Sweet & Salty Millionaire’s Layer Cake

Hello, hello! After many, many months of devoted book creating, I’m excited to be back here with you, blogging on a regular basis! I’m also incredibly eager to share my book with you all, once it’s printed and released–it has been, wow, an incredible learning experience. It’s still kind of surreal to me that a book with my name on it will actually exist. A dream come true, for certain.

So . . . cake! And not just cake–the most decadent sweet & salty cake you could ever imagine. I call this layer cake “Sweet & Salty Millionaire’s Layer Cake” because it is my take on those ridiculously addicting Millionaire’s Bars–you know the ones: buttery shortbread topped with gooey caramel and a layer of rich, shiny chocolate. If that doesn’t beg to become a layer cake, I don’t know what does.

So I baked up 3 layers of dark, moist chocolate cake, torted them into a total of 6 thinner layers, and then filled them with vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream, homemade salted caramel, buttery shortbread crumble and dark chocolate ganache frosting. To finish it off, we smother the whole thing in a generous layer of more dark chocolate ganache frosting and a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel. I find that the satiny vanilla bean buttercream really balances out the intensity of the dark chocolate and sweet and salty caramel, and the shortbread adds an amazing melt-in-your-mouth textural surprise.

The ganache frosting is essentially a typical ganache (an emulsion of dark chocolate and heavy cream), but with some corn syrup and butter added in to keep it luscious and glossy and a pinch of sea salt to celebrate our love for sweet & salty.  I used a really dark chocolate this time, at 70% cocoa solids, but you could use any quality dark chocolate with at least 53% cocoa solids. I was almost out of the usual dark chocolate callets I love to use from Callebaut, so I bought 2 ginormous (300 grams each) premium chocolate bars, chopped them up and tossed in 100 grams of the chocolate callets I had left. With the super-sweetness of the caramel, I love the deep, dark chocolate frosting.

The 3-ingredient shortbread component is so quick and easy, and these bits & boulders of buttery love are just what this cake needed to really pay homage to the Millionaire’s Bars it was inspired by. Heck, they would even make an amazing little ice cream topping, along with the salted caramel perhaps? The salted caramel is so much easier to make than you might think and, as you might imagine, it can be used for so many things–pancakes, waffles, dipping apples, and more. You don’t have to “salt” it, but I feel it really heightens the natural caramel flavour and added vanilla.

One thing I’ve discovered is that when making ganache of any kind, an immersion hand blender (you know, the “stick” type hand blenders) works best to create perfectly homogenous ganache that won’t threaten to separate and become grainy. You can certainly use a whisk, but if you have an immersion blender I feel it works just that much better. I included 2 layers of ganache in the cake layers because I felt that 5 layers of caramel could be a little much, but maybe I’m crazy. So you could always keep the ganache as the frosting and fill all of the layers with the buttercream, caramel and shortbread. I’m thinking there’s no wrong way of doing this, you know?

So, here’s the recipe for this sweet & salty Millionaire’s Layer Cake along with a quick list of the layer-pattern of this cake:

buttercream + caramel + shortbread
buttercream + caramel + shortbread
buttercream + caramel + shortbread

Millionaire’s Layer Cake

Yield: One 6-layer, 8-inch round cake

Dark moist chocolate cake filled with satiny vanilla bean buttercream, homemade salted caramel, buttery shortbread crumble, dark chocolate ganache and frosted with more ganache and a sprinkling of sea salt.


    For the Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 1/4 cups (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (450 g) superfine sugar
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) dark Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (10 g) baking soda
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (8 g) salt
  • 1 cup (240 mL) buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) brewed coffee or espresso, hot
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoons (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • For the Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) sugar
  • 2 cups (454 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, seeded and scraped
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the Salted Caramel:
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • Generous pinch of sea salt (I used Fleur de Sel)
  • For the Shortbread Crumbs:
  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
  • For the Ganache Frosting:
  • 1 pound plus 6 ounces (700 g) best-quality dark chocolate (at least 53% cocoa solids), chopped or callets
  • 2 cups (480 ml) heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1/3 cup (110 g) corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (120 g) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract


    For the Chocolate Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.
  2. Into the bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large measuring cup with a spout, combine the buttermilk, coffee, oil, eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide batter among the 3 cake pans (weigh batter for even layers at about 520 grams per cake pan).
  5. Bake 2 of the layers until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs, about 20-25 minutes. Try not to over-bake. Repeat with the final layer. Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack until completely cool.
  6. For the Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
  7. Wipe the bowl and whisk of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 130°F, or if you don't have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot, about 8-10 minutes.
  8. Place bowl back on mixer and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes, or longer). Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add softened butter in chunks until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Increase speed to medium and beat until the mixture becomes thick and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add vanilla bean paste and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
  10. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more, but always add the vanilla first, as it brings out the true taste of the other flavours. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, refrigerated for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature. Bring chilled buttercream back to smooth consistency by bringing to room temperature and then beating on low speed with an electric mixer for a few minutes.
  11. For the Salted Caramel:
  12. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir the sugar and water until combined. Brush down the sides of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush and increase the heat to medium-high.
  13. Stop stirring, and let the mixture bubble until it reaches an amber colour (about 350°F). Promptly remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream (be careful, as this will bubble and steam aggressively for a moment) until smooth, followed by the butter.
  14. Clip a candy thermometer onto the saucepan and return the mixture to medium-high heat until it reaches 248°F). Transfer the caramel to the heatproof bowl and stir in the vanilla and sea salt. As the caramel reaches room temperature it will become thick and spreadable. Store in a sealed jar in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
  15. For the Shortbread Crumbs:
  16. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
  17. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers, until you have distributed the butter and achieved pea-size bits. Turn the mixture in an even layer onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the tray from the oven and, using a heatproof spatula, gently break up the mixture and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Let tray cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
  18. For the Ganache Frosting:
  19. Place chopped chocolate (or callets) in a large heatproof mixing bowl (I find a stainless 5QT mixer bowl works well).
  20. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, corn syrup and salt and bring just to a boil. Pour hot cream mixture over the chocolate and let sit for about 1 minute. Using an immersion blender (or whisk, if necessary) combine the chocolate mixture until smooth. Add butter and vanilla and mix again until smooth. Mixture with thicken to spreadable frosting consistency, and eventually become solid at room temperature. To soften, simply warm and bring to desired consistency.
  21. Assembly of the Sweet & Salty Millionaire's Layer Cake:
  22. Prepare your fillings and frosting and ensure they are all at spreadable consistency. For the ganache, this will take about 15-30 minutes after making it, and about 30-60 minutes for the caramel. If you have made ahead, simply warm the ganache and let cool until spreadable, and do the same for the caramel.
  23. Slice all three cake layers in half horizontally, so you have a total of 6 cake layers.
  24. Smear a small dollop of the ganache frosting on a cake plate, pedestal or cake board, and place your first layer cut side up (so bottom of the cake layer is touching plate), and using a small offset palette knife, spread about 1 cup of buttercream on the layer leaving about 1-inch around the edge, followed by one-third of the caramel and then a generous handful of shortbread crumble. Place your next cake layer on top, and spread about 1 cup of the ganache frosting all the way to the edge.
  25. Repeat previous step until you get to the final cake layer. Place last layer face down (cut side down) and frost entire cake with the ganache frosting. Let sit for about 15 minutes and then finish with a thick "coat" of more ganache frosting.
  26. Use a turntable and palette knife to create texture (as in photo)--use one hand to turn the turntable and hold the palette knife in the other hand. Keep palette knife in place and let the turntable do the moving. Use a small offset palette knife to create texture on the top of the cake and sprinkle on some Fleur de Sel. Finished cake can be kept at room temperature for up to 8 hours. Keep refrigerated if longer than 8 hours, but serve at room temperature.

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

  • For the chocolate cake layers, I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute Dutch-process cocoa powder, but you can use any quality dark Dutch-process variety of your choice.
  • I have become rather fond of using vanilla bean paste instead of actual vanilla beans, as it’s convenient and more affordable.
  • When you make the ganache frosting, you’ll notice that it’s a bit jiggly and gelatinous looking as it sets, but as soon as you being to spread it, it becomes smooth, glossy and glorious.
  • Most cake does best at room temperature in terms of staying moist and fresh, but when it comes to building layer cakes, sometimes there’s no choice but to pop it in and out of the fridge a few times to stabilize it (especially when you get into sky-scraping layer cakes). That being said, I recommend only putting most cakes the fridge between the crumb coat and final coat of frosting, or if you feel that things are getting a little wobbly and you want to firm it up before carrying on. For this cake, I didn’t refrigerate it at all, so you will likely find that you won’t need to either. I was able to avoid the fridge between the crumb coat and final coat of ganache frosting because it begins to dry out at room temperature, sealing all of the crumbs.

Good luck & enjoy!


Share the Sweetness!


  1. says

    Congratulations on finishing your first book, what an accomplishment! I really can’t wait to see it in stores. :-) So happy to see you back blogging and delighting us with your wonderful creations. This cake looks so DECADENT. I completely agree those millionaire bars are incredibly addicting, can’t wait to try!

  2. says

    So, so happy to see you back blogging Rosie (and so excited for the book!) This cake is a suitably decadent and delicious way to mark your return – I do so love those millionaire bars but you’ve just gone and made the whole thing a hundred times better!

  3. says

    I’ve missed you, Rosie! So glad you’re back blogging! But, I think this recipe is worth the wait. ;)I’ll make it this weekend and I’ll tell you how it turned out. Can’t wait to have your wonderful book in my hands!

  4. Lynn says

    Glad to see you are back. Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe. I made a very similar cake years ago called Chocolate Sundae Cake. Can’t wait to try this one.

  5. says

    This cake is beyond amazing!! I’ve missed your blog posts, but I am so, so excited about your cookbook. I love that you turned millionaires shortbread bars into a cake! And gosh, it looks divine!

  6. says

    Oh my wow. This looks INCREDIBLE. Will be high on my “to make” list after Lent is over and I can eat chocolate again. I never thought of putting shortbread into a cake filling- now I’m thinking it would be great with vanilla sponge, cream cheese frosting, strawberries, and shortbread- to make a kind of strawberry cheesecake cake. Hmm…!

    Alice xx | The Cup and Saucer

  7. Kathleen says

    It truly looks like perfection. Beautiful to behold and to eat! But it makes me exhausted just thinking about trying to make it. I guess at 71, my baking adventures have taken on the word “easy” in the recipes I make! Still love to bake but not at that level!

  8. says

    Ahhh you’re back! You were most definitely missed. I’m so excited for your book to launch, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! This cake looks incredible. So excited to see what you post next!

  9. Sim says

    Yay!!! You’re back!!! Congratulations on finishing your book; can’t wait for it to hit the shelves so i can go grab my copy!! And this new cake looks heavenly!!!

  10. Shauna says

    Yay! So happy that you’re back. I follow many blogs but yours is by far my favorite! Can’t wait to purchase you’re new book – I’m sure it’s fab.

  11. LilC says

    Oh, my! I wish I had WonkaVision so I could taste a piece of this decadent cake! Just beautiful! Your chocoholic fan!

  12. says

    My gosh! The way this cake looks! And with chocolate and caramel , my two favorites! Wow! I really need a special occasion to bake this ASAP! Can’t wait for your book! :) Your work is amazing!

  13. Lisbet diemer says

    How many servings Pr. Cake as dessert ? Plan to serve something something small and Cake, 8 -12 or?
    Looking forward to your book. Thank you , lisb.

  14. joan trueblood says

    OMG! I am SO going to make this. I have a friends’ birthday coming up in April, and this will be THE cake. I love the idea of the crunchy shortbread pieces in the middle of the cake to give it some texture. Simply brilliant. I might try to use Christina Tosi’s “milk crumb” as a substitute for the shortbread. I love that milk crumb and have added it to many cookie batches, but I never thought of putting it in cake.

  15. Coralie says

    I’m so happy That you’re back to publishing!
    I actually live in France (Well on Normandy) and when I found your blog It was like… I can’t explain It but I was just impatient to try all Of your amazing cakes ! I’ve already tested some Of them (with swiss meringue buttercream) and That was really good even if sometimes I added french’s tips.
    So thanks for puting your creations in my french kitchen ! And for not using only american/english graduations for your french fan !
    (Ps: are we going to be able to buy your book in France ? Or by Internet ?)

  16. says

    Congrats on your book, that’s so exciting. This cake sounds incredible. My bday is at the end of the month and I’ve been trying to decide what cake to make. This one is definitely a contender jow.

  17. Erica says

    Congrats on your book, I can’t wait to buy it! I have been using your recipes for a few years now and love them!

  18. says

    I’ve never heard of a Millionaire Bar (we are quite deprived in Australia) but I might just have to give this a go – it sounds divine.

    I can’t wait for your book Rosie! I hope it will be available to us down here.

  19. Dani says

    i can NOT wait to make this!! i’ve made the campfire one SEVERAL times – and it is amazing!! i am NO doubt that this will be too!! :)

  20. Susan Dai says

    You are winning me over to the chocolate side! This cake looks fantastic; I may need to make it for my birthday next week! I made the raspberry chocolate truffle cake – wow! (Step one in my chocolate conversion). I also loved the zingy ginger carrot cake and had many requests for the recipe. Keep baking and sharing your beautiful cakes!

  21. Sevka says

    So happy to see you’re back! Congratulations on finishing your book, can’t wait to get it. I hope it will be available in Australia :)

  22. says

    Rosie, I have been anxiously waiting for a new post from “Sweetapolita” in my in-box and was thrilled to see this one today!! What a great cake to enter back into the blogging world with! I can’t wait to try it! And…..I cannot wait for your cookbook to come out! Any idea of timeframe? I wish you the best with it! I know it will be a huge hit!

  23. Catherine says

    THANK THE GODS, you’re back! My heart would sink when I would check your site for a new post and not find one. Congrats on the book. I’ll be giving it to myself and all the ladies in my life.

  24. Jolena says

    Well, you certainly know how to make a come back entrance!! This looks divinefully sinful. Cannot wait to try it or pick up a copy of your book. WELCOME BACK!!!!!

  25. Jill says

    I am making a version of this cake for my mom’s birthday tomorrow. I made the caramel this morning but only realized as I was about to add the vanilla that there isn’t an amount listed. I checked with another version of caramel and guessed to add about 2 tsp. Could you correct the amount in the recipe?
    My plan is to make a two layer version of the chocolate cake and split the layers, then fill with ganache and caramel and frost with my mom’s favorite fudge frosting. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks Rosie!

    • Jill says

      Ok, so I have no idea what went wrong with this caramel but it was fine while I made it and fine when I tasted it and I poured it into a bowl to cool and then it just crusted over and became a thick, grainy mess. I ended up tossing it and making the salted caramel from your Salted Caramel Chocolate Fudge cake recipe. That one came out perfectly, as always. Made a lot less but I don’t think I will need that much to fill my cake. I’m glad I made the fillings ahead of time since I would have been a wreck if I had to start over tomorrow!

      • Helene says

        I tried the caramel twice and had the same problem as you. Finally I used a recipe I found on a French site where there is more butter and cream in proportion to the sugar and it worked fine. I didn’t have any problem with the rest of the recipe.

        • Jill says

          I finished the cake and it was delicious! Very rich and moist and everyone loved it. This was just the cake itself, I did my own fillings/frosting as I described above. I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder b/c that’s what my local grocery store has and it was very good.

          • Helene says

            I brought mine to work today and my colleagues loved it, they said it was a “tuerie” which means slaughter, not sure how it translates in English, killer cake? I made it exactly as in the recipe except for the caramel. I used Barry Extra Brute cocoa powder too, and Barry 70% chocolate from Saint-Domingue. The shortbread crumbs are a really nice touch, many people appreciated the crunchy texture but only one guessed what it was.

        • says

          Hi ladies,

          That’s really strange–I’m sorry to hear that! I double-checked the recipe, and it is the recipe I use, but I will go and make another quick batch to see what happens. I will let you know what happens. xo

          • Helene says

            Thanks Rosie! The second time, I tried cooking it for a longer time at the end, and that second batch didn’t end up completely solid as the first had, but still after cooling it re-crystallized and became too thick and grainy. I thought maybe I didn’t have the correct pan or burner or my thermometer was off. Or French sugar behaves badly!

          • says

            Hi again, ladies! Okay, so I just made the batch again, exactly as listed, and it did work just fine. Hmm. When you mention crystallization, all I can conclude is that possibly the sides of the saucepan weren’t dampened enough, or the mixture was stirred or mixed while on the heat. I will take a quick photo as soon as mine as thickened completely, to show you the desired results. I hope that helps! xo

          • Helene says

            OK thanks for checking. I did dampen the sides and I didn’t stir while heating the caramel. It looked great even after adding the cream and butter, it was only as it started cooling that it started to go grainy. Ah well the mysteries of caramel…
            Now I wonder, what will you do with this new batch of caramel?

          • Helene says

            It looks delicious! Well if you’re in Paris one of these days I could use a caramel master class from you!

          • Jill says

            Thanks for checking it out. I didn’t stir it, and I used a pastry brush to wet the sides just before turning the heat on. I did swirl the pan gently a couple of times while it was boiling and I was constantly taking the temperature the first go round, so maybe I just fussed with it too much. Like I said, it was fine until it cooled and then it was just a thick grainy mess.

  26. Kelli says

    Hi Rosie! I’m wondering could I bake this cake in a jelly roll pan and cut out circles to make individual cakes for a seated dinner for dessert.

  27. says

    Yay! So glad you’re back- I was dying when I went for months on end without cake posts, then- ta da! More cake! Do you know the exact date for the book release? Thanks!


  28. says

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify
    me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now
    on each time a comment is added I get 4 emails
    with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service?
    Thank you!

  29. Dina says

    So happy you’re back, Rosie! I’ve missed your incredible creations!!
    I’ve made this chocolate cake recipe twice now and even after chilling the layers, I always have a hard time cutting them because the cake is quite sticky. How do you manage to cut your cakes when using this chocolate cake recipe? On a separate note, I just made a 3 layer cake and it came out so short! It looked like it was just 2 layers. I’ve been using 9 inch pans and filling them 3/4 of the way. I know you generally use 8 inch pans but I’m wondering if perhaps your pans are taller than mine. How high are your pans? I so want my cakes to be as gorgeously tall as yours! And finally, we have a major dairy allergy in my family, so all my buttercream must be dairy free. Can you make Swiss Meringue Buttercream dairy free? I’ve resorted to making sugary frosting with margarine, but it doesn’t hold up as well as your SMB, from what I can tell from your pictures.


  30. krista says

    I made this cake over the weekend and, as usual, it was roundly applauded. I have literally made more than two dozen of your recipes, and several of them many times over in countless variations, to the point that people now ask me to bake for wedding showers and other special occasions. I always make a point to credit your blog because I’m confident that my success has everything to do with your well-tested recipes. It would almost be fraudulent to neglect to mention the recipe’s origin! I bake very often, and this blog is the most consistently excellent resource in terms of recipe descriptions and successful outcomes. When I encourage friends to bake, I always give them this blog name. Those who have taken the challenge have overwhelmingly had great results when they follow your recipes. Thank you!

    • Krista says

      Oh, and just to clarify, I only bake for friends and would never dream of charging money, so there’s no stealing of intellectual property or potential income here! :)

  31. Isabel says

    OMG!! Just made your caramel and used 1 1/2 cups if coconut sugar 1/2 cup organic white sugar…It never made it to 350 degrees, but pulled from heat when became darker (coconut sugar is already dark) @260 degrees and whisked in cream and then butter, then returned to med-high heat until 248 degrees. Delicious!!! It may not last until cake and cookies are made!! Thank you!!!

  32. Maurfsm says

    Made the cake and paired with dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache. Moist chocolatey. Divine! Out of curiosity, do you think the cake is stable enough under fondant? Thanks

  33. glo says

    This cake looks wonderful. I have actually never heard of a Millionaire candy bar!! But now I am keeping watch for them!! Must try this cake…thanks!

  34. Angelina says

    All I can say is AMAZING! I can’t wait to try this cake! I have been making your cakes for a few years now, and every person that has tried my cakes fall in love with them! I just love the way you create such simple, beautiful and amazingly tasty cakes time and time again! Thank you so much for what you do, you have totally inspired me with my own passion for baking. I am no longer interested in all the technical novelty cakes, with fondant, and figurines. I’d rather a beautifully butter cream frosted cakes, and I am on a mission to share this others too! So thank you Rosie xxx

  35. Tanya says

    Thank you for this wonderful recipie! I made it for my hubby’s 30th Birthday!
    He loved it, and so all the guests! Great recipie and so easy to follow, but requires to prep all the components at least a day or two ahead. Wish I could post a picture of what I made;)
    Thanks a Million!!!!

  36. says

    hooray rosie!!! i am so thrilled for your impending book, but even more excited to see you back bloggin’ away! um, shortbread cookie crumbs is a genius idea! this cake looks extremely, deeply drool-worthy!!! xo

  37. Leah says

    Hi Rosie,
    I’m looking forward to making this spectacular cake. My son has an egg allergy and while can tolerate the egg baked into the cake, he has a reaction to any meringue buttercream icing. If I use the whipped vanilla icing from you Perfectly Delightful Birthday Cake post, do you think that would work? Thanks for the advice.

  38. says

    Oohhh dear, take me to chocolate heaven with this cake, please! Seriously, this cake looks wonderful. Although… with all those beautiful components, I’m afraid the cake won’t reach the assembled-stage in my house; I have a SO who ‘tastes’ every stage of my bakings.

    • Denise hammons says

      Cupcakes would be amazing! If you incorporated the caramel into the SMB icing, then filled the cupcakes with this and a sprinkle of shortbread crumbles, I would think that would work well. Top w/ icing and and sea salt as usual. Should be a winner!!
      Hope you try and let me know if it works!

  39. Eugenia says

    I made this cake for Easter ! It is, as all your recipes I have already made , absolutely delicious! Thank you for your fantastic cakes!

  40. Stephanie says

    Hi Rosie, I tried the caramel, and just like a few others, I had problems with it…I saw your pictures after, and it did not look like yours :-( I did work with the thermometer, didn’t stir while heating, brushed the side, but it didn’t take long to realize that it would turn into some kind of cross between a grainy cream fudge and soft caramel candy… The culprit for some of us might be the thermometer. I usually calibrate my thermometer BEFORE, but exceptionally this time I forgot… I just checked and water boils around 95-96, max. Result, my caramel was most likely overcooked! I will try again tomorrow with the right adjustments!

  41. gerri says

    I am so glad you are back to blogging! You have been missed. Congrats on finishing the book and I can’t wait to buy it. This cake looks amazing and I am going to attempt making it.

  42. niki says

    would love to try this recipe out..why had you added corn syrup to the ganache..can I omit it as unable to find it..or is there a subtitute?

  43. says

    Hi Rosie, I made this cake for mother’s day on Sunday. WOW!!! What a cake. I think this must be the best cake I have ever made. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  44. Ulrike says

    Hello Rosie,
    thank you for all your Inspiration on this blog! i wanted to ask one thing:
    is the ganache frosting pipable? I am looking for a chocolate frosting that is not overly sweet, but still thick and pipable!
    Thanks in advance,

  45. says

    I just thought you’d like to know that I made this AMAZING cake for a homeless guy’s birthday today. He’s 28 – never really had a home, and has never had a birthday cake just for him in his whole life, not even as a child. So, I scoured your site and picked this one and it was amazing. I made him a 6″ version just for him and brought the leftovers in cupcake form (they baked beautifully) and let my cooking class at the homeless church build their own cupcakes. Everyone loved it and I think he felt really special. So…thank you for this recipe. It was perfect in every way, cut beautifully and I just think if it was my recipe, I’d like to know that it was the very first birthday cake for someone who lives on the street. :) God bless you and this site!

  46. Trista says

    Hi Rosie :)
    I LOVED this recipe – it turned out great!! The shortbread in the cake – fantastic idea!! I thought it a little strange at first, but now, I TRUST YOUR JUDGEMENT :D
    I brought this for a family get together, and wished SO much for leftovers to take home….
    A question an the vanilla paste: are you using Nelson maisey? I tried theirs, but mine had a ..dirty, sandy, taste..think I had a bad batch? Or do you have another brand to recommend??


  47. Kara says

    I made this cake today for my daughter and husbands birthday. I had a slight problem with the caramel as it seems to be very thick. Not grainy or anything like that, just thick. I found it hard to spread even after I heated it a little. The caramel is delicious and as a matter of fact I made truffles with the leftover caramel and ganache!
    We haven’t cut the cake yet to see if the caramel cuts properly or pulls apart in a clump. I will update my post :)
    You are my go to girl when I need to make a cake. I have baked several and they have all came out incredible! Can’t wait to buy your cookbook!

  48. Elise says

    Hi Rosie! I love love love this recipe! I’ve made it once and it was so good but I did have a small problem with my caramel, it seemed to cook just fine but as it cooled it kept crusting over and had a slight powdery taste after I’d kept mixing it as it cooled. Is this normal? or have I done something wrong?

    thank you!

  49. charlee says

    Hi, i was just wondering if the corn syrup is nessessary in the ganache and what it actually does to it allong with the butter oppossed to general ganache with just chocolate and cream.

  50. Rach162 says

    I made this cake recently for my sisters birthday and everybody LOVED it! They said it was the best cake they have ever had! This is a great recipe and really well explained, even to myself who has never made caramel before. I had plenty of caramel and shortbread left so I made up some ice cream and it too tastes amazing with these additions. Thanks so much for posting and I can’t wait for your book!

  51. Sarah says

    Hi Rosie.

    Thank-you for this incredible recipe! I have attempted a few of your recipes so far (and you are my go to chick for swiss buttercream!) and tonight the Millionaire’s Layer Cake is a go. RIght now, the caramel and the ganache are cooling, the buttercream is firming up in the fridge and the shortbread is toasting. Wish me luck! Individually, it already tastes fantastic so I can’t wait to share this at my family reunion tomorrow!

  52. tina says

    Hi Rosie,
    My caramel became hard now that it cooled. Like crunchy hard. Did I cook it too much? I am afraid to layer the Cake with it as I don’t want it to solidify and then I Wont be able to cut the cake. What do you think? Should I scrap it and try again? I heated the caramel back up to 120degree celcius.

  53. says

    Hi Rosie

    What a wonderful looking cake, I’m going to try making it for a bake off in a couple of weeks! I just wanted to ask, because there will be a lot of other baked goods, I want to make a 6 inch cake. How would I proportion the recipe properly for a 6 inch cake with 6 layers instead of an 8 inch? :)

    Thanks so much!!

  54. Raffaele says


    Am going to make this amazing cake for a friend’s 25th birthday. However, just one question re. the coffee?

    I’m not about to ask you how much coffee to use, and that’d be impossible for you to try and work out. Rather, how strong is the 180ml of brewed coffee you use? Super strong? Quite weak? Somewhere in between? Any of those will give me an idea of how much to use :)

    All the best


  55. Laura B says

    Rosie – This cake was a huge hit! So amazing! I didn’t have 3 8″ cake pans, so used 2 9″. Only did ganache in between layers once & put the buttercream, shortbread, & caramel on top of the top layer before covering it in ganache. Can’t imagine what 6 layers would’ve tasted like! Thanks so much for sharing!

  56. Chantal says

    I made this cake for my husband’s birthday. It was SO delicious. However, I failed at making the caramel THREE times and ended up buying store bought salted caramel sauce (which was amazing and way easier haha). Do you have any tips? I followed your instructions perfectly every time.


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