Toothsome Images / RECIPE: Chocolate Paradise Cake


A caramel and toffee infused spin on traditional devil’s food cake, this Chocolate Paradise Cake from our Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook is seriously decadent.  Coated with bittersweet frosting and dusted with cocoa powder, it’s a perfect confection for Fall.  Check out more divine desserts at our stock site

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Paradise Cake

{Serves 12}


3/4 (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing pan

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing pan

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sour cream


Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting:

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 3/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream

1/2 cup sour cream

Pinch of kosher salt



2 cups coarsely crushed English toffee

2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder



2 cups homemade or store-bought caramel sauce, warmed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans.  Line the bottom of the pans with parchment.  Dust the pans with flour, coating the bottom and sides, and then tap out the excess.

In a large bowl, sift together the 2 1/4 flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In another large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the 3/4 cup butter until creamy.  Add the brown sugar and continue beating for 1 minute.  Add the vanilla and continue beating until incorporated.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  The butter mixture will look separated and grainy, which is not a problem.  Beat in the sour cream and then add the flour mixture in 3 batches.  The batter will be quite thick.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, using a rubber spatula to spread evenly.

Bake the cake layers until a toothpick inserted near the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the cakes rest in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Place a rack on top of 1 cake, invert the cake and rack, and then lift off the pan.  Peel off the parchment circle.  Repeat with the second cake.  Let cool completely.

To make the bitter sweet chocolate frosting, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler or saucepan.  Place the chocolate and cream in the top of the double boiler or in a heatproof bowl placed over the pan, and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and the chocolate and cream are mixed together and smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and salt.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the frosting until it is thick enough to spread and nearly double in volume.

To assemble and decorate the cake, using a pastry brush, brush off any loose crumbs from the sides and tops of the cake layers.  Using a serrated knife, trim the domed tops of cake layers, making them level.  Place 1 layer on a cake, bottom side up.  Cut strips of waxed paper and place under the edges of the cake to keep the cake plate clean while frosting.  Spread the top layer with about one fourth of the frosting.  Top the frosting with 1/2 cup of the crushed toffee.  Place the second layer, bottom-side up, on top and gently press into place.  Spread frosting all around the sides of the cake and then frost the top.  Using the remaining toffee, press it all around the sides of the cake.  Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift a healthy dusting of cocoa powder over the top of the cake.  Carefully remove the strips of waxed paper.

When ready to serve, slice the cake and serve each centered in a pool of warm caramel sauce.


About the photographer: EJ Armstrong is the chief art and cookie addict at the Black Building. She has thirty years of experience in the visual world, making her the lead nagger, design junky and advice columnist. You can find her on Instagram @avisualist or see more of her photography here.


Posted By: EJ
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