Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

I am deviating a little from my cake-book-bake-through. I made a cake for a baby shower last weekend and decided (after eating several slices) that I needed to post this cake recipe ASAP rather than make another one and wait on posting this. I am sure no one will complain :) Plus rather than baking a cake over the course of the last couple days I cleaned my house and played trains with my three-year-old. All good things. So this cake. Ya. When I asked Hannah what kind of cake she wanted for her shower she said she really liked chocolate and caramel together, I said I can come up with something.... I found lots of yummy sounding ideas in my searchings but this kept drawing me in. The ombre cakes are so popular right now and always look so amazing I had to do it. It had been over a year since I had done one so I wanted to try it again. I was only able to find a couple recipes and one included coffee in the ingredients and I am sure it would be good, but I didn't really want that extra flavor and the other one used almond meal. I knew one person likely coming to the shower is allergic to nuts so that was out. So I knew I had to come up with a recipe on my own. I went back to my 2 favorite recipes, my Vanilla Bean Cake and my Deep, Dark Chocolate. Well I shouldn't say they are mine because I didn't write them, but I adapted them and have used them for so long now I feel like they are mine. The bottom 3 layers are from the Vanilla Bean Cake and the top three layers are from the chocolate. I feel like the colors and the flavors turned out to perfection. I wish I could have gotten a more spectacular photo as it was a pretty spectacular cake (if I do say so myself) but to my surprise it was mostly eaten and this was all that remained. So I am posting what I have for now and I guess I will simply have to make it again for something. Here it is before I ganached it: Ombre cake before ganache My kids thought they were getting a piece to eat....Ha! If you like chocolate and caramel you should make this. It's now in my top 5 favorite cakes of all time. I'm in love. I could eat it all day, breakfast, lunch and dinner. {{{sigh}}} Maybe I should make it again just to eat it. Actually that would probably be a bad idea. Have you ever made an ombre cake? If so what kind? OR if you haven't, what kind would you like to make? Leave a comment - I LOVE hearing about cake :)
Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe By:
Recipe type: Dessert, Cake
Serves: about 20 people

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • ½ pound unsalted butter
  • 1.5 cups vanilla sugar (I make my own which allows for large quantity use:) if you don't have any just use a little extra vanilla extract)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tablespoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cups half and half (1 cup for high altitude)
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa (honestly though I have made it with the hershey’s dark chocolate cocoa powder and they turned out fine)
  • 1½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 10oz milk chocolate chips
  • 10oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2½ cups heavy cream
Preparation Instructions
  1. You will need to make the caramel sauce first as it needs to be fairly cool before you can use it and it takes a long time to cool, several hours. If you can make it the day before that is best. I made mine first thing in the morning and then made the cakes around 3pm.
  2. Put the sugar in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts, this will take a few minutes.
  3. Once the sugar has all melted start adding the butter one piece at a time. Whisk until the butter is all melted between additions.
  4. Wait about 3 seconds and then add the cream {{slowly}} If you add it too fast it will cool the caramel and you will have a hard lump so go very slow. Whisk as you add until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
  5. Let cool in the pan for a bit and then pour, carefully, into a mason jar to store. I usually pass mine through a fine mesh sieve just to make sure there aren't any lumps. Put aside to cool.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (For high altitude I bake at 300˚)
  7. Prepare your 8" cake pans, you will need 3 of them. To prepare your pans, cut out a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. Brush the entire pan with soft butter and then press the parchment down into the pan so it's smooth. Set the pans aside.
  8. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5 to 6 minutes.
  9. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until creamy, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl using a spatula.
  10. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  11. In a small bowl, mix together cream and vanilla.
  12. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture, alternating with cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined.
  13. Divide batter into three even portions, using a kitchen scale is the best way to do this accurately. The first layer is baked as is so go ahead and pour into the pan.
  14. The second layer you want a caramel color so add about ⅓ cup caramel to the batter, then turn into the pan.
  15. The third layer also add ⅓ cup caramel too plus a tablespoon cocoa powder, then turn into its pan.
  16. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 20-25 (30-35 for high altitude) minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan.
  17. Preheat your oven to 350˚. (300˚ for high altitude. Butter and parchment your cake pans again and set aside.
  18. Combine the butter, bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder in the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from over the water and set aside and allow to cool a bit while you combine the other ingredients.
  19. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  20. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy.
  21. Add about ⅓ of the flour mixture, then the sour cream and then the rest of the flour mixture.
  22. Divide the batter into three even portions again and add about 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture to one portion, gauge the color if you want it darker add a touch more. Then turn into it's pan.
  23. For the next layer add a little more of the chocolate (about ¼ cup). Again gauge the color adjust as needed. Turn into it's pan.
  24. Add the rest of the chocolate to the last layer and if it is not dark enough add a little more cocoa powder - I did not need to add any - turn into it's pan.
  25. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  26. Remove from oven and cool in the pans about 20 minutes and then remove to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before stacking.
  27. Place both the milk and the bittersweet chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler and heat and stir until completely melted and smooth. Place the heavy cream in a large bowl and pour the melted chocolate into it.
  28. Whisk until smooth and homogenous. Allow to cool until spreadable and will hold shape. I ended up putting it in the fridge for about 30 minutes after it got to room temperature.
  29. Place the vanilla layer on a cake board and then smooth a layer of caramel over the top. Repeat with remaining layers, being sure to keep them in color order!
  30. Cover with a thick and wonderfully generous layer of chocolate ganache.


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