Serves 12 (Approximately)
Total Time: 2+ Hours
- Chocolate Chip Cake
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 / 4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 / 2 teaspoon salt
- 3 / 4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 / 2 cup milk, room temperature
- 1 / 2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips (coated with 1 teaspoon of additional flour)
- Caramel Sauce
- 20 unwrapped square caramel candies (155 grams or approximately 3 / 4 cup)
- 1 / 3 cup heavy cream
- pinch of salt
- Pretzel Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups pretzels (using 1/2 cup of fine pretzel crumbs)
- 16 oz (2 standard sized packs) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly cooler than room temperature
- 8 cups (or a 2-pound bag) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- For Decorating (optional)
- 1 / 2 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons milk
- Chocolate sprinkles
Chocolate Chip Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trace and cut out parchment paper to line the bottoms of two 8 – inch cake pans or three 6 – inch cake pans. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use a mixer to cream butter for 2 minutes until light in color and fluffy. Add granulated sugar and mix for approximately 3-4 minutes or until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, incorporating after each addition. Add in vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a glass measuring cup, whisk together your milk and sour cream.
Starting with your dry ingredient mixture, begin alternating additions of dry ingredients and the milk/sour cream to the large mixing bowl. You should begin by adding 1/3 of your dry ingredient mixture and follow by adding 1/2 of your milk. Repeat these additions, mixing after each until just incorporated. Avoid over mixing as this will cause the cake to become dry when baked.
Toss one cup of mini chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon of cake flour. Be sure to coat each chocolate chip with flour. This will prevent the chocolate chips from sinking in the cake batter while baking.
Add in the chocolate chips to your batter and mix until just incorporated.
Divide the cake batter equally between each of your cake pans. Place in the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes (a dark cake pan will requirer the shorter cook time while a lighter colored cake pan will require the longer cook time) or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the cake pans and place on a wire rack to let cool completely.
Pretzel Cream Cheese Frosting
To a high speed blender, add approximately 2 cups of pretzels. Blend until the majority of the pretzels are fine crumbs and no large pieces remain. Use a fine mesh sifter to sift the pretzels, then measure 1/2 cup of the fine crumbs to use for the frosting. Set aside the 1/2 cup and reserve the remaining pretzel mixture for decorating the cake.
In a large mixing bowl or in a standard mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (approximately 2 minutes). Add in vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Gradually begin to add in powdered sugar and continue to mix. Add in the 1/2 cup of fine pretzel crumbs. If the frosting appears to thick to spread, slowly add in milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, begin to melt the unwrapped caramel candies. Heat for approximately a minute, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent burning. The candies will likely clump together.
After a minute, pour the heavy cream into your saucepan. Continue stirring until the caramels melt completely and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Add in a large pinch of salt and set aside to cool completely, stirring occasionally to keep the caramel smooth.
To a cake stand or large plate, spread a thin layer of your cream cheese frosting.
Place one of the cake layers onto the stand. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting about 1/2 inch thick.
Use a piping bag with a round tip to pip a 1/2 inch tall border around the edge of the frosting layer. This will create a border so the caramel sauce layer will not spill out over the edges of the cake when added.
To the middle of the frosting layer, pour in a layer of caramel sauce. Do not pour in more than can be contained within the pipped border. Carefully spread it out into an even layer.
Place the cake in the freezer or refrigerator to chill and set for 10-15 minutes before continuing assembly.
Place another cake layer on top, flipping this cake layer upside down so that the top of your cake has a flat bottom. Press down gently. (Note: If you are using three 6 – inch cake layers, then you will need to repeat the earlier process of adding a cream cheese frosting layer, pipping a border, and filling with caramel sauce before placing the final cake layer on top.)
Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting to create a crumb coat. Smooth out the sides as much as possible. Chill the cake for about 20 minutes before using the remaining frosting to completely cover and frost the cake.
(Optional For Decorating) To the bottom edge of the cake, create a rim with the remaining pretzels crumbs and additional broken pretzel pieces. In a small microwavable bowl, combine chocolate chips with milk. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. The consistency of the chocolate should be pourable. Spoon the chocolate onto the top of the cake and spread to cover. Create some drips down the sides of the cake using either a spoon or a squeeze bottle filled with the chocolate. Use any remaining cream cheese frosting to create dollops around the edge of the cake and press in additional pretzels as decoration. Add chocolate sprinkles if desired.
Let the chocolate topping completely set up before slicing. This cake should serve approximately 12 people. Enjoy!
Note: Cake is best enjoyed the day it is made. Pretzel pieces used for decorating will soften and lose their crunch with time. If leftovers remain, make sure to store in an air-tight container.