Elevate your baking skills with this Chocolate Caramel Loaf Cake, rich chocolate and decadent caramel harmoniously swirled together. A moist and tender cake, a surprise caramel filling and crowned with a luscious salted caramel buttercream. This recipe delivers the perfect blend of salty-sweet indulgence. It’s pure indulgence, but so easy to make; it’s certain to impress your family and friends.
Lou’s recipe overview
TASTE: Decadent blend of chocolate, caramel, and buttery sweetness
PROS: Making the cake batter is quick and easy
CONS: None – except waiting for it to bake!
There’s something about a loaf cake that hits differently to a regular round cake, like my Victoria sponge cake. Yes they both taste absolutely delicious and are super easy to make, but a loaf cake feels a lot more ‘every day’.
For me a loaf cake is the ideal ‘every day’ cake. But why? Well they don’t need over the top decorating or covering with handfuls of sprinkles; in fact the best decoration is no-fuss simplicity. But when I do decorate them I love using something that echoes their flavour, like the mini choc-chip cookies on my chocolate chip loaf cake.
Why you should make chocolate caramel loaf cake
So if you’re looking for something no-fuss but utterly delicious, then I know you will love this chocolate caramel loaf cake just as much as me. Especially when I tell you about…
- The complete deliciousness – Indulge in the most heavenly combo of chocolate and caramel with a hint of salt to enhance every flavour in every bite.
- The ease of baking – loaf cakes are typically simpler and quicker to make than layer cakes, which makes them perfect if you’re new to baking, or just want to whip something up quick.
- The feeling of home comfort – there really is something about a loaf cake that evokes a sense of comfort and nostalgia, that makes them really popular for home baking.
- The perfect size – it’s just the right size for small households, reducing the potential for leftovers while still providing a delightful treat. Although I challenge you to have any leftovers from this cake.
Check out my shopping list for ingredients and equipment
This chocolate caramel loaf cake looks super impressive but it’s actually made with simple ingredients. And I’m pretty sure you’ll have most of these are in the cupboard. So when you’re ready go and grab…
- Self-Raising Flour – this is a staple baking ingredient in the UK and already has the raising agents added, meaning we can reduce the quantity of baking powder in the recipe. You can swap for plain flour or all-purpose flour, and increase the baking powder quantity. A general rule is 1 teaspoon of baking powder to 100g plain flour.
- Salted Butter – I prefer to use a slightly salted butter; but you can also use unsalted butter and add ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt. The salt helps to bring out the creaminess of the butter, giving your cake that beautiful buttery flavour.
- Eggs – Remember if you keep your eggs in the fridge, let them come up to room temperature before using them. Take them out of the fridge about 15-30 minutes before you’re ready to start baking
- Soft Light Brown Sugar – The caramel flavour from the sugar lifts the sweetness of the caramel cake batter, for a perfect contrast with the chocolate cake.
- Caster Sugar or Superfine Sugar
- Baking Powder
- Carnation Caramel – You need a thick caramel, similar to a dulce de leche, for this recipe. A think caramel sauce is not going to give you enough caramel flavour without adding a lot, which will affect the quality of your cake powder. I love the Carnation caramel but you can often find similar store own-brand versions.
- Intense Cocoa Powder – For this cake, I want a quite a contrast between the caramel and chocolate batter, so they are more defined in the marble swirl. So I use a black or intense cocoa powder which is very dark in colour. Alternative you can use a regular cocoa powder, that is lighter in colour, but works just as perfectly.
- Double Cream or Heavy Cream
- Icing Sugar
- Fine Sea Salt
- Pretzels or Chocolate-coated Pretzels – I use these for decorating the cake, as they add that little extra saltiness to bring out the sweetness of the chocolate and the caramel.
CONVERT TO CUPS: There is a cup conversion option in the recipe card to convert the ingredients. This is automatic and I can’t guarantee the accuracy. For best baking results, I recommend using digital scales and weighing the ingredients.
Equipment you will need
Like the ingredients, you’ve probably got everything you need in your kitchen cupboards. Here’s what I use to make this loaf cake…
- 13 x 9 inch Tray Bake Pan – You pan should be at least 1-inch deep to get a good depth to your cake. I absolutely love my Masterclass one, it gives the perfect bake.
- 2lb Loaf Tin – This is the perfect size for this cake, I absolutely love my Masterclass one – it will give your cake height for the perfect slice. If you don’t have a loaf tin you could use an 8-inch cake tin instead
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Hand Mixer
- Rubber Spatula
- Baking Parchment
- Digital Kitchen Scales
- Angled Palette Knife – One of my essential pieces of equipment
How to make chocolate caramel loaf cake
Full measurements and instructions can be found on the recipe card
Ready to dive into baking bliss? I’ve promised you simplicity, but there’s a sprinkle of secrets to ensure your chocolate caramel loaf cake turns out perfectly. So let’s uncover the tricks that transform “easy” into “extraordinary.” Take a quick scroll through the recipe and get stuck in…
Making the cake batters
- Add the butter, soft light brown sugar and caster sugar into a large bowl and beat together either with a hand mixer or stand mixer, until you have a pale and fluffy consistency. This should take about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition; you will end up with a runny batter. If your mixture looking like it’s started to split, don’t worry, it’s normal. You can add 1 tablespoon of flour to the mixture to bring it back together. Making sure your eggs are at room temperature will reduce the risk of the mixture splitting.
- Sieve together the flour and baking powder; fold through the batter until everything is well combined
- If your batter feels too thick, add in a splash of milk and and stir through to loosen the mixture slight.
- Divide the cake batter into 2 smaller mixing bowls, making sure they are about equal quantities – they don’t have to be perfectly spot-on so you can use your own judgement rather than weighing out.
- Add the cocoa powder to one of the cake batter bowls. Stir through, making sure all the powder is combined into the mixture and it isn’t streaky.
- Add the caramel to the remaining cake batter and stir through until well combined.
Assembling the marbled loaf cake
- Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment, then start adding the cake batter into the tin using an ice-cream scoop or large spoon.
- Start off with a scope of chocolate batter, then a scoop of caramel batter, and continue alternating the batters until you have filled the loaf tin.
- Use an angled palette knife to smooth over the top of the loaf cake.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes at 180C / 350F until risen and golden. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before lifting out onto a wire rack to completely cool.
TOP TIP: Use an ice-cream scoop for scooping out the cake batters. This means that you get an even distribution of the batters which will give you a beautiful marble pattern inside when the cake bakes.
Making the salted caramel buttercream
The secret to the lightest and smoothest buttercream is quite simple – take your time and have a little patience. Allow the ingredients to do their thing rather than rushing. It will take you about 10 minutes to make…
- Whisk the butter with either a hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment until very pale and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes but by the end you’ll have a very light, whipped butter.
- Add half the icing sugar to the butter; folding in to start then whisking with the mixer. Mix well until combined. The buttercream should be smooth and creamy.
- Add half the caramel and mix well again.
- Add the remaining icing sugar, and mix again.
- Add the remaining caramel and mix well again until you reach a smooth and spreadable consistency.
Adding the caramel filling and decorating
Before you add the filling and decorate the cake, it’s really important to make sure the cake is completely cool; otherwise you’ll end up in a sticky mess.
- Cut a V-shaped channel down the middle of the cooled cake. The trench should be about 2-3cm deep and wide. Don’t go to the edges of the cake as you’ll weaken the structure – you want to make a channel for the caramel to sit in. Save the cake that you’ve removed.
- Spoon the caramel into the channel, making sure to get an equal spread across the length of the cake.
- Place the cake you saved from earlier back in the channel.
- Decorate the top of the cake with the salted buttercream – you can either spread it over the top with a palette knife or pipe it on top with an piping bag and nozzle. For this cake, I used a French Tip nozzle.
- Finish off with a final sprinkle of fine sea salt, chocolate sprinkles and chocolate-coated pretzels.
Live baking class: Step-by-step video:
Top tips for success
Let me share a few paramount baking tips to ensure you nail this cake every time…
- Weigh your ingredients – Elevate your baking game by investing in a digital kitchen scales. Unlike volume measurements, weight ensures precision. Did you know a cup of flour can vary by 150%? Always weigh for consistent results!
- Use room temperature eggs – Avoid a curdled batter by using room temperature eggs. Take them out of the fridge 10-15 minutes before baking to facilitate easy whisking, ensuring voluminous eggs for a light and fluffy cake. Also making sure all your ingredients are at room temperature (unless the recipe says otherwise) means that they are all at the same temperature when going in to the oven and the baking magic can begin.
- Use room temperature butter – Starting with nice and soft butter is the key to the perfectly light and fluffy cake. If the butter isn’t quite soft enough, when you mix the ingredients together you’ll end up with butter lumps in the batter. Room temperature butter is easier to cream with the sugar and helps to incorporate air into the batter. Taking your butter out of the fridge the night before should make sure it’s just right. You want to be able to make a dent with your finger, but not go right through.
- Don’t overmix the cake batter – It’s easy to keep mixing your cake batter to make sure everything is well combined; but be careful not to overmix it. If your batter feels thick and stiff, then it might be overmixed and a splash of milk and stir through. Overmixing can lead to a dense and tough cake, as you’ve overworked the gluten in the flour. Make sure you mix until the ingredients are just combined to avoid developing too much gluten.
- Let the cake cool before adding caramel and buttercream – Make sure you allow the loaf cake to cool completely before cutting out the V-trench to add the caramel to, and also before decorating with the buttercream. If the cake is too warm, when you cut into the cake it will be too soft and will fall apart; it’s better to way for it to cool so you can easily cut out the V-trench. Also too warm when you decorate, then your buttecream can melt, giving you a messy and uneven appearance.
And remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if things don’t turn out as planned, they’re all part of the learning process. Just go with the flow and enjoy the journey of discovering new techniques and recipes in this fabulous world of baking!
FAQs about chocolate caramel loaf cake
I prefer to use a 2lb loaf tin for this recipe to get the perfect depth for your cake, and give the batters plenty of space to marble together. If you only have a 1lb loaf tin, you can use this instead but the cake. Alternatively you can use an 8-inch cake tin instead of a loaf tin.
The recipe will make 10-12 slices, depending on how thick you slice them!
The cake is best stored in an air-tight container at room temperature. You can either store as a whole cake or cut into individual slices. I prefer to store as a whole cake so that the caramel inside doesn’t ooze everywhere.
The cake will keep for 3-4 days if stored correctly in an air-tight container at room temperature.
The loaf cake can be frozen, either as individual slices or as a whole loaf. If freezing as soon as you have made the cake, freeze without the caramel core and buttercream and add these when you are ready to serve. If you are freezing leftovers, these can be frozen with the caramel core and buttercream on.
Make sure when freezing that you wrap the cake well in clingfilm. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months and defrost thoroughly before decorating and eating.
If you have any leftover caramel buttercream – freeze it! It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to keep it in a freezer-proof air-tight container to prevent ice crystals forming. When ready to use, fully defrost the frosting in the fridge then bring it up to room temperature and mix well before using.
Caramel Chocolate Loaf Cake
For the cake
For the buttercream
To make the cake
- in a large mixing bowl, add the butter, soft light brown sugar and caster sugar. Using a handheld mixer whisk everything together until well combined and you have a pale and fluffy consistency. This should take about 3-4 minutes. Alternatively you can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.225 g Salted Butter, 100 g Caster Sugar, 125 g Light Soft Brown Sugar
- Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat well between adding each egg until the batter is pale in colour. If the mixture starts to split, don't panic, just fold in a tablespoon of the flour.4 Eggs
- Sieve together the self-raising flour and baking powder, then gently fold into the cake mixture, until you get a silky smooth cake batter.1 tsp Baking Powder, 225 g Self-Raising Flour
- Divide the cake batter equally into two smaller mixing bowls,
- Add the cocoa powder to one of the cake batter bowls, and fold through until well combined. Make sure the mixture is not streaky.25 g Intense Cocoa Powder
- Add the caramel to the other cake batter bowl and mix through until well combined.25 g Carnation Caramel
- Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment and add the batters in alternating scoops with an ice-cream scoop. Start with a scoop of the chocolate batter, then the caramel batter, and continue to alternate the batters until they are all used up. Smooth over the top with a palette knife.
- Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F. Place the filled loaf tin on a baking sheet.
- Bake the loaf cake for 45-50 minutes until risen and golden on top. Test the cake with a skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is ready; if not bake for a further 5 minutes and test again.
- When the cake is baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then using the baking parchment lift the loaf cake out of the pan straight away. Place on a wire rack to completely cool.
To make the buttercream
- In a large bowl or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the butter and salt and mix together for 3-4 minutes until soft, pale and fluffy.150 g Salted Butter, 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- Add half of the icing sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing into the butter between each addition until well combined and smooth.275 g Icing Sugar
- Add half the caramel, mixing into the butter mixture until well combined and smooth.30 g Carnation Caramel
- Repeat, adding the icing sugar, caramel and the fine sea salt mixing everything together until well combined and smooth. If the buttercream frosting is too stiff, add a splash of milk and mix through but be careful not to add too much.
- When the cake has cooled, cut a channel along the centre of the top of the loaf cake, about 2cm across and 2cm deep. Save the cake that you remove from the channel.
- Spoon in the caramel, making sure it is evenly spread in the channel. Then replace the cake you previously removed on top to seal in the filling,100 g Carnation Caramel
- Spread the buttercream over the top of the cooled cake with a palette knife or pipe it on with an piping bag and nozzle. I used a French Tip nozzle.
- Finish off with a final sprinkle of fine sea salt, chocolate sprinkles and chocolate-coated pretzels.Chocolate Sprinkles, Chocolate Pretzels
- When you're ready, slice the loaf cake to serve, and enjoy!
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.