I've had the recipe for this Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake hanging out in my kitchen for years in my family cookbook. I can't believe I never whipped it up! A simple modification to a chocolate box cake mix and a bag of caramels can easily become this outrageously delicious cake with two layers, topped with crunchy pecans and chocolate chips.
It's easy to start with a box cake mix
Bake smarter not harder by using a cake mix. Those little boxes do half the work for you and the cost is not much different than doing it yourself. So keep a couple box cake mixes on hand so you can whip up something delicious in a hot minute.
What comes in a box cake mix?
A typical chocolate cake mix, like Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker or Ghirardelli have mostly the same ingredients:
- Enriched Wheat Flour (all-purpose flour)
- Cocoa Powder
- Baking Soda
- And then there is less than 2% of a long list of ingredients like xantham gum, artificial ingredients, etc.
Which Chocolate box cake mix is best?
According to Taste of Home, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Cake Mix is the perfect balance of moist and tender with just the right lift to make it pleasantly fluffy. The runner up is Betty Crocker's Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix.
I agree with this opinion, as Ghirardelli really knows what they're doing when it comes to anything chocolate. Their brownie mix is by far the best and their cake mix is just as rich and delicious. And my second favorite is also Betty Crocker, partly because of their ingredients (flour first, sugar second) and partly because of the price and flavor.
Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix
My favorite gluten free chocolate cake mix is Pamela's Chocolate Cake Mix. Not only are Pamela's mixes gluten free, but they are dairy free too, which makes them easier on the stomach and just as amazing.
The runner up is Krusteaz Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix. Sweet, tender, easy to find and a reasonable price.
Ingredients for chocolate caramel box cake
- Chocolate Cake Mix — Ghirardelli or similar, see notes above for my recommendation for a gluten free box cake mix.
- Bag of Kraft Caramels — these are usually found in the baking aisle of the grocery store. Caramel baking nibs or sauce will not work the same. The individually wrapped caramels work best.
- Evaporated Milk
- Unsalted Butter — room temperature
- Kosher Salt — optional, but adds that "salted caramel" flavor
- Chopped Pecans — optional but adds a wonderful texture and crunch
- Chocolate Chips — also creates a great cake topping with texture and deepens the chocolate flavor.
How to Make salted caramel sauce
Making salted caramel sauce for this Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake is really easy using a bag of Kraft caramels.
While the cake is in the oven, unwrap caramels and place in saucepan. Add evaporated milk and butter and turn on to medium heat. Heat until fully melted, stirring often to keep from scorching. Do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in salt.
how to get room temperature ingredients — fast!
Eggs — speed up the process of getting eggs to room temperature by dropping them gently into a bowl or cup full of hot water (not boiling) and let sit 5 minutes. Done!
Yogurt or Milk — To get yogurt to room temperature quickly, simple place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 50% power in 15 second intervals, stirring each time.
Butter — the best way to soften butter to room temperature is to get a tall glass and fill with hot water. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes until the glass is hot. Empty the water and turn the glass upside down over the wrapped butter. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. this will gently warm the butter through to the center.
Making a simple Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake
When you bake the first half of this Chocolate Caramel Cake, you want to stop when it's just barely set, and not wiggling in the middle anymore. You just don't want to over bake it. 20 minutes is just about right.
Then when you pour the caramel sauce on top, it soaks into the bottom layer and makes it this ultra-moist caramel cake. Then the rest of the cake batter on the top makes a yummy just-chocolate layer. Isn't that simple?
And I always use pecans for every recipe that calls for nuts, but you can use walnuts or almonds if you prefer. I LOVE the crunch and texture from the nuts and chocolate chips! SO YUM! I know you'll love it as much as I do.
How to store a 9x13 inch cake
Storing a 9x13 inch sheet cake can be as easy as covering leftovers in the dish with foil and keeping at room temperature up to 5 days. Sheet cake can also be covered and refrigerated for up to a week.
More box cake mix recipes
- Lemon Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
- Orange Chocolate Cake — tastes great with gluten free too!
- Yellow Cake Mix Coffee Cake — our most popular recipe!
- Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake — vegan too!
Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake
- 1 box chocolate cake mix Ghirardelli or similar
- 11 oz bag of Kraft caramels
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped pecans optional
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 9x13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Mix cake according to directions on the box. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes until just barely set. Still a little wiggly in the center.
- While cake is baking, place caramels, milk and butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Heat until fully melted, stirring often to keep from scorching. Do not boil. Remove and stir in salt.
- Remove cake from oven and pour caramel mix on top of cake while still hot. Pour remaining cake batter on top of caramel mix. Evenly sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans, if using, on top of cake.
- Place the cake back in the oven until fully baked, 20-25 minutes, until center springs back when touched and edges are set. Remove and allow to cool completely before serving.