This is a special time of year and I’ll tell you why; Canada will be celebrating its 150th birthday this Saturday. My twin brother and sister will also be celebrating their birthdays this Saturday since their day falls on a Monday this year – ie work day. My dad will be spending the weekend with us because Independence Day is just around the corner, which means long weekend for him too. The family will reunite once again and celebrate what surely will become a memorable weekend.
Can’t remember the last time we all got together. Since I got married 12 years ago, the entire family got together less than a handful of times. So this is a big deal.
To celebrate a very special weekend – I made cake. But not just any cake, my friends.
I give you this rich and moist Dark Chocolate Birthday Cake with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce. It is Canadian to the core. How so? It’s got maple, which is clearly Canadian. However, this decadent cake has none other than our very own Tim Horton’s coffee added to the batter. Dark Roast to be precise. Now that’s what I call a patriotic cake.
If there’s one thing to know about us Canadians, it’s that we’re quite obsessed (to put it mildly) with our Tim Horton’s Coffee. My city has a Tim’s on almost every block. It’s safe to say that Canada is known for its cold weather, breathtaking scenery, and Tim Horton’s Coffee. There’s just no other way to describe our love for it.
So incorporating Tim’s Dark Roast into this delightful Dark Chocolate Cake made complete sense. It’s Canada’s birthday cake after all :D
This recipe is a keeper for sure. And it shouldn’t just be reserved for this occasion. Take my word for it – you’ll want any excuse to make this Dark Chocolate cake with Salted Maple Caramel sauce! It’s springy, rich, robust in flavor, not overly sweet, versatile in that it complements most if not all fruit combinations, and it’s so easy to make but the outcome is spectacular. And as always, it’s an allergy friendly recipe – free from:
- tree nuts (except for pecans – omit or sub if allergic)
- animal products
I’ve also included the proper amounts if you choose to make a layered cake such as the one featured throughout this post. Or you can opt to make a single layer cake which will equally please anyone who has a slice of it.
Although I don’t drink coffee, I love the smell of it. Don’t you agree? I could literally smell coffee beans all day long and not get tired of it. It’s beautiful and I feel like it helps clear your mind somehow.
However. Let it be known that when it comes to chocolate-y type desserts, I’m all about that bean!
Coffee helps enhance the chocolate taste in desserts. It gives it more richness and depth. And this cake has just that – a dark roast blend so robust, it’ll satisfy your sweet tooth cravings without it being overly sweet.
To add a touch of elegance, I made a Salted Maple Caramel Sauce to adorn this Dark Chocolate Birthday Cake. And it isn’t salty per se; rather it has just the right amount to enhance the flavor of that maple. It’s fuss free – no thermometers or pastry brushes needed, it’s allergy free and vegan too, so that you can enjoy making it and indulging in it anytime. Once you make this salted maple caramel sauce, you’ll fall in love too. Can’t wait for you to try it :)
I know you’re going to love making this cake. It’s so simple and the ingredients are pretty much everyday staples in your pantry. The only thing you’ll need is to get yourself a Tim’s Dark Roast. Maybe get a large so that you can have a bit of coffee to go along with this cake!
And if you don’t have a Tim Horton’s where you live, then just sub with your favorite dark roast coffee and your cake will turn out great!
While we’re on the subject of cakes – Sarah from wayfair.com reached out to me to help spread the word on their recently published article highlighting bloggers who made birthday cakes to celebrate Canada’s big birthday this year. I’m happy to do it for my fellow bloggers :) So click here to see some cool cakes to help you get even more inspired this long weekend.
Happy birthday to the best country on this planet. I am a proud Canadian and I’m so grateful to call this country my home and native land.
Enjoy making this indulgent Dark Chocolate Birthday Cake smothered with Salted Maple Caramel and sprinkled with crunchy pecans!
- 1½ C all purpose flour
- ⅓ C cocoa powder
- ¾ C sugar
- ¾ Tsp baking soda
- ½ Tsp sea salt
- ½ C seed or light veggie oil
- 1 C cooled Tim's Dark Roast coffee, or dark roast coffee of choice
- 2 Tsp apple cider vinegar, or vinegar
- 1 Tsp vanilla extract
- ½ C pecans, chopped - omit or sub if allergic
- 2¼ C AP flour
- ⅓ C + 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 1½ C sugar
- 1¼ Tsp baking soda
- ¾ Tsp sea salt
- ¾ C seed or light veggie oil
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, or vinegar
- 1½ C cooled Tim's Dark Roast coffee, or dark coffee of choice
- ¾ C pecans, chopped - omit or sub if allergic
- 1 C sugar
- ½ C maple syrup
- ¾ C dairy free creamer (such as Silk/So Delicious brands) OR full fat milk, such as coconut
- ½ Tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp vegan butter, OR refined coconut oil
- ¼ Tsp lemon juice
- I used 1 tub So Delicious brand for this cake or
- You'll need about 1½ to 2 cups total of icing
- Preheat oven to 350F. Have an 7"/8" pan(s) greased and coated with cocoa powder. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add sugar and whisk to combine the dry ingredients well.
- Add oil, vinegar, and coffee, to the dry ingredients and whisk well until fully incorporated.
- Divide batter amongst prepared pans (if desired) and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes*, or until toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow cake(s) to cool slightly (at least 5-10 minutes) in the pan(s) before removing and placing onto a rack to cool completely.
- Place cake on serving plate, drizzle salted maple caramel sauce all over top of the cake, and add pecans on top, if desired. Serve immediately.
- Even out chocolate cake layers if necessary.
- Place first layer on a serving plate/pedestal, pour some maple caramel sauce in the centre and spread using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, top with some of the chopped pecans.
- Add either whipped topping or icing.
- Repeat above steps.
- For the top layer, you can dust with some icing sugar, or adorn cake with freshly cut strawberries or raspberries. Otherwise use any fresh fruits of your choosing.
- In a medium to large heavy saucepan (3 or 4 litres/quarts), add creamer/milk, sugar, maple syrup, and sea salt, and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring gently (and only if necessary), just until sugar is moistened/covered in liquid.
- Add lemon juice. No stirring!
- Allow mixture to come to a boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat back to medium low, and allow sugar mix to cook for 15 minutes. No stirring!**
- Remove pan from heat and add vegan butter/coconut oil, stirring until it's well combined with the sauce.
- Pour caramel into a glass jar (like a mason jar - something tempered), without scraping the bottom of the pan. Doing so could promote crystallization. Caramel sauce will be runny but will thicken as it cools.
** Stirring the caramel once mixture has started boiling could very well cause crystallization to happen as the caramel starts to cool down. If you see some spots aren't mixed in, you can gently tilt your saucepan to allow sugar to mix with the rest of the liquids.
. You can prepare this Salted Maple Caramel Sauce ahead of time and keep it on hand for whenever it's desired. Like everyday :D
. I've been storing my sauce in a lidded mason jar at room temp, but I'm not sure if refrigerating will preserve it longer or if it will cause it to crystallize. And I don't want to take the chance and try either! It's too good to waste :) I read that freezing caramel sauces won't cause crystallization but unsure about the fridge situation. So if anyone has personal experience with keeping caramel sauces fresh then I'd love to know!
. If maple caramel sauce is too thick to pour or use, place it in a warm bath water to help soften it and make it a bit more liquid-y. But you shouldn't have any trouble with this recipe if you follow the instructions as described.
. *UPDATE* I made this cake a third time but brewed my own Arabic/Turkish coffee this time around. Talk about intense (in a good way)! So, if you're craving even more depth in flavor with a delightful coffee aroma, then substitute for the same amount as the drip coffee (like Tim Horton's or the like) in this already amazing recipe, and you'll be blown away. Promise.