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A slice of chocolate caramel toffee cake with piped ruffled buttercream.

Chocolate Caramel Toffee Cake with Bourbon

This chocolate caramel toffee cake has three layers of soft and moist chocolate sour cream cake soaked with bourbon, filled with toffee and caramel sauce, and frosted with fluffy chocolate caramel buttercream.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16


  • Stand Mixer



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened, Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  • 2 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (either natural or Dutch-processed)
  • 1 tbsp meringue powder (optional)
  • ¼ tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • ¼ cup prepared caramel sauce (either homemade or store bought)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup half n half


  • ½ cup prepared caramel sauce (either homemade or storebought)
  • ½ cup toffee bits
  • 3 tbsp good-quality bourbon (optional)



  • Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then whisk until completely combined.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, oil and vanilla until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk for about 30 seconds until well combined and mostly free of lumps.
  • Divide the batter between the pans.  Tap the pans lightly on the counter a few times to pop any large air bubbles.  Bake the cakes on the center rack for about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean or with moist crumbs clinging to it, and the tops spring back when gently touched.
  • Set the pans on a cooling rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely before frosting.


  • In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for one minute until smooth.
  • Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, meringue powder and salt, and mix on low to combine.  Add the caramel sauce and vanilla.  Whip on medium speed, adding only as much half-n-half as needed to thin out the consistency, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.


  • Remove the cooled cakes from the pans.  Place one cake on a cake board or cake pedestal.  If using the bourbon, brush one tablespoon of bourbon over the cake, letting it soak in. Frost with a layer of the buttercream.  Sprinkle with half the toffee, then drizzle with half of the caramel sauce.
  • Repeat with the second layer of cake, brush with bourbon, more buttercream, toffee and caramel, and the last layer of cake. Brush the top layer of cake with the last of the bourbon.
  • Frost all over with a thin crumb coat of buttercream, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill the crumb coat. Frost the top of the cake with a final layer of buttercream.
  • Fit a piping bag with a medium rose tip (#104) and fill with the buttercream.  Lightly score vertical lines around the cake using the tip of a knife to mark even rows.  Pipe vertical rows of ruffles, starting at the bottom and ending at the top, all the way around the cake.


Leftover cake should be stored in an airtight container or cake carrier for up to 5 days.
Keyword Chocolate Cake, High Altitude, Salted Caramel, Toffee