If you’re in the mood for something super rich, chocolate-y, and boozy for your Halloween shindig, I’ve got the perfect cake for you. It’s a chocolate cake soaked in coffee flavored vodka, with gooey dulce de leche in between the layers and on top, and finished with black sea salt. It basically tastes like a boozy candy bar. In the words of Ina Garten, “How bad could that be?”. It’s perfect for Halloween! Or for when you’re generally feeling dark and want to eat your feelings, have PMS, etc. This cake has no limits, but it really is most perfect for Halloween.
This recipe was adapted from Beatty’s Chocolate Cake.
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup coffee or espresso flavored vodka
Black Hawaiian Sea Salt for finishing
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and dust the pans with cocoa powder. (I like to flour chocolate cake pans with cocoa powder. I think this gives it a nicer finish.)
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
Meanwhile, make your dulce de leche. Place two cans of sweetened condensed milk to a pot of simmering water. Make sure the cans are completely submerged in water or they will explode. Simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove from water and let cool to the touch. Be cautious of opening cans. If they are still too hot they may splatter.
Once cakes are cooled, use a tooth pick to poke small holes around the layer. Brush the coffee flavored vodka onto each layer (about 1/2 cup each layer). Let the cake soak up the vodka.
Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. Pour a good amount of dulce de leche on and spread around. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and pour remaining dulce de leche on top and let it run down the sides.
Top with a sprinkle of black sea salt. SO. GOOD.