My mom’s birthday was not too long ago and we had a big family dinner to celebrate her. My brother and sis-in-law grilled out my mom’s favorites (ribs) and I was responsible for dessert and a side (the side recipe will come soon). For the dessert I asked her what she wanted and she said sheet cake…sheet cake really?
In my mind I was thinking about a beautiful layered cake, maybe cupcakes or a even a pie but mom wanted sheet cake…so I decided to take our family’s favorite sheet cake recipe and amp it up a bit…to make it a dark chocolate caramel sheet cake. Now this was a BIG risk, no one in my family likes dark chocolate except for me and my sis-in-law but I knew that this cake would turn them into dark chocolate lovers without them even knowing it.
To start this dark chocolate caramel cake experiment I knew I wanted to use this traditional chocolate sheet cake recipe that was one that my MeeMaw passed down to us. It was always a treat that she made for us every time we came to visit at the farm and it was always a favorite for my mom…so I guess I should not have been too surprised when she asked for it. Now don’t get me wrong I love the traditional recipe, but for my mom I wanted to take it to the next level.
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To deepen the chocolate flavor (& color) I used dark cocoa powder instead of the traditional cocoa powder and then I added in espresso powder to intensify the flavor even more…but don’t worry you won’t taste the espresso powder, it is just there to make the cake even better. I also added some espresso powder into the frosting, again it just intensifies the chocolate.
Next came the caramel…I mean c’mon everything is better with a little caramel sauce. I used my easy homemade salted caramel sauce but a jarred version would work as well…but if you have a few minutes go ahead and make the homemade version…it is just so, so good!! The caramel with this super moist & very rich cake only adds to the yummy factor and makes it a cake to remember for sure.
Being that this was her birthday cake I used some toasted pecans (for my mom) and sprinkles (she loves sprinkles…she is where I get my love of all things sparkly) and then of course candles…you can’t have a birthday cake without candles now can you?
Now when everyone saw it they were a little nervous as it is much darker in color than the traditional version, but once they tasted it they LOVED it!! I will still make the traditional recipe but this will definitely be one of the versions we make … it is just so, so good!!