Death By Chocolate Cake

Would you like to die a death by chocolate cake…? Or more specifically, a death by my Chocolate & Hazelnut Salted Butter Caramel Cake? I didn’t know what I was thinking when I decided to whip up this evil thing for a dinner party for our friends, S & C. I probably wasn’t, because I could have killed someone with it.

I think there are different ways to depart this world with this cake. I could have suffocated S or C or M or myself by smothering one of us with the thick, luscious, smooth sour cream chocolate icing, which in a warped kind of role-reversal, is dying to be licked too. I could have choked one of us to death by clogging the throat up with greedy morsels of deep, dense, and very chocolatey cake. Or, I could have dehydrated someone by making one of us weep to death after my rich salted butter caramel has blazed a trail on the tongue, with that tiny savoury-sweet-buttery dribble threatening to leave the corner of one’s lips. Oooh, to kill or not to kill, my caramel has conscience and it ponders.

They say that nothing is certain but death and taxes. I say that nothing is ever worth living if  we don’t die a Death By Chocolate Cake. It is an arguably good way to go; you see, you leave this world with your teeth stained with chocolate, no one judges you for that, you get endorphins buzzing in your head, and then you sigh and go to heaven. So, why not?

P/S: No humans were killed in the making and consumption of this chocolate cake, unfortunately…

*Updated: This post has been featured on Foodgawker and Tastespotting. Check out my profiles on Foodgawker and Tastespotting to see my other featured posts!

Check out what I have been baking in my own kitchen.

Also check out my other food adventures.

Now, go slaughter someone you love with this too (and by the way, if anyone asks, you didn’t hear this evil doing from me):

Chocolate & Hazelnut Salted Butter Caramel Cake
(slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess)

Makes an 8-inch two-layered, ironically, round weapon

To choke someone with the cake:

200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
40g cocoa powder (I used Green & Black)
150ml sour cream
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste

1. Preheat oven (fan-assisted) to 160 degree Celcius. Grease and line two 8-inch sandwich tins.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl.
3. Beat in the softened butter to the ingredients in step 2.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the cocoa powder, sour cream, eggs and vanilla paste till well-mixed, and then add this in a stream-like fashion to the flour mixture from step 3 and beat till everything is well-combined.
5. Pour the batter into the greased and lined sandwich tins (make sure both get equal amounts of batter) and bake for 26 minutes, rotating the cake tins halfway through if your oven has hotspots. You don’t want to overbake these as people might go to hell instead of heaven if you do…26 minutes work well for me, but if you want to check yours, the cakes should just begin to shy away from the edges of the tins, and the skewer should come out almost clean when inserted. Cool the cakes in the tins on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes, then turn the cakes out directly onto the rack to cool them further. In the meantime, work on the salted butter caramel sauce.

To set one’s tongue on fire with the salted butter caramel sauce:

100g caster sugar
55g unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
100ml whipping cream

1. Melt sugar and butter in a saucepan, and caramelise to copper colour (be careful not to burn it). Keep stirring during this process, and keep a watchful eye. Add the salt whilst stirring.
2. Scald the whipping cream in another saucepan (it should be shy of coming to a boil).
3. Remove the caramel from Step 1 from the heat, and add the cream. Be careful here, as the mixture will bubble vigorously and might splatter onto you. Stand far far away, with gloves on as you stir the hot cream and caramel together to form a smooth sauce. You don’t want to die looking like a blistered chef, that defeats the purpose of making this cake as the chef isn’t supposed to die. Let the caramel sauce cool down before use. Next, work on the icing.

To smother someone to death with the sour cream chocolate icing:

150g dark chocolate (I used 85% Lindt, broken up into small pieces)
105g unsalted butter
150ml sour cream (room temperature)
75ml whipping cream (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 tablespoon golden syrup
250g icing sugar, sifted

1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave (do this in 20-second blocks because you don’t want to overheat the chocolate and cause it to seize), or if you prefer, do it bain-marie style. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly.
2. Gradually stir in the sour cream and whipping cream, vanilla paste and the golden syrup.
3. Slowly add the sifted icing sugar and combine till smooth.

Now, to assemble the weapon:

100g blanched hazelnuts, blitzed to tiny chunks in the food processor

1. Outline your serving plate or cake stand with strips of baking parchment, and sit your cake on top of strips, such that the edges of the cake are actually on the parchment pieces.
2. Spread the cooled salted butter caramel on the first layer, and then top it up with the second cake layer.
3. Pour the chocolate icing over the assembled cake, and let the icing flow down the sides while smoothing the surfaces with a palette knife.
4. Propping up your cake at different angles, pat on the blitzed hazelnuts on the sides, and leave the cake to set in the fridge till the icing is less gooey (it should still be sticky though). Remove the cake from the fridge when this is so. Carefully remove the parchment pieces from the plate/stand. You should get a very neat-looking cake.
5. Now, serve the cake to your unsuspecting guests. Remember, you didn’t hear it from me!

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47 Responses to “Death By Chocolate Cake”

  1. 1 Janine September 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    you just gave me an awesome idea! i had extra caramel buttercream from making macarons today and was thinking of what to do with it and this recipe sounds superbly awesome! love that photo of the gooey caramel :D

  2. 3 Miss Adriennely September 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Haha I love your headings for the ingredients of the cake and caramel. So cheeky!

  3. 7 bookjtinyisland (@bookjtinyisland) September 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I always marvel at your skill. How do you apply the cream so evenly? It looks so masterfully done. Better than anything I have seen being commercially sold.

    I do love chocolate as well as salted caramel…a definite killer combo ;-)

  4. 9 Sasha @ The Procrastobaker September 11, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    If i had to, then yes this is very very much the way i would like to go! Stunning!!

  5. 11 Melissa @ Best Friends For Frosting September 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Discovered you on Food Gawker! I love your cakes and creations. You are a fabulous photographer. This cake will be featured on my blog this week. Keep it up!

  6. 13 K September 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    this looks AMAZING. chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel?!? my dream cake. thanks for sharing :)

  7. 15 eunice (@heavenwildfleur) September 15, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    this is definitely a weapon of mass destruction!!

  8. 17 Xiaolu September 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    YUM that oozy middle is making my mouth water!

  9. 19 breadetbutter September 29, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I can taste the calories just by looking at the photo – this is my sure fire way of identifying delicious desserts!! Chocolate + hazelnut = win!

  10. 21 Jacqui October 1, 2011 at 4:44 am


    Love love this cake by just looking at your photo.
    Can I bake in in 1 cake tin instead ( only own 1 tin)
    and slice into half?

    What would be the suggested time in the oven?

    Tahnk u.

    • 22 The Pleasure Monger October 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      Jacqui: I’m not sure how long it will take for a whole cake, you might want to do a skewer test 45 minutes in (after it’s risen nicely) to see if it needs further cooking. This also depends on your oven, so I think you’ll need to test the times too. Hope this helps!

  11. 23 Mrs Ergül October 6, 2011 at 9:07 am

    That looks decadent!! And really evil for the waistline ;-)

  12. 25 foodwanderings October 7, 2011 at 4:08 am

    Hello Miss Rachel, absolutely stunning. Never had a cake oozing in a luscious way quite as this, just delicious!! Your photos are gorgeous as ever!

  13. 27 Janet Rudolph October 7, 2011 at 4:19 am

    I will be making this because I’m always DyingforChocolate.. Death by Chocolate Cake? Yes!!

  14. 29 Baker Street October 7, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Decadent! I love the shot where the caramel is oozing out!

  15. 31 Jamie October 7, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Fabulous!!! Fabulous and I am inspired!! I just made wonderful, feathery light but oh-so chocolate tartlets served with salted butter caramel sauce – ha! We have the same thing on our minds! I love this cake with the sauce. Perfect!

  16. 33 Annapet (@thedailypalette) October 16, 2011 at 2:51 am

    You are so beautiful! And congratulations again. So pretty, so smart, and oh so talented!

  17. 35 Christine November 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Hi Rachel, Your Death by *** Cake recipe has been selected by Knapkins to be featured in a Recipe Guessing Game. Please share the following link with your friends and fans. To play, go here: Congrats again!! :)

  18. 37 Deira July 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    This looks too delicious. I love a good rich chocolate cake and by the look of this recipe I don’t think it could get any richer. I can’t wait to try this out in the kitchen :) Thanks for sharing!

  19. 39 Vanessa (@VAntoinette) April 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    I don’t understand these baking conversions… is it really grams? Can some please help me convert this, I want to make this, BADLY!!!! :oP :o)

  20. 41 Grace July 3, 2013 at 5:54 am

    I’m currently in the process of making this cake for my brothers birthday, and I must say I am very disappointed in the recipe, firstly the cake part of the recipe was a little vague, worked out fine but I wished there had been some more descriptors of what the mix should be like, I wasn’t sure if mine was too dry. Secondly the caramel recipe was a disaster! I have always made caramel perfectly but this recipe failed twice, it seized a lot and I barely saved it. Surely the recipe calls for water with the sugar? I have not yet made the icing but I’m hoping that goes well. :(

    • 42 The Pleasure Monger July 3, 2013 at 11:16 am

      Hi Grace, sorry to hear the recipe isn’t working out for you.

      I have tried this recipe a few times and it works for me every time.

      For the cake, as stated in the recipe, the skewer should come out almost clean after cake is baked. If the skewer is completely clean, then you risk having a dry cake. If it comes out with wet smears of batter, the cake isn’t ready. If you follow the steps, the batter should work out to the correct wetness/dryness. Everything else depends on your oven temperature and time. If your oven tends to overheat, it will do you well to lower the temp from that stated in my recipe, and to adjust the baking time as well.

      For the caramel, I am not sure what went wrong. It has never seized for me. I stir it constantly when the sugar is melting and I melt the sugar with the butter until it is caramelised. While the sugar is melting, I scald the cream and add it quickly to the caramelised sugar. I don’t see how it will seize, especially when everything is piping hot, and done quickly. If it doesn’t work for you and since you have always made caramel perfectly, maybe you should use your original recipe instead for better results.

      I hope the icing works for you. It did for me. If not, you can try a Nigella Lawson or Ina Garten recipe. They are pretty good.

  21. 43 Rachel, too August 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

    I made this recipe last weekend for my fiancé’s birthday and it was a complete success! So much so that I’ve been called upon again to make it this weekend for all who missed the first round. I was told it was his favorite of all cakes I’ve ever made (topping 7 years of cakes).

    I’m in California and was at first perplexed by the weights instead of our regular cup measurements, but found it much more accurate and easy to follow using my food scale. For the caramel, I used a thermometer and it didn’t seize or anything! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • 44 The Pleasure Monger August 14, 2013 at 3:36 pm

      Hi Rachel! I am so happy that the recipe worked for you and that your loved ones enjoyed the cake. Oh yes, I love using the scale when it comes to measuring out ingredients, it is far more accurate and leaves less room for doubt or confusion. Would be lovely if you could send me a picture of your cake, would love to see it!

  22. 45 Crizel Menezes January 18, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Hi, this cake looks so tempting would surely like to try it out.. Can i bake this cake at 150 or 175 degree? As my oven does not hav d option for 160 degree… Wil there me any major difference with d texture? Plz do reply.. Thank you..

  1. 1 » Popular Chocolate & Hazelnut Salted Butter Caramel Cake Trackback on September 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm

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About The Author
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Read about my food-gasmic adventures in San Sebastian here! Also please come by and check out the prettiest cake I've made over here!
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