I have to say this is one of my favorite cakes I have made in a long time. Not only am I a sucker for salty and sweet, but this one was so easy to make and is a showstopper!
This chocolate cake recipe is made even easier with a box mix and some supermarket shortcuts!
One of the best parts of this cake is that we use a box cake mix, which not only saves time and ingredients but is your best bet to getting a fluffy, moist cake in the end. While I prepared this cake in a loaf pan, another benefit of the cake mix is that the box will tell you how to adjust the oven temperature and bake time, if you would prefer a round cake or cupcakes. Besides, the cake mix, the toppings for this cake require essentially no effort on your part to make the cake look gorgeous but they also taste awesome (I mean, it’s chocolate, caramel and pretzels, right?).
Another bonus is that this cake can be made the night before, wrapped in foil, and stored in the refrigerator overnight. You’ll want to wait to add the glaze and pretzels no more than a couple of hours before your guests arrive to keep the pretzels from getting soggy.
Using chocolate porter amps up the chocolate flavor and adds a bit of malty notes too…think a chocolate malt in cake form, yes please!
This cake is made with beer, which gives it a more sophisticated flavor than your standard box mix. You definitely don’t want to substitute something hoppy or fruity like an IPA or wheat beer, but a coffee porter or even a stout could also work in this recipe. Also, if you are worried about kids digging into the cake, there is less than one bottle of beer in the entire recipe plus the vast majority of the alcohol cooks off during baking. However, if the alcohol is an issue, feel free to just use water and the cake would still be delicious!
Chocolate Porter Cake
1 box Devil’s Food Cake mix
1 Cup (or amount of water called for by cake mix) Chocolate Porter beer
1/3 Cup (or amount called for by cake mix) Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs (or amount called for by cake mix)
1/3 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Caramel Glaze and Pretzels
15 Caramels (sold individually wrapped)
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Pretzels
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Prepare your loaf pan with cooking spray then toss about 2 tablespoons of the cake mix into the pan. Tap the dry cake mix around the pan to coat the bottom and sides. Any leftover cake mix can be added back to your mixing bowl.
- In the mixing bowl, combine the cake mix with the vegetable oil and eggs as the package describes. Substitute the chocolate porter beer for the water and mix all ingredients together using a hand mixer on medium for about two minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Transfer the cake mix into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 40-55 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness (i.e. insert a toothpick into the top center of the cake and it should come out clean or with cooked crumbs).
- Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to help remove the cake from the pan. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least another 15-20 minutes.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the caramel glaze by combining the unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 3-4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until fully melted and combined.
- Poke the top of the cake with a toothpick to allow the glaze to be better absorbed, then pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Top with pretzels and serve!