Chocolate Spice Cake

Chocolate and vanilla naked cake with figs on top.

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!

Top view of white frosted cake topped with figs.

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.

Top down view of a sliced frosted cake with figs on top.

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.
    Sift your flours too!
  • 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 milk as you mix them into the batter. Then add eggs one at a time.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
Two cake layers on table with caramel frosting.
Cake with figs and slices on plate.
Slice of chocolate cake with caramel frosting on a plate.
Three plates with slices of chocolate cake.

Chocolate Spice Cake

Chocolate Spice Cake is a rich moist chocolate cake full of fall spice flavors. This chocolate layer cake is covered in salted caramel buttercream!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword buttercream, caramel, chocolate, chocolate cake, fall dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients

Chocolate Spice Cake Layers

  • 1 1/4 Cups (160 grams) All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup (128 grams) Cake Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter melted
  • 3/4 Cup (64 grams) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Espresso Powder
  • 1/2 Cup (125 ml) Brewed Coffee warm
  • 1 1/2 Cups (330 grams) Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup (125 ml) Whole Milk warm
  • 4 Eggs room temperature

Caramel Buttercream

  • 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

Instructions

Chocolate Spice Cake Layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C) and prepare two 8 inch round cake pans.

  2. In a large bowl, hand whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.

  3. Using stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed, mix together coffee, melted butter, cocoa, and espresso powder until smooth.

  4. Add dark brown sugar and mix until incorporated. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl as needed.

  5. Next spoon in flour mixture, alternating with milk, continuing on medium speed.

  6. Add in eggs one at a time until batter is smooth.

  7. Transfer cake batter into pans, dividing evenly.

  8. Place pans on the middle to lowest rack and bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with crumbs.

  9. Set pans on cooling rack to cool completely.

  10. Remove layers from pan and wrap in plastic wrap, set in freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm slightly before icing. (this helps prevent tearing of cake layers during assembly)

Caramel Buttercream

  1. Make Salted Caramel Sauce the day before or 3-4 hrs prior.

  2. In bowl of stand mixer or large bowl using hand mixer beat unsalted butter until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).

  3. Add 1 Cup of the powdered sugar, caramel, and whole milk. Mix until smooth.

  4. Then add one cup of powdered sugar, mixing until desired thickness is reached.

Assemble Cake

  1. Remove cake layers from freezer unwrap and peel away parchment paper.

  2. Level cake tops with knife if needed.

  3. Place a dollop of buttercream onto cake stand.Place bottom cake layer onto dollup, right side up.

  4. Cover top of cake layer evenly with buttercream, using an offset spatula to smooth.

  5. Flip second layer upside down and place onto buttercream. (This gives you a smooth surface for the top of the cake!)

  6. 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.)

  7. Top cake with desired fruit, I chose sliced figs. Slice and enjoy!!

Recipe Notes

** Salted Caramel Sauce Recipe

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