Salted Chocolate Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Chocolate cake might possibly be my favorite food. I could really eat it every day and never get sick of it. I’m fairly picky about my chocolate cake and there is a lot of bad, dry chocolate cake out there. This recipe caught my eye because I love salt and chocolate together as well as brown butter, so win/win, but it has to be great if I’m going to make it repeatedly. Do you all like desserts with salt? I love them, but if you don’t, you can easily decrease the salt in this recipe to a normal level and it will still be a fantastic cake.

This cake was amazing and totally lived up to my expectations, plus it was fast and easy to make. The cake was super moist, had great flavor, perfect salt level and this brown butter frosting is pretty much perfection. I make lots of brown butter recipes but this one had an interesting twist of adding some milk powder to the browning butter to up the amount of solids to brown. You can definitely taste that and I will probably continue doing that for all my brown butter recipes in the future. For other great brown butter recipes click here.

I have added more items to my Favorite Item Links, including flaky sea salt and cocoa powder that are perfect for topping this cake. I also added a link to the powdered milk that I use. Check it out and I am adding more of my staple ingredients every day. One note about the salt used here. Kosher salt and table salt are not the same measurement since table salt is way more fine. Even brands of kosher salt aren’t the same in terms of amounts. The best way to figure out how much salt to use is to google how much an equivalent amount of the salt you have is to what the recipe asks for. I really hope you make this cake. 🙂

Salted Chocolate Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Moist chocolate cake with brown butter frosting, sprinkles and sea salt
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 1 9×13 cake


For the cake:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder link to my favorite one on the Favorites page
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp Diamond Crystal salt or 1 1/4 tsp Morton Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the Frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter room temp
  • 1/3 cup milk powder nonfat or whole is fine
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 1/2 tsp Morton salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 16 oz powdered sugar
  • sprinkles
  • flaky sea salt


For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 and line a 9×13 metal baking pan with parchment paper and spray with bakers joy or oil spray.
  • Whisk the sugar, flour and baking soda well in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, combine the cocoa powder, vegetable oil and 1 cup of hot water and whisk until the cocoa powder is incorporated. Add the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and the appropriate amount of salt depending on what kind you are using. Whisk well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and whisk gently just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and place into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan at 10 minutes. Watch closely after 15 minutes so you don't overbake it. This is key to a moist cake. A toothpick inserted in the center should have a few moist crumbs attached but no raw batter. I check my cake every minute as it gets near done.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.

For the frosting:

  • Add 1/2 stick of butter to a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium heat. Cook until the butter starts to foam and add the milk powder. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula until the mixture turns a nutty golden brown, then remove from heat and immediately stir in the cream and whisk until smooth. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool to room temp.
  • Add the frosting salt (amount depends on what kind) as well as remaining butter and vanilla to stand mixer and mix with paddle until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 8 oz powdered sugar and mix again, scraping the bowl, until well mixed. Add the browned butter and mix again. Finally add the other 8 oz of powdered sugar and mix on medium high until light and fluffy. Spread over the cooled cake and top with sprinkles and flaky salt if desired. Enjoy!
Keyword Cake, Dessert

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