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.
Caramel Fig Chocolate Cake
If chocolate and figs were humans, I think they’d be best friends.
They just get along so well together. Proof: fig fudge popsicles & caramelized fig and chocolate chunk ice cream.
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 (260 g)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (40 g)
- 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder (7 g_
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup coconut oil* (113 g)
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar (250 g)
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup whole milk (150 g) room temp
- 1 cup sour cream (227 g) room temp
Caramel Swiss Buttercream:
- 6 large egg whites, (210 g), about ¾ cup
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (250 g)
- 2 cups unsalted butter, (452 g) room temp
- 3 Tablespoons salted caramel sauce*, homemade or store-bought
- 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.
- Use either refined or unrefined coconut oil. Or sub in neutral flavored oil such as vegetable oil or grapeseed oil.
- Keep in mind: unrefined or virgin coconut oil will have a milk coconut flavor.
- 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.
Reader Questions and Reviews
I’m convinced that figs are the world’s prettiest fruit. Seriously gorgeous!
I agree, figs are the best! Thank you!
OMG!! What an absolutely stunning cake!!
Those figs are beautiful. I am loving the naked cake look. This looks amazing!
Thank you! I hope to make more naked cakes!
The BER months – I love that!! My favorite season too! This cake is stunning! I adore this type of styling for cakes. Also, figs and chocolate – swoon!
Thank you Anna! I can’t get enough of figs and chocolate:)
The BER months are my favorites, too!
And this cake looks absolutely amazing! Cannot wait to try it!
Yay for the BER months! Thank you! :)
Hello does the coconut oil need to be melted or solid?
This sounds like it will now be my favorite cake in the world! I LOVE figs and how beautiful is this?! Just amazing! Congrats on your upcoming wedding! Very exciting!
Thank you!! I think it’s my favorite cake of 2016! :)
Can I be your best friend & can you bake this for me for my birthday (it was 9 days ago)? lol! ;) This is a gorgeous cake! And congrats on the upcoming nuptials!
Thanks Carrie! :)
Oh my goodness, that cake is simply breathtaking!
Such a perfect looking cake!!
I too love BER months! I also love the look of the cake, beautiful shots.
Quick question – in the cake recipe you talk about adding milk. There is no milk in the cake ingredients though. Was there an amendment of some sort?
Thanks for catching that! It’s 2/3 cup whole milk.
Directions say to use two 6-inch cake pans but photo shows four layers. I would love to make the four layers. How would I do that using this recipe?
Under assembly directions: the two cakes are sliced in half, resulting with 4 layers total.
This looks amazing! I want to make this for a wedding. How many servings do you think this would yield? The wedding will have 26 people. Any advice on scaling the portions up?
I made this cake today and the batter was delicious but there is no way this can fit into only two 6″ cake pans. More like 4
I used two 6-inch round cake pans (3-inch depth). Then, I sliced each cake into two layers to end up with a total of four layers.
This is a question regarding the Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream used in your Caramel Fig Chocolate Cake. I made my own Salted Caramel sauce which is pretty tasty but found I needed way more caramel than 3 Tablespoons to get the flavor to come through when making your buttercream recipe. The recipe I used for the Salted Caramel has a pretty intense caramel flavor but ended up using about 8 Tbs.. It’s somewhat risky to add too much of any flavoring as it ends up diluting the buttercream. So I’m wondering if the 3 Tbs in the recipe was correct?
Hi Pam! Yes, the 3 tablespoons of caramel in the buttercream is correct. I used store-bought caramel (from Trader Joe’s) which tends to be thicker and sweeter than homemade caramel.
I just found this recipe and I love figs, chocolate and especially caramel. However, I don’t own 6″ cake pans. Do you think I can use 2 8″ pans?
Yes, you can use two 8-inch cake pans. However, you will have to reduce the cooking time to prevent overcooking the cake.
Hi, I am making this beautiful cake for my birthday! I’ve made the caramel sauce in advance and I was wondering if you can make the buttercream in advance too (2 days in advance). For the cake I only have 8″ fairly shallow tins – do you think this could potentially work with 3 x 8″ cakes? Thanks for the recipe!
Happy upcoming birthday! The cake batter can baked in two 8-inch cake pans. Adjust baking time by 5-10 minutes less. I suggest making the buttercream a day in advance. Any longer, and you risk the buttercream absorbing unwanted flavors from the fridge.
This looks amazing. I’ve never had a fig but was thinking of trying this. My one concern is the sweetness level- between caramel buttercream and jam filling, would you say it’s fairly sweet? Thank you!
It’s a dessert, it will be inherently sweet. However, it is not cloying sweet. The use of unsweetened cocoa powder and espresso powder balances out the sweetness of the chocolate cake. I use a minimal amount of buttercream to keep the cake balanced.
Well, I used two 6” pans, there was to much batter. And, my fault I guess, I shouldn’t have used it all, it turned into a mess. Thank goodness I put a tray under the cake pans. I liked the flavour of some I tasted before I tossed it out. I may try it again, have to toss some or go to a 3 rd 6” pan
This was the most wonderful cake. The best cake I’ve ever made in fact! We had it for my dad’s 76th birthday and it was inhaled! Absolutely delicious and thank you for such a beautiful looking cake!
Thank you for making this recipe! I’m so happy to hear you and the family enjoyed it. Hope your dad had a wonderful birthday!