One thing I learned when I was selling gourmet doughnuts I had made by the hundreds was that once people heard the words ‘Salted Caramel’ they didn’t want to hear anything else. In fact, I would usually be interrupted by “Oooooooooo, Salted Caramel!” and I would always sell out of that flavour first. I also learned that combining it with chocolate is a win every time, especially in the case of this recipe:
(It’s Bourbon Chocolate Cake topped with my Salted Caramel Sauce, btw. Read below about why they are both amazing and belong together)
What makes this salted caramel the best, in my opinion – besides the fact that it is very simple to make (no candy thermometer needed, no whisking in butter piece by piece) is its incredible depth of flavour which is so perfectly balanced. The addition of lemon juice brightens the caramel and makes it so much more than just salty and sweet. This sauce takes less than 10 minutes to make and will keep for weeks in the fridge, so I highly recommend making a batch and having it around to, oh, I don’t know, drizzle over ice cream, stir into your coffee, add to cheesecakes, add to pancakes, dip apple slices into, dip a spoon into. No judgement. I’ve done (or thought about doing) all of these things. But how about glazing this Bourbon Chocolate Cake with it?
I love this Bourbon Choc0late Cake recipe because it’s made all by hand with a whisk (easy peasy!) and has the addition of espresso powder to the batter which really enhances the chocolate flavour. Most of the bourbon does end up cooking off so the alcohol flavour is subtle, but what’s left lends a complexity to the cake that makes it taste incredible.
This is one of those chocolate cake recipes that is so dense, so dark, and so perfectly textured that it really is delicious on its own, in case you decide you don’t need Salted Caramel Sauce in your life. (Who are you? We certainly have never met!) If you make the cake today you’ll have it to enjoy all weekend, as the flavour gets even better after a day or two.
Two simple recipes combine for a match made in dessert heaven.
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 Tsp Light Corn Syrup
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tsp Lemon Juice
- 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Whipping Cream
- 3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, softened
- 1 Cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tbsp Instant Espresso Powder combined with 1 1/2 Cups Hot Water
- 1/2 Cup Bourbon or Whiskey
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (2 Sticks) cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and corn syrup. Make sure there are no sugar granules clinging to the inside of the pot - use a pastry brush dipped in water (not the water from the pot) to brush them away. Place pot over high heat and bring to a boil - DO NOT STIR. Cook until caramel coloured, about 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the salt, lemon juice, and vanilla in a small vessel.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice mixture carefully (it will bubble furiously), then immediately stream in the cream while continuing to whisk, pouring slowly but steadily. If cream seizes, simply place the pot back over medium low heat and whisk until smooth.
- Transfer to a small container to cool. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Preheat oven to 325. Butter inside of 10" bundt pan completely, then dust with cocoa powder, knocking out the excess.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat stir espresso and water mixture with bourbon, butter, and cocoa powder, whisking until butter is melted. Remove from heat, then whisk in sugar until dissolved, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl to cool, about 5 minutes.
- While chocolate mixture cools, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together eggs and vanilla in a small bowl, then whisk into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Add flour mixture and whisk just until combined (batter will be thin and bubbly). Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours. Loosen cake from pan using tip of a dinner knife, then invert rack over pan and gently turn cake out onto rack.
Keep an eye on your boiling sugar - it can go from beautiful amber to black and burnt in a matter of seconds. Once you see the first signs of caramel colour, remove from heat and proceed with the recipe.