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.
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.
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.
Intensely rich, chocolatey, and fudgy. It WILL change your life.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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 powder. The caramel will foam and bubble – stir or whisk until it’s thick and creamy and mostly smooth.
- 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).
- 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.
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 9×13 pan, you wouldn’t need to bake it as long.