Millionaire Cake

Millionaire cake

Chocolate? Check.

Caramel? Check.

Cookie Crunch? Check.

Vanilla? Check.

HIIT Cardio done? Check. Check.

This cake has it all. Anything and everything a millionaire could want all wrapped up in one 6″ round. I totally get why this is called a Millionaire Cake because it is so rich and decadent. Except it doesn’t have any of the attitude a millionaire may have. No, this cake just wraps you up in love and gives you little kisses. Trust me…..who needs money when you can just have this cake?

The inspiration for this cake came from The Cake Bake Shop, just named for the best chocolate cake in Food and Wine Magazine in Indianapolis. So you know they’re delivering some good stuff. There’s also a Millionaire cookie. It has a shortbread cookie crust, layered with caramel and chocolate. Throw all that into a cake and smother it in chocolate fudge frosting? Yep. I’m on it.

First step is to make the shortbread cookies.


Luckily shortbread cookies are one of the simplest cookies on earth to make. Four ingredients later and you have cookies!

Next the chocolate cake, one of the easiest cakes to make! Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, mix wet in another, mix them together and your done! The tricky part is making sure that all the batter is measured out evenly in the baking pans. The scale is key. I weighed my mixing bowl before I started, took note of the weight, then once all the ingredients were in the bowl mixed together I weighed it again. Noted the difference and divided the total by 3 (I had three 6″ cake pans). I know…I know. Math. But I’ve accepted its part of baking. And lifting. And life for that matter. Dang it, I really did need it after all. So there’s that.

I set each cake pan on the scale and weighed out the perfect amount of batter in each pan. Seems complicated, but it actually makes the process really simple. Takes all the guess work out. All the bending and stooping looking through one eye trying to see if all the pans are equal. Setting them side by side trying to look for level heights. Save your sanity and buy a scale.

So while the cakes cool I start the process of making the caramel, vanilla buttercream and the chocolate fudge frosting. Each of these steps are not super complicated individually. However, when made for one cake it can feel a bit overwhelming. Anytime you jump into the process of starting a new recipe, no matter if you’ve made the individual components a million times, it’s really important to read over the recipe several times. Think about the timing of each component . Be thinking about mixing time, baking time, cooling time etc. Helps to make the process organized and efficient.

For this cake I started the vanilla buttercream and the caramel at the same time. I know I don’t have to “watch” the butter whip. I do however need to watch the sugar caramelize, but only at the very end. So I know I can whip butter at the same time I stand and watch caramel. Then next thing you know both things are done at the same time!

Last step was making the Chocolate fudge frosting. Same process as making buttercream, only added step is melting chocolate. Which I had accomplished while making the caramel and buttercream. That’s a step that doesn’t involve much, except to stir a couple of times just to ensure even melting. Plus I wanted to give it time to cool.

Now its time to assemble. Exciting!! But this is where it starts to get real. You have all the components to the cake made. They all taste great by themselves. But now you have to put it all together in the right balance and hope you get it right. There’s really no turning back once you get it all stacked and frosted, you just hope for the best. At least that’s how I roll. I think I got this one right. For my first go of taking several different recipes to compile one cake, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.



I really like the fudge frosting because for someone who lacks the skill to make perfectly flat, smooth vanilla buttercream cakes, this frosting is so easy to work with. Very forgiving.

After tasting the constructed cake, I definitely loved the moistness of the cake. It has a great rich flavor with a perfect chocolate cake consistency. The only thing I would’ve done differently is added more caramel and cookies. They both kind of got lost in the chocolateness of the cake. So when you make this, don’t be shy with the caramel!! With New Years Eve around the corner this would be an awesome cake for any party!

Here’s how to whip this cake up!

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups or 180g all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups or 300 g sugar
  • 3/4 cup or 90g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp or 6g baking soda
  • 1 tsp or 4g baking powder
  • 1 tsp or 5g salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 350º. Prepare three 6″ round cake pans with butter, flour and parchment paper for the bottom.

In the bowl of an electric mixer sift together all dry ingredients. In another medium bowl whisk together all wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients into dry and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Using a digital scale, divide batter equally between each cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate pans and bake for another 5-10 minutes until wooden skewer comes out clean. Do not over bake!

Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes then, loosen from pan with knife and invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Heat oven to 325 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in about 3 cups of flour and salt until the dough starts to take shape. Keep adding flour until your dough starts to resemble play dough. It should not be too sticky. Remove from bowl and toss out onto a floured surface. Kneed dough a few times to make into a round then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3o minutes.

Roll out dough to 1/2″ thick and cut into squares/bars/shapes. For the purpose of this cake, it doesn’t matter much because it’s going to be crumbled. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Let cool on wire rack, then crumble into 1/2″ sized pieces.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment whip butter on medium/high speed for about 6 minutes until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and whip for another 6 minutes. Your buttercream should be really light and fluffy.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 heavy cream
  • 2 tbs butter
  • generous pinch of sea salt

In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat sugar and water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Heat until the sugar turns a dark amber color. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the cream, while whisking. Put back on low heat and stir in butter and add sea salt. Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof container. Set aside.


Chocolate Fudge Frosting

  • 1/4 cup + plus 2tbsp (45 g) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup + 2tbsp (90ml) boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks, 341 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (63 grams) confectioners sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 pound (454 grams) good quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Over a double boiler, melt semi sweet chocolate, set aside and let cool. Add cocoa powder and boiling water together in a glass measuring cup and stir until smooth and cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, whip butter, sugar and salt on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and add in cooled melted chocolate, beating until combined, scraping down sided of bowl as needed.

Beat in the cocoa mixture until well incorporated.

Assemble Cake

Trim tops off the three cakes layers to make flat, even cakes.

Place one cake layer on cake stand. Add layer of chocolate fudge frosting. Next pipe a thick layer of vanilla buttercream, leaving and inch from outside of cake. Sprinkle a good handful of shortbread cookies over buttercream. Then drizzle caramel over the cookies. Next carefully place second layer of chocolate cake on top. Repeat with second layer.

After the third and final layer is added on top, frost entire cake with a crumb coat of the chocolate fudge frosting. Place in refrigerator to chill for about 10-15 minutes. Once the first layer of frosting has had a chill, remover cake and frost with final layer of chocolate fudge frosting.

Lastly, sprinkle top of cake with shortbread cookie crumbs and drizzle with caramel. Place in fridge to chill and set. Remove cake about 30 minutes prior to serving.






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