clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
A chocolate cake topped with caramel sauce and toasted pecans on a white cake stand.

Salted Caramel and Pecan Chocolate Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Nguyet Vo
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


A devil’s food cake filled with salted caramel and topped with toasted salted pecans and more caramel sauce.


Units Scale

For the cake

  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the toasted salted pecans

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the caramel sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Maldon’s sea salt flakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the cake

  1. Prep pans. Lightly coat the inside of one 9 by 1-1/2 inch round cake pan with melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper; then lightly coat the parchment paper with more melted butter. Set aside.
  2. Prep oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Melt chocolate. Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute. Stir. Continue heating the chocolate in 1 minute increments and stirring until mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool until needed.
  4. Prep dry ingredients. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  5. Cream butter. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar on medium speed until well blended and creamy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is blended into the butter. Add the vanilla and beat for 2 minutes.
  7. Mix in chocolate. On low speed, mix in the melted chocolate.
  8. Mix in dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture in three additions alternately adding the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until well blended and batter looks smooth.
  9. Pour and bake. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cake cool completely in pan on wire rack.

For the toasted salted pecans

  1. Prep oven and pan. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prep pecans. In a medium bowl, stir the pecans and melted butter together. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the nuts, stirring to coat evenly. Scrape the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer.
  3. Bake. Bake pecans for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove nuts from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the caramel sauce

  1. Heat cream. Put the cream in a small saucepan and warm it over low heat. Adjust the heat to keep the cream warm while you cook the sugar.
  2. Cook sugar. Whisk together sugar and water in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil. Using a basting brush dipped in water, brush the sides of the pan down to dissolve any sugar crystals that form. Boil until the mixture turns a dark golden color, tilting the pan slightly to ensure the sugar cooks evenly, about 10 minutes.
  3. Mix together. When sugar turns dark golden in color, slowly (and carefully) pour the hot cream into the caramelized sugar and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and salt.
  4. Cool. Cool the sauce until it is thick enough to cling to the cake when spread. About 1 1/2 hours.

To assemble the cake

  1. Cut layers. Remove the cake from the pan and transfer it to a serving plate so that the top is up. Use a long serrated knife to level the top of the cake as necessary. Then cut the cake in half horizontally into two even layers. Carefully slip a round cake board or the removable bottom from a tart pan or springform pan between the layers, lift the top layer off, and set it aside.
  2. Prep bottom layer. Pour 3/4 cup of the cooled caramel sauce over the center of the bottom cake layer and spread it evenly.
  3. Prep top layer. Carefully slide the top layer over the caramel filling, centering it over the bottom layer. Spread another 3/4 cup of caramel sauce over the top layer. Spoon the pecans onto the cake, mounding them toward the center. Drizzle caramel sauce on the pecans. You can drizzle all the remaining sauce on the pecans or you can reserve some of it to drizzle on each slice when you serve the cake.


  • The sugar will splatter and bubble up when the hot cream is added to it. The mixture will calm down as you stir it. You can wear oven mitts during this step if you want to protect your hands.
  • Recipe from Chocolate Cakes: 50 Great Cakes for Every Occasion cookbook.
Right Menu Icon