Over-the-Top Chocolate Cake Recipe
Over-the-Top Chocolate Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Over-the-Top Chocolate Cake Recipe

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This chocolate cake looks as awesome as it tastes. The swirls of dulce de leche sauce and toffee topping make it elegant. It’s best to let the frosted cake set up in the fridge before serving.—Vanessa Johnson, Heyburn, Idaho
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1-1/2 hours Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:16 servings
Contest Winning Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1-1/2 hours Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 1 teaspoon plus 3/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Dash salt
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • CAKE:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 9 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dulce de leche, divided

Nutritional Facts

1 slice equals 781 calories, 49 g fat (24 g saturated fat), 133 mg cholesterol, 504 mg sodium, 80 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 9 g protein.


  1. Line a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan with foil and grease the foil with 1 teaspoon butter; set aside.
  2. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, salt and remaining butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 300° (hard-crack stage). Remove from the heat; stir in pecans and vanilla. Immediately pour into prepared pan. Let stand until set, about 1 hour. Break into small pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, water, milk, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
  4. Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. In a large bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a another bowl, beat cheeses until smooth; add the chocolate, confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Fold in whipped cream and 1/2 cup dulce de leche.
  6. Place bottom cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 2 cups frosting and sprinkle with 1/4 cup toffee. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
  7. Drop remaining dulce de leche by teaspoonfuls over top of cake; cut through frosting with a knife to swirl. Press remaining toffee into top and sides of cake. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 16 servings.
Editor’s Notes: We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212°. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test. This recipe was tested with Nestle dulce de leche. Look for it in the international foods section.
Originally published as Over-the-Top Chocolate Cake in Country Woman December/January 2012, p42

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Reviewed Oct. 18, 2014

"I made this cake for my husband birthday but I did not do the toffee part. My husband loved it. The cake was very moist and the filling was delicious."

Reviewed Dec. 27, 2013

"Not bad"

Reviewed Dec. 12, 2013

"This recipe was tested with Nestle La Lechera dulce de leche; look for it in the international foods section. If using Eagle Brand dulce de leche (caramel flavored sauce), thicken according to package directions before using.

Hope this helps!"

Reviewed Nov. 2, 2012

"I will be making this recipe for the third time in a day or so. It is an awesome recipe and the finished product is restaurant/fine bakery quality. I made my own dulce du leche (found a recipe on Martha Stewarts web site). The final cake has a tendency to shift with all the frosting and layers. Its a great recipe, a lot of work and steps but worth the effort for a special occasion."

Reviewed Feb. 4, 2012

"Cake and filling very light tasting.

I did not make the dulce de leche or toffee
just sprinkled a broken Hershey Bar on top"

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