Prep 40 mins
Cook 40 mins
Adapted from Grandmother's Kitchen
FOR THE CAKE
- unsalted butter, room temperature, for pans
- 709.77 ml all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 709.77 ml granulated sugar
- 354.88 ml unsweetened dutch cocoa
- 14.79 ml baking soda
- 7.39 ml baking powder
- coarse salt
- 4 large eggs
- 354.88 ml low-fat buttermilk
- 118.29 ml plus 2 tablespoons safflower oil
- 9.85 ml pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CARAMEL
- 946.36 ml granulated sugar
- 59.14 ml light corn syrup
- 473.18 ml heavy cream
- coarse salt
- 236.59 ml cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
FOR THE FROSTING
- 59.14 ml plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 236.59 ml unsalted butter, room temperature
- 118.29 ml confectioners' sugar
- coarse salt
- 453.59 g semisweet chocolate, chopped, melted, and cooled
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Make the cake: Butter three 9-inch round cake pans, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
- Sift flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons course salt into the bowl of a mixer.
- Beat on low speed until just combined.
- Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla.
- Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Divide batter among pans.
- Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.
- Make the caramel: Combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over high heat.
- Cook, without stirring, until mixture is dark amber, about 14 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and carefully pour in cream (mixture will spatter); stir until smooth.
- Return to heat, and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 238 degrees, about 2 minutes.
- Pour caramel into a medium bowl, stir in 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and let cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting: Whisk together cocoa and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water in a bowl until cocoa dissolves.
- Beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and a generous pinch of coarse salt in a clean bowl with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
- Gradually beat in melted chocolate and then cocoa mixture until combined.
- Let stand for 30 minutes before using.
- Trim tops of cakes using a serrated knife to create a level surface.
- Cut each in half horizontally to form 2 layers.
- Transfer 1 layer to a serving platter, and spread 3/4 cup caramel over top.
- Top with another cake layer, and repeat with remaining caramel and cake layers, leaving top uncovered.
- Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
- Frost top and sides of cake in a swirling motion.