birthday boy's salted dark chocolate caramel + pretzel cake

Birthday's are my favorite! And by favorite I mean; whom ever's birthday it is, they deserve to be the highlight of the day, I want to make you your own special cake, buy you the best gifts, and take you to your favorite meal.. so when it's my husband's day, that means I'll be baking the best cake ever just for him, and we get to have that cake all week long just for us!

start the birthday morning with grand central bakery treats.

start the birthday morning with grand central bakery treats.

Since my husband has a massive sweet tooth -he once had me make a chocolate box cake for ourselves to have for snacking, we ate its' entirety in a weekend- I did my research and knew it had to be a chocolate-something-cake. I found bon appetit magazine had a dark chocolate caramel cake with sea salt. Immediately sold. 

salted dark chocolate caramel cake

To jazz up the recipe even more, I added pretzels and an additional layer of dulce de leche, just in case there was some questions regarding if this cake was all chocolate and no caramel.

salted dark chocolate caramel cake

This cake has become a favorite, the salted caramel, pretzel crunch, and additional pour of dulce de leche make it a solid recipe to keep in your archives!





Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly coat three 8-inch diameter cake pans with nonstick spray and line bottoms with parchment paper; spray again. Whisky Flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. 

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs and sugar until pale and doubled in volume, about 4 minutes.  Add mayonnaise and vanilla and beat until just combined. With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with 1 1/3 c. lukewarm water in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Scrape batter into pans, dividing evenly. 

Bake Cakes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks and let cool 20 minutes before turning out onto racks. Let cool completely. 

Frosting and Assembly

Put chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 c. water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Return to medium heat ad cook, stirring, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour caramel over chocolate and stir until mixture is smooth; let cool, stirring occasionally. 

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat chocolate mixture, gradually adding butter until frosting is thickened and smooth, about 1 minute. Chill, stirring occasionally, until stiff enough to spread easily, 20-25 minutes. 

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand and spread 1 cup frosting over to to just beyond edges. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and place second cake layer on top, pressing down gently. Repeat process with 1 cup frosting and 1/4 tsp. salt. Place third layer on top, and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Pour dulce de leche over the top of the cake, sprinkle with crushed pretzels and a pinch of maldon flake salt. 

Serve at room temp. Store covered in a refrigerator. 


non stick vegetable spray

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/4 c. mayonnaise ( not low-fat)

1 tbsp. vanilla extract


12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. light corn syrup

1 c. heavy cream

1 1/2 c. ( 3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 tsp. flaky sea salt

extra virgin olive oil ( for drizzling: optional)

1/4 c. crushed pretzels *optional

1/2 c. dulce de leche * optional

a pinch of maldon flake salt *optional


Original recipe from Bon Appetit with a slight adaptation 

salted dark chocolate and caramel cake