Salted Caramel and Brownie Layer Cake

Layers of rich chocolate brownie, and light caramel sponge, filled with a salted caramel buttercream, and covered in a dark ganache. Finished off with a stack of little fudgy brownie squares, and a generous pour of salted caramel sauce. 

 Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 5 ::

Growing up in a little village on the Surrey/Hampshire border, I’m a Southern girl at heart. Born and bred in the home counties, home is the rolling of the Surrey hills, the cliffs and downs of the South coast, and the cobbled streets of Guildford, Winchester and Farnham. Andy, on the other hand, brought up in Hull, is a Yorkshire lad through and through. For him its the sight of the Humber Bridge that signifies home, York is the city that pulls on his heart strings, and an unexplained rivalry with Lancashire is in his blood.

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 2 ::

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 4 ::

You wouldn’t think such a little country could be so divided, and yet it is. Important debates reign. The proper pronunciation of  ‘bath’ and ‘grass’ for example (its obviously bar-th, incase you were wondering!), and what to call various bakery products. In the early days of our relationship Andy confused me with the notion of bread cakes. Far less exciting than they sound, they are just your humble bread roll. Then he had me completely stumped with pikelets, something we don’t have in the South. Although, as it happens, it turns out we do, its just we call them crumpets (clearly their proper name!). The fish and chip shop order is another baffling area when I’m up North. A mysterious item called a pattie is a necessary order. This, it turns out, is a disc of deep fried mash potato. Deep fried potato product to go alongside your deep fried potato product, the carb lover’s dream!

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 7 ::

On a more practical level, now we’re back in the UK, this means families at opposite ends of the country, and many a trip up and down the M1. Last week Andy disappeared back up to the motherland, leaving me all alone down South. Unsupervised I have a tendency to head into the kitchen, and bake up ridiculous things we really don’t need. Recipes like this layer cake. I didn’t bake it for any particular celebration, it wasn’t anybodies birthday, there weren’t anniversaries to celebrate, no-one was getting married. No, I just fancied making it and, as no-one was there to be the voice of reason, I did.

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 6 ::

Two layers of thick, decadent brownie are stacked up with a light, caramel sponge. They’re filled with a salted caramel buttercream, and then covered with my favourite dark chocolate ganache.

The brownie is made with cocoa powder, sugar and lots of butter, and is fudgy and rich. Its a little more cakey than my regular brownies as a little more structure was needed to support the layers of the cake. It tastes divine with the salted caramel buttercream. Dark chocolate and salted caramel, a perfect combination.

I think though, the thing I love most about this cake, are the salted caramel drizzled brownies stacked up on top. A slice of cake AND a brownie all in one. No need to choose. The dream!

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake ::


– the caramel sauce and the ganache take a little time to cool and set up. Bear this in mind when making your cake. You may wish to make the caramel sauce and ganache early in the process so they have plenty of time to cool.  

– I used about half a teaspoon good quality flaked sea salt in my caramel sauce. Adjust this to your taste. Start with a generous pinch, taste, and add more as required. Its far easier to add more than to take away excess salt.

– the buttercream is made with the salted caramel sauce. Take one and a half tablespoons of the sauce to mix into the buttercream, and reserve the rest for the top of the cake. 


Salted Caramel and Brownie Layer Cake


for the brownies 

150g cocoa powder

370g unsalted butter

500g caster sugar

6 medium eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g self raising flour


for the caramel cake 

170g unsalted butter

85g dark brown sugar

85g caster sugar

3 tablespoons golden syrup

3 medium eggs

170g self raising flour

2 tablespoons milk


for the salted caramel sauce 

125g caster sugar

100ml water

2 tablespoons golden syrup

25g unsalted butter

150ml double cream

1/2 teaspoon good quality flaked sea salt (see note)


for the buttercream

250g butter

330g icing sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1 1/2 tablespoons caramel sauce


for the ganache 

165ml double cream

200g dark chocolate

dark chocolate chips, to decorate



Begin by making the brownie layers.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / 350F.

Grease and line 2 20cm round tins, and one 2lb loaf tin.

Put the cocoa powder, butter and caster sugar in a large pan. Heat together over a low heat, stirring regularly, until the butter and sugar are all melted together. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. Finally, fold through the flour until all the ingredients are just combined.

Put about 260g of batter into each of the round tins. Pour the remaining batter into the loaf tin.

Put into your pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until firm on the top, and starting to pull away from the edge of the tin.

Cool for about 15 minutes in the tins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, cut the brownie cooked into the loaf tin into 10 small squares, these will be used to top your cake.

Next, make the caramel cake.

Wash, dry and re line your 20cm round tins.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Stir through the golden syrup.

Add one of the eggs, along with a tablespoon of flour and mix.

Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Fold in the remainder of the flour, followed by the milk.

Divide the batter between the 2 tins.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

To make your caramel, heat the sugar, water and golden syrup in a heavy based pan. Bring it to the boil and let everything bubble away until all of the sugar has melted, much of the water has evaporated, and its just turning a deep, rich amber colour. Its fine to stir the mixture occasionally if you think it might be sticking to the pan. Remove from the heat, and melt in the butter. Whisk in the double cream. Add the salt according to taste. I used about half a teaspoon, but start with less, taste the caramel (carefully – its hot!) and add more if needed. If the sugar has solidified, pop the pan back on the heat to melt again. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

To make your buttercream, cream together the butter and sugar. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Sift in the icing sugar and beat to combine. Fold in the milk. Stir through one and half tablespoons of your cooled caramel sauce. Set aside.

To make the ganache, break the chocolate into very fine pieces in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and pour over the dark chocolate. Stir together until all the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool for about 2 hours until it has reached a spreadable constancy.

Construct the cake. Begin by placing a layer of brownie cake onto your cake stand or plate. Cover with buttercream, then top with a layer of caramel cake. Repeat.

Cover the entire cake in a crumb coat of buttercream. Put in the fridge to chill for about half an hour.

Cover with ganache.

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the cooled caramel sauce onto the top of the cake. Reserve a small amount to drizzle over the brownies.

Pile the brownies on top of the caramel, then drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce.

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  1. Love The Cakes, But my sugar levels will be to the roof…..LOL…

  2. Wow – looks amazing, and I will definitely be making it. Just one question … since you didn’t make it for anyone, or any specific occasion, did you eat it all yourself? (I am not judging!). 🙂

    • Thanks Tracy! Haha, that is a good question! Well, I gave it a good stab, but even such a chocoholic like me couldn’t quite get through it all myself. You might be relieved to know I sliced it up and gave it away to friends! x

  3. Omg! This looks absolutely amazing 🙂 q

  4. Wow! This looks incredible!

  5. Who needs a voice of reason when the cake looks this incredible!

  6. Pikelets made it as far as the midlands, yet they’re crumpets in Yorkshire! Weirdly we had the pikelet/crumpet debate this morning with some friends!
    Cake looks amazing, of course! 😉

  7. Wow, that’s a whopper!

    On another note – a pikelet is similar to a crumpet, but not the same. It is thinner, like a holey pancake! Sorry – my own northern roots coming out there! However I am completely with you on the pronunciation of bath and grass. I am quite southern now. 🙂 x

    • Giant cakes are my favourite thing to make at the moment, they’re just so satisfying! Not the most practical thing for my bank balance or waist line though! Haha, glad you’re in agreement with the important matters! :-p xx

  8. Karey barnshaw says:

    Hi I’m making this today, Just a quick question and I’m probably being silly, the sauce is salted caramel sauce but you don’t add any salt so where does the salty taste come from.

    • Oops, have I left that out the recipe?! Sorry, I’ll go and amend that now! You need to add about half a teaspoon of flaked sea salt (but adjust the amount to your taste, it’s best to start with less and add more if needed) to the caramel sauce after the butter and cream. Thanks so much for pointing that out! 🙂 Jennie x

  9. WOW!! This is AMAZING- fabulous!! dangerous…. I need an occasion to make this one- bookmarking!!

  10. lucyparissi says:

    This cake is epic! It should come with a health and drool warning! Incredible

  11. Rebecca says:

    I made this epic cake for my friends 40th yesterday. It’s incredibly delicious and everyone raved about it!! Such an indulgent recipe but perfect for a special occasion. I made the sauce, buttercream and ganache in advance so it didn’t make it too stressful. Well done, great recipe! Also, we live in Farnham!!! 🙂

  12. I cant make the caramel set, what have i done wrong?

  13. Maisiemint says:

    This cake is absolutely wonderful and totally worth the marathon make and build process involved. It’s the nearest thing I can find to Costa Coffee’s Shimmer Cake which was a Christmas-only menu item and which we’ve been desperate for ever since.
    On the pikelet debate, I grew up in Nottingham and what I call pikelets are what the South of England and commercial bakers call crumpets. I think the thinner, pancake like pikelets are a West Midlands speciality.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Planning to make this incredible looking cake for a friends birthday. Questions: can i substitute almond milk for scant amount of milk in this recipe. I can’t find flaked sea salt, will ordinary sea salt do the trick? Also I have 9 inch cake pans yours are 8 inch converted, any real difference except time? Is there an easy way to convert to non-metric (US) measures?

    • Hi Elizabeth 🙂 I’ve not made the cake with almond milk, but I’ve used it in other bakes I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. No problem with the pans, just keep an eye on the cakes as they bake as, like you say, the timing will be a little different. You’ll also find the finished cake is not quite as tall. I’m not very good myself at converting recipes, if I have to I use a conversion chart like this one –
      Hope the cake turns out well!
      Jennie x

      • /var/folders/6p/b_6w2xgs51x5t0z90x3dxzyh0000gn/T/

        Made it!!! I had to buy milk for another baking project so i didn’t have to use almond milk and the conversion was easier than I imagined. Thank you so much for this incredible recipe, an absolute show stopper, the birthday boy was delighted! The cake itself tasted as awesome as it looked, very simple but elegantly decorated, dripping in luscious caramel. The only problem I had was the caramel, i botched two batches and had to try a different recipe. I think i didn’t cook it long enough see when i put in the cream it just turned to a watery consistency, what do you think might have happened?

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