For dads who love sweets, there’s nothing quite like a chocolate cake baked from scratch – the pure, rich flavors of dark cocoa beat a box mix any day. Except for the measuring, it’s doesn’t take any longer to create your own masterpiece, the perfect gift of love for Father’s Day.
Add this golden caramel frosting with a flourish of sea salt and you’ve got flavors that sing. Our newest “divas in training,” teen-age twins named Juliet and Olivia, created this masterpiece that we just had to share. And if 13-year-olds can do it, so can you.
Chocolate Cake With Salted Caramel Icing
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
Prepared chocolate sauce, sea salt for finishing
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch-round baking pans.
Stir together sugar, flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add milk, oil, eggs and vanilla; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in boiling water.
Pour batter into pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans to wire rack to cool completely.
Spoon about 1/3 of salted caramel frosting onto center of bottom layer and spread with a knife or spatula to cover evenly. Sit other layer on top; spoon 1/3 of frosting on top and spread. Spread sides with remaining icing. Add a sprinkle of sea salt and drizzle with chocolate sauce, if desired.
Salted Caramel Frosting Recipe
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup half and half or cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup shortening or softened butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
Mix sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat. Stir as sugar dissolves and begins to boil. Increase heat to medium and boil uncovered, without stirring, until sugar turns golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and half and half. (The caramel will foam up and steam.) Add sea salt, and whisk vigorously until caramel begins to thicken. Cool to room temperature.
Transfer caramel to a large mixing bowl. Add shortening or softened butter, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on medium speed, until icing is spreadable.
Diva confession: For perfect cakes, replace baking powder and baking soda every six months to ensure freshness. When measuring, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with the flat edge of a knife – don’t pack flour into cups. Then mix the eggs into the batter one at a time, making sure each is fully mixed before adding the next.