Yep, delicious Chocolate Spice Cake is a rich and fluffy chocolate cake full of fall spices! A moist chocolate cake covered in a salted caramel buttercream, then topped with fresh sliced figs. Every year I like to make a ‘hello fall’ cake, so here we go again, but this time with chocolate!
My favorite cakes are layer cakes, because of the frosting, duh! I made several batches of Salted Caramel Sauce last week and have been putting caramel on everything. So, naturally it made its way into my buttercream. Not gonna lie, this cake is pretty damn tasty!
Let’s start with what makes this moist chocolate spice cake so flavorful. Well, when you combine the richness of dark brown sugar, cocoa, and espresso with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves its always gonna be a win win. When that first bite hits your mouth you get a chocolatey coffee taste, then the spices roll in to tickle the palate. Not to forget the creamy caramel that ties it all together into one fantastic fall dessert.
Tips for Chocolate Spice Cake
- Prepare two 8 inch pans with flour and butter, then line the bottom with parchment paper.
- For the fluffiest texture make sure to use the Cake Flour, don’t substitute.
- Dark brown sugar brings a richer depth of flavor to chocolate. Great combo with the espresso and caramel. So, don’t swap it out:)
- Make your Salted Caramel Sauce the day before.
- I use two different types of butter in this recipe. Unsalted for the cake and Salted for the buttercream. I prefer to control the level of salt in my recipes and always use unsalted. But, sweet American Buttercream is better with unsalted butter!
- Combine the cocoa, warm coffee, and melted butter together with the espresso powder for a creamy chocolatey pour in.
- Make sure to alternate between flour mixture and sour cream as you mix them into the batter.
- These layers bake pretty level. But, if you have a slight dome wrap your cooled cakes in plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes before leveling. The cold cakes are easier to level and will tear less.
- I also suggest purchasing even bake cake strips to help with more level cake layers. These Evenbake Strips by Regency work great!
- Make your caramel buttercream while your cakes are cooling.
- You can also make your cake layers the day before, wrap cooled layers in plastic wrap and store in fridge until ready to assemble the next day.
- Make buttercream the same day you assemble.
- Store your cake in an air tight container at room temp for 4-5 days.
- You can also keep cake in the fridge, then to revive a slice, just warm slightly to bring back softness in frosting and moisture to cake.
Chocolate Spice Cake
Chocolate Spice Cake Layers
- 2 ¼ Cups (282 grams) cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter browned
- 6 tablespoons neutral oil
- ¾ cup (64 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- ½ cup (125 ml) dark roast brewed coffee warm
- 1 ½ cups (330 grams) dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks room temperature
- ½ cup (125 ml) sour cream room temperature
- 8 Tbsp Salted Caramel Sauce *visit link in notes
- 16 Tbsp Unsalted Butter softened
- 3 Tbsp Whole Milk
- 4-5 Cups (480-600 grams) Powdered Sugar
Chocolate Spice Cake Layers
- Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C) and prepare two 8 inch round cake pans with a light coating of non-stick baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and wrap the outside of the pans with 'even-bake' strips if applicable.
- In a large bowl, hand whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and espresso powder. Set aside.
- Stir together the sifted cocoa powder, coffee, cooled brown butter, and oil with a spatula until smooth.
- Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and on low speed add the dark brown sugar and mix until incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl as needed.
- Mix in the eggs and egg yolks one at a time until batter is smooth and shiny.
- Next, spoon in ⅓ of the flour mixture, alternating with ⅓ of the sour cream continuing on low speed until smooth. Scrape bottom and sides of mixing bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
- Transfer cake batter evenly into the prepared pans. Weigh the filled pans to be exact.
- Place pans on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30-33 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Set the pans on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Carefully invert the pans to remove layers, peel away parchment paper and set aside for assembly. Option to wrap layers in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes to help with spreading frosting.
- Make Salted Caramel Sauce the day before or 3-4 hrs prior.
- In the bowl of stand mixer or large bowl using hand mixer beat unsalted butter until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
- Add 1 Cup of the powdered sugar, caramel, and whole milk. Mix until smooth.
- Then add one cup of powdered sugar, mixing until desired thickness is reached.
- Remove cake layers from freezer unwrap and peel away parchment paper.
- Level cake tops with knife if needed.
- Place a dollop of buttercream onto cake stand.Place bottom cake layer onto dollup, right side up.
- Cover top of cake layer evenly with buttercream, using an offset spatula to smooth.
- Flip second layer upside down and place onto buttercream. (This gives you a smooth surface for the top of the cake!)
- Cover top of cake and lightly spread buttercream across the sides. Use a bench scraper to smooth top and sides. (You can do a semi-naked cake or cover the sides completely with buttercream.)
- Top cake with desired fruit, I chose sliced figs. Slice and enjoy!!