each cake into two equal layers. To build the cake, place one layer on a serving platter or cake turntable. Spread a layer of fig jam over cake. Spread a layer of caramel buttercream. Place another cake layer and repeat until you have the fourth cake layer on top. Spread a thin layer of buttercream around the sides of the cake to seal in the crumbs (crumb coat). Place in the fridge and allow to chill for 15 minutes to set the buttercream.
- Drizzle caramel sauce over the edges of the cake. Top cake with sliced figs. Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving.
- I recommend the caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s.
- You can bake the chocolate cake in advance. Cool cake to room temperature then tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Keep cake in the freezer for up to two weeks. To defrost frozen cake, allow to thaw at room temperature overnight.