Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

That’s soft homemade caramel + melted chocolate you’re gazing at.

Smooshed into the middle layer of that piece of “cake”.

And now I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath and for me to wipe the warm chocolate and drippy caramel off my forehead. Things got crazy.

In general, I try not to make really obnoxiously lofty claims around here, like “best recipe that ever existed”, “the only recipe you’ll ever need”, “the recipe that will change your life”. But I’ll just give it to you straight: THIS RECIPE WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

Right now I’m having a hard time thinking of any other dessert that I’ve made, like, ever, that even comes close to the overwhelming chocolatey insanity of this. Which is why as soon as this touched my lips I declared the good news: BEST DESSERT EVER.

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

There was a moment soon after this came out of the oven where Bjork sat at the table, and I leaned up against the counter, and we both just silently swooned over our bowls of warm, fudgy chocolate caramel cake. It was like we couldn’t even talk. We just looked at each other and shook our heads and nodded and took another bite. Repeat x100.

Oh, hey, guys? This is gooey.

No apologies. It’s meant to be that way. Like, if you bake it and think it will be like a fluffy cake, you are going to be surprised because it’s really not like a fluffy cake.

It’s like the richest fudgy brownie that doesn’t even bake all the way stuffed with perfectly soft caramel in the middle. Oozing. Melting. Making a mess. Caramel pooling around the spot where you attacked it with a spoon straight outta the oven.

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

You won’t really cut it into pieces because it’s gooey. Did I say that already? It’s more of a scoop out into a bowl and eat with a spoon typa thing. Or face plant. Whatever works.

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

Intensely rich, chocolatey, and fudgy. It WILL change your life.

Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake

4.8 from 6 reviews
Gooey Chocolate Caramel Cake
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda (divided)
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ⅔ cup butter flavored shortening
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, very soft or melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
  1. Cake: Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Stir until well combined. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture (I just used my fingers) until very fine crumbs form. It should look like a cake mix. Add the unsalted butter and milk; mix until a thick dough forms.
  2. Caramel: Melt the salted butter over medium low heat. Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a very low boil, stirring constantly. Let it cook over very low, gentle heat, so that the mixture is just barely bubbling if at all. If you heat it too much, it won’t stay soft in the bars, so just heat it enough to thicken it slightly. After about 10 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in ½ teaspoon baking soda. The caramel will foam and bubble – stir or whisk until it’s thick and creamy and mostly smooth.
  3. Layer and Bake: Preheat the oven to 350. Spread half of the batter on the bottom of your baking dish. Cover with the chocolate chips and a layer of caramel (I recommend using about ⅔ of the batch that you just made and reserving the rest for something else). Spoon the rest of the dough over the caramel layer and spread until the pan is evenly covered. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your pan size and how gooey you want it (see notes).
  4. Remove from the oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Store at room temperature to keep it soft; it will firm up a little bit as you let it rest.
Gooey-ness: I photographed the finished cake the next day to allow time for it to stick together better. This cake will not set up as a normal cake would – it is fudgy and GOOEY. As a less-gooey alternative, you could bake the bottom cake layer for a few minutes ahead of time (maybe 5-10) to get a more firm, solid brownie-like base.
Top layer: It is difficult to spread the dough over the warm caramel without making a huge mess. Drop the dough in spoonfuls evenly over the top before trying to spread it into a top layer.
Baking dish: I used a square 9-inch glass baking dish. It was the perfect thickness, in my opinion, but it bubbled over the sides while baking so if you use this size you’ll want to put a pan underneath it. If you use a 9x13 pan, you wouldn’t need to bake it as long.


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  1. holy crap i want to eat this cake now! i want my life to be changed by this cake. making it!

  2. YES! Gooiest cake ever. I can’t believe you got such a great picture of this. Just because it’s such a mess. So yeah, I guess messy cakes are delicious / delicious looking cakes. I can’t wait to try this! At some point, it *will* happen. :)

  3. What????? I want a big scoop of that. With icecream. Please. THANKS :)

  4. Whoahh…seriously, ridiculously GOOEY!!!

  5. ohhhh yesss. This looks freaking amazing, so let’s talk about how you should post stuff like this later in the day, you know, so I’m not drooling all over my work computer. I think that might be frowned upon. Plus, then I spend my whole work day dreaming about gooey chocolate caramel cakes 😀

  6. Face plant. At a loss for words. This looks heavenly.

  7. Looove these pictures. This looks insane! I’m going to have a hard time NOT making this this weekend!

  8. In my book, nothing, nothing, nothing can top homemade fudgey caramel goo in the dessert department. Done.

  9. That really does look like the best thing ever! Wishing I were there.

  10. I fully believe this could change my life. Or at least my entire day!!

  11. I’m totally skipping the spoon and going for the face plant. YUM!

  12. Gooey chocolate cake is the best! This looks insanely good!

  13. forget the eating healthy thing – I want to eat this every minute for the rest of my life!

  14. I love gooey chocolate and caramel especially when it is warm. These pictures look so YUMMY!
    I have not had a chance to visit your blog lately. I have been changing my blog design/theme to include a picture and video index. Visit anytime and let me know what you think. Blessings, Diane Roark

  15. Dang that looks like trouble!! They would be even better if they were made “special” 😉 Great recipe yet again!

  16. Oh wow this looks so decadent! I need this in my life now!!

  17. You can’t get much better than chocolate and caramel together forever. This looks absolutely delicious and is on my baking list. The messier the better =) Great photos!

  18. This looks like a food blogger/photographer’s nightmare while simultaneously being the stuff foodies’ dreams are made of. I’d eat this off a fork, a spoon, or straight out of a bucket…like a pig at a trough. How’s that for classy?

  19. DAMN! This looks like my kind of dessert!

  20. chocolate and caramel … two of the best flavors ever. and they go together perfectly. this recipe is going into my “recipes to make” file.

    now i have the perfect excuse to go buy that 9×9 pan i’ve been claiming to need for “oh so long now”.

  21. Best dessert EVER?! Ok that is super high praise and I know you love them and have made plenty that I’ve drooled over…but I can see why this gets your top vote!

  22. Definitely worth all the anticipation! Love it and can’t wait to try it!

  23. This looks so gooood. Face plant would be a good option here! :-)

  24. that is ONE gooey cake. I need a fork, napkin, and giant glass of milk!!!

  25. I hate when I am trying to be a really healthy eater and you post something like this!! It totally reminds me of something my sister’s friend’s mom used to make – did you catch that? I’ve made it for the kids a couple times, and we just call it Ugly Cake. But no one cares what it looks like because it’s that good. This looks like it would give Ugly Cake a serious run for its money!!! I need to go stuff my face in a bowl of melted chocolate chips now. . . .

  26. Thats heaven on a plate I am gazing at.

  27. Ummm…this looks ridiculous gooey and delicious. And I want some right now, with ice cream, please!

  28. I love the picture of the bubbling caramel! Yum :)

  29. Does your best friend know much about the Pioneer Woman? Here’s the thing, I used to be a Pioneer Woman fan too and read her blog on a regular basis, but something wasn’t ringing true for me. She held herself out as just a “little ol’ ranch wife” but the truth is, she wasn’t even close. When I learned in reality she was married to one of the largest landowners in the US and had built a custom television studio on their property (cleverly couched as a “lodge remodel” on her blog), I had to stop and ask myself, how many ranch wives have the means to do that? Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having money. This is America after all. But when you mislead your readers and misrepresent yourself as something you’re not, intelligent people’s radars go up. Most people don’t like being made to feel like they’re chumps.

    I learned that she has tons of household help too, tutors for homeschooling the kids, maids who run errands and tidy up her multiple homes, butlers for other chores and an entire cadre of people who help her manage her blog. In reality, there is no Pioneer Woman. All this “little ol’ ranch wife” BS is nothing but a fake internet persona manufactured by Ree Drummond and her Madison Avenue publicists. Ask yourself, how many bloggers do you know who are represented by United Talent Agency?

    And the fact Ree has lifted most of her recipes from church and community cookbooks without crediting her sources is very bad form. In 2012 alone, Drummond became embroiled in not one, but two plagiarism scandals. Instead of acknowledging the incidents, Drummond simply deleted the offending posts and acted like they never happened. One such incident involved an Etsy artist. Ree’s cowardice and the fact she never apologized made it appear she was trying to cover up the entire incident.

    Unless you’ve got the millions of dollars in seed money that Ree has, don’t quit your day job. Without financial backing and the services of highly compensated publicists and talent agents, most food blogs will languish in anonymity on the perimeter of the Internet.

    You might want to check out the truth behind Ree Drummond’s internet hoax:

    • Veddy intellesting, this brewhoho about Pioneer Woman. I agree in sentiment 100% with your observations and reactions. Never followed her blog much, but all this raises another question for me…

      What’s the purpose of my blog? I think that, in essence, it must fulfill a need for ME in its expression at least initially, and if I’m to somehow attempt to monetize it along the lines of the suggestions here from your own blog, then it must have the ring of truth to it…even as it attempts to bring in the bacon (to make a nice metaphor).

      Still working on it. As for recipes, most are ‘lifted’ from myriad sources but none are designed to be used for my own self-aggrandizement by claiming it as my own. I’m not really…so I think…a ‘creative’ or original cook, and view it as a craft and skill that requires adaptation. Hasn’t it all been done before, for most intents and purposes, anyway? So plainly–people aren’t going to come to my blog for recipes…but perhaps for my blog’s occasional ‘amuse bouches’…?

  30. Die.

  31. This cake is full of sooo much yumminess!!

  32. i made salted caramel cupcakes a few months ago and i used all the scoops of cake (where i put the caramel in the cupcake and topped with frosting), used the remainder of the caramel, topped with the remainder of the frosting and refrigerated… the “excess” ingredients ended up better than the cupcakes (and the cupcakes were pretty darn awesome)! any way… your cake kinda reminds me of that recipe. :)

  33. You had me at gooey!

  34. Extreme delectable look of the gooey chocolate tempting me lick my fingers!!

  35. This look like a gooey slice of heaven!

  36. Drool!! I few months ago I made a brownie stuffed with salted caramel and heath bars and it was the same super gooey and amazing! Seriously there is nothing better than caramel and chocolate, especially when it is gooey! :) I absolutely love looking at the sides of the cake were the caramel is oozing out!

  37. Just looking at this changed my life and I haven’t even attempted to make it yet. WOW!

  38. oh gosh that is a lot of carmel…layered in a cake…gosh i am sure this desert would not disappoint.

  39. This looks incredibly delicious! I might serve it in big bowls with spoons and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream…

  40. omg. I wish I had this RIGHT NOW. Ive been craving chocolate/caramel like no other..this looks absolutely heavenly!

  41. Love this recipe! Do you think I could use simple syrup instead of corn syrup? We are allergic to corn. TIA!

  42. Hi!
    Can I use alla butter instead of the butter flavored shortening?

    Loos really good!

    • It’s so gooey that it probably wouldn’t matter much (it’s not like it’s going to bake up like a regular cake). I can’t say for sure since I haven’t tried it, but I think it would work.

      • Thanks for your reply :) I’ll try with all butter and see (I always have butter for baking, so it’s easier).
        Looks dangerous 😀

        • Hi, I’m in NZ and we don’t have butter flavoured shortening here so I would be interested to know if you made this with just butter, and how it turned out

  43. Looks great. I would so love to try some. I am sure it tastes amazing.

  44. This looks ridiculous! Gooey + chocolate + caramel = the perfect dessert. I have to make it ASAP. Thanks so much for sharing! Love your blog :-)

  45. Suddenly I find myself wanting chocolate and caramel for breakfast. . .

  46. Trish in Spokane says:

    GOB-SMACKED….I am swooning, seriously :-) This WILL be attending our weekly Potluck this summer! Ok…back to reality…how do you think coconut oil (it’s firm at room temp) would work in place of the shortening?

  47. OMG! This looks amazing! Pinning now!

  48. This looks incredible! I just made a Salted-Caramel Brownie recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which was scrumptious, but this might give it a run for its money.

  49. Your blog is so beautiful! All of the recipes look so delicious! I can’t wait to make this cake! I know my children will love it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  50. Oh sweet lord how did I miss this cake?????? I would die and go to heaven for a big fat slice of this sucker right now. So much chocolate! So much gooey!

  51. md kennedy says:

    I can only say one thing: Oh Em Gee! Caramel and Chocolate is the best food combination ever and in my opinion should be its own food group. Thanks for the recipe – I am going out to get what I need now…

  52. Okay tried this last week and it was AMAZING! Seriously. My mother and I both have major sweetoothes (her more caramel, mine more chocolate – still pretty equal though) and it was such a decadence. I used the leftover caramel to drizzle on top haha. I used a 9×13 inch pan and while it was still delicious, I would recommend using the 8×8 size instead. It was just more difficult to spread everything around. WELL DONE with this, definitely a keeper! Make sure to have some ice cream or a big glass of milk around when time to eat – you will need it!

  53. I am assuming you mean 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda in the caramel not Baking Powder since you only have BS listed in the ingredients. Going to try it. Looks delish!

  54. I made this today and oh, man. DELICIOUS. Incredibly rich, but fantastic! I used a 9×9 pan and baked the bottom crust for 7-8 min to set it up a bit. Thanks for the tip to use a cookie sheet below the smaller pans! It didn’t boil over much, but the caramel would have been a pain to clean up.

  55. Made this today as my husband’s birthday cake. Awesome recipe! For the top layer, I took small portions of the dough and flattened to a square about a half inch thick. Doing this I pieced together a top “crust”. It worked great and did not smoosh the caramel around. Thanks for sharing!

  56. Amy Thompson says:

    Hi Lindsay

    Just wondering if I can make this ahead and then freeze? Do you know if it freezes well?



  57. I’m not sure where to purchase butter flavored shortening… could I sub in straight up butter? unsalted even?

  58. would it come out the same if i don’t put the shortening?

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