Chocolate & caramel layer cake

Chocolate & caramel ombre cake

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(88 ratings)

Prep: 1 hr Cook: 55 mins Plus cooling

More effort

Cuts into 12 slices
For the ultimate indulgence look no further than Sarah Cook's four-layered chocolate-caramel extravaganza

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freeze before filling and icing

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal1036
  • fat67g
  • saturates35g
  • carbs99g
  • sugars75g
  • fibre3g
  • protein15g
  • salt1.25g
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For vanilla & chocolate sponges

  • 225g very soft butter, plus extra for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almond
  • 1 tsp baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 3 egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 150ml pot natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp cocoa powder

For caramel & caramel-choc sponges

  • 225g very soft butter, plus extra for greasing



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 3 egg



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 150ml pot natural yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cocoa

To assemble

  • 397g can caramel (stocked near the condensed milk in stores)



    This is white, granulated sugar melted until it browns, after which it sets clear and hard when…

  • 140g dark chocolate
  • 140g milk chocolate
  • 300ml double cream


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line bases of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment. For the Vanilla & chocolate sponges, mix all the ingredients, apart from the cocoa, together with an electric whisk. Scrape half the mix into a second bowl and whizz in the cocoa. Scrape into the tins and bake for 20-25 mins until a skewer poked in comes out clean.

  2. Repeat step 1 for the Caramel & caramel-choc sponges, again leaving cocoa out of the first mixing, then splitting the mix in half and whizzing the cocoa into one batch. Cook as above.

  3. While sponges are cooling, melt the dark and milk chocolate together in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream and cool or chill until spreadable.

  4. When the sponges are cool, spread a third of the caramel over the Vanilla sponge and top with the Caramel sponge. Spread over another third of the caramel and top with the Caramel-choc sponge, then the final third of caramel and top with the Chocolate sponge (don’t panic if you mix up the layers, the cake will still look great when you cut in). Spread the chocolate icing over the whole cake to serve. It will keep in a cool place in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (121)

ChristinaGoodman's picture

This cake is absolutely delicious. When making I added a splash of milk to the chocolate layer as others suggested. I omitted the almonds as none of us eating it like them. I used the Wilton Easy Layer (7") tins so that I could bake them in the oven all at once. It was simple to make and sliced thinly is not too sickly! It was definitely a winner!

Louisewin9's picture

This was absolutely stunning - visually and taste wise. Next time will probably have a layer of strawberry jam to break all the chocolate - but thats just personal preference. Its a KEEPER

Hasan92's picture

This definitely brings the wow factor to dinner parties, and it serves many too! It is a very intensive recipe but well worth it. My stacking wasn't great, but covering it with the sauce hid the overlaps.

crmzchan's picture

Delicious, but enormous! The recipe works beautifully, but the quantity is rather ridiculous (feeds closer to 20 than 12). Will definitely be making again, but with 4 eggs instead of 6. Despite its size, it held together very well (I was slightly worried it might collapse!), and the ombré effect received lots of 'ooooohs' and positive comments.

Hepsy's picture

Great recipe. It was a magnificent hit at my wife's birthday with family and friends. I deviated from the recipe, thanks to suggestions from bakers in this comments section.
1. I had to bake one and a half quantities : used baking 24cm tin, 20 mn each
2. Made own salted caramel, added to buttercream (200g sugar base) instead of suggested caramel, very easy.
It did not matter which order the layers were stacked. After cutting out a slice, there was a 'wow' around the room. Recommend this cake for special occasions.

Miss Happy's picture

Very easy cake to make, rather than covering it in chocolate ganache. I crumbed, then covered it in fondant icing for a 30th birthday.

jule955's picture

Much easier than I thought! The ganache worked well to seal the gaps between the cakes and stop the caramel from running down the sides. It was very impressive when we cut through it, and each layer tastes lovely. I would have hoped for more of a caramel taste in one of the layers though - I might add a bit of caramel to the caramel layers if I make it again. I might also reduce the amount of ground almonds - it's delicious, but I think it makes the cakes a bit heavy.

Too much sugar's picture

The cake is really good. The additional milk in the chocolate layer makes it as moist as other layers. I made a caramel buttercream using 270 g of sugar, 35 ml of water, 130 ml double cream and 150 g of butter. I have to say it worked perfectly as I made my caramel dark and just slightly bitter ( but not burned) as I was afraid that it could be too sweet and will ruin the flavour.
I also made three colours of ganache (white, milk and dark chocolate) but can not recommend it and it was very difficult to decorate the cake and end result was not as impresive as I hoped :)

ashencircle's picture

This is the most amazing cake. I made the following changes after reading other comments and was very pleased with the result:
- Did 2/3rds quantities and used 7 inch cake tins to make it smaller
- Made caramel into a buttercream to prevent it being too sweet, and sprinkled sea salt on to make it salted caramel
- Added a tablespoon of caramel to the sponge mix for the caramel layers
- Mixed cocoa with water before blending in
- Added a splash of milk whenever the mix looked a bit stiff
Was very rich but not oversweet, and got a special mention in the work weekly meeting! Cannot wait to make this again.

karenmatthews44's picture

Fantastic recipe. Much easier than it looks or sounds from the recipe. Added a splash of milk to chocolate layer after reading other comments. Really does have the wow factor and sod the calories; it's worth it!

pelupi's picture

Made it for my chocoholic son's birthday. FABULOUS and very easy.. To hell with the calorie count although I didn't quite use all the caramel or ganache.

bakergirl89's picture

I made this recipe the other day, except made a milk chocolate ganache and raspberries between the layers... and a cream cheese chocolate frosting on the outside... it is really nice! All the layers are moist EXCEPT the dark chocolate layer which I found went really dry when I added the cocoa? So if I made it again I'd add a splash of milk to that layer before baking. It still had a really nice rich chocolate flavour though. Looks impressive and yummy!

lillybit's picture

Love this recipe, it was fairly easy to make, bakes well and the finished cake looks fantastic and is wonderful and moist. Only thing I would change is that using a whole tin of caramel to sandwich them make it a bit unstable and likely to slide a little so next time I'll use more sparingly or possibly play with the ganache (I'm thinking of maybe using a little more dark chocolate than milk and adding some of the caramel) and using that to sandwich as well as cover. It did come out VERY sweet with all that caramel!

minuit's picture

I thought this cake would be really complicated to make from looking at it, but it was pretty easy (just a bit time consuming). But it definitely looks amazing and people will think you're some kind of baking genius. Tastes really good too. Well worth making for birthdays.

susiemorgan's picture

I made this cake last week for a birthday/leaving present. I was surprised at how easy it was to make, and everyone loved it - it fed the entire staff and patients at work!! Having had trouble with oozing caramel filling before in other cakes, I made a Dulce de Leche Buttercream and piped an outer ring on each layer to contain the caramel, with great success! I'll certainly make it again.

Kathyc216's picture

Eager to try my new baking tins and liners (only two tins unfortunately) I thought I'd have a go at this recipe. It takes a while to make all four layers if you only have two pans, and as previously mentioned the layers with added cocoa rose more than the other two and, as also mentioned, one of these layers split in two. I didn't go with the caramel filling (used a little buttercream instead). The chocolate topping worked well, it all held together and the finished article looked great and it certainly got some oooo's and ah's when I cut it. It tasted fabulous and will serve far more than 12 (which brings the calorie per serving down I'm pleased to say!). Will be making good this again, that's for sure.

jennyhw's picture

I made this for my daughters birthday and it looked and tasted fab!! I used M&S salted caramel sauce in between the layers which was a good consistancy and nobody found it too sweet. I did only cut very thin slices and it easily made 18 pieces. The sponges were lovely and moist. Will def make again.

han123's picture

I thought this cake looked amazing but it looked like quite a big undertaking without an 'occasion' to bake it for. So I only cooked the caramel and choc-caramel layers in a traditional sandwich style cake, still added the caramel in the middle and covered the top in melted chocolate. This made it a lot quicker, less sickly and the tiniest bit healthier... Absolutely delicious!!!! The entire family loves it! I love the addition of the yogurt, makes it so moist without the mixed results I've had with other recipes using soured cream! Amazing, couldn't recommend more...could sell this!

lynmerry's picture

This cake is great. I made it for my husbands birthday and got major brownie points!! It took longer to make than it said as I could only cook two layers at a time, plus allowing time for them all to cool properly before stacking, but once cooled properly it was really easy to put together and looked so impressive when it was cut. It is a seriously sweet chocolate cake, but works well as cake with tea, or as a pud with some cream (coz there aren't enough calories already!!!)


Questions (18)

melp7922's picture

I made this the other night and all the layers were quite dry and flat. What am I doing wrong?? Please help. I am making this for a birthday and it's worrying me a lot. Many thanks

goodfoodteam's picture

Sorry to hear the cakes have not worked out as planned. If the cakes are dry, it's quite likely they were left in the oven for a little too long. Test them at 20 minutes or just before. Don't worry if the cakes don't have a lot of height, the height is created by the layering. We hope this answers your concerns. Good luck.

Aneeka88's picture

Would I be able to do this without the ground almonds? Would I need to substitute something else?

o0o0o0o0o's picture

Hey. Tried to.comment a while ago but it didn't seem to work. I'm planning on making this, but I'm wondering what I should do if I want to use a smaller tin. I really like the look of very tall cakes, and so I've bought a 6 inch Cale tin. But i imagine since this is designed for 20cm there would be far too much mix? If I attempted to put it in an albiet pretty deep 6inch tin would it overflow or just not cook? Would putting it in a 7 inch tin be a better idea? I just really want each layer to be tall and thick. Should I reduce the quantities? Does anyone have any comments /experiences about the amount of mix and the size of tin they used that could help me?

goodfoodteam's picture

We haven't tested this cake in smaller tins so cannot guarantee perfect results. However, we used normal victoria sandwich tins for this recipe so a 6in cake tin shouldn’t overflow with mixture as it will be much deeper, but imagine 4 on top of each other and it will be a bit of a skyscraper. Why don’t you make the cake mixtures, use enough to get the depth that you want then bake any mixture that is over in cupcake cases so it isn’t wasted. We suggest that you weigh the cake batter as you add the first batch to the tin, as you will need to repeat the same amount for the next 3 cakes to ensure they all come out at the same thickness. Hope this helps. 

o0o0o0o0o's picture

Hello! I'm just wondering how moist this cake is, since I've often found chocolate cake can be quite dry. Also , does anyone have any tips for making a moist cake?

Miss Happy's picture

Hi, I'm a bit late replying, you can make a sugar syrup. 225g caster sugar,125 ml water. Put sugar and water in a pan; stir over high heat, without boiling, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil for about 5 minutes.

When your cake is stil warm, brush the syrup (I use a skewer to prick the cake) over the cake before adding final layer of icing or ganache. I use this syrup for all sponge cakes that I make. You can add flavours depending on the cake, I.e. Vanilla essence, grated lemon or orange.

Sue bakes's picture

I have to make a Victoria sponge cake for a bake off competition in work this week but it must have the 'wow' factor to win, would this cake be a Victoria based sponge or if anyone has ideas for me I would really appreciate it.

olivialaurengeorge's picture

has anyone made this without almonds ?? i wanted to make this for my dad but he is allergic to nuts if anyone can help me would be great thank you !

michelle_30's picture

Hi I'm allergic to almonds, how much extra flour should i add to substitute almonds in the recipe please?

foodieem's picture

I'm looking to make this for visiting family over Christmas, but know I'm not going to have enough time on the day before they arrive to bake, assemble and decorate. Is it possible to make the sponges in advance and freeze them - or will this dry them out?


goodfoodteam's picture

Hi foodieem thanks for your question. The sponges without icing and filling should be absolutely fine to freeze. Just defrost before icing. 

Noosa's picture

I don't have self raising flour what can I do?

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there thanks for your question, add 1 tsp of baking powder per 100g of plain flour.
minicakes's picture

Hi, maybe it is obvious but I wanna ask - for the caramel sponge, I have to melt the sugar before adding it into the mixture, right?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. No, there is no need to melt the sugar for any of the cakes.

LadyBakealot's picture

What size eggs are used in this recipe?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. This recipe uses medium-sized eggs. Hope you enjoy the cake. Best wishes, BBC Good Food web team

Tips (1)

lakesluvvie's picture

I made this cake at the weekend for my dad's 70th birthday & it certainly amazed. Very tasty too!! Placing the layers of sponge in the freezer as suggested in the addtional info in the recipe really works, the cake can be filled & iced easily. I wrapped the sponge in clingfilm once cooled & then wrapped in foil. Freeze for a couple of hours. This recipe is a keeper & will be used for special occasions.

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