This Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake is rich, delicious and the perfect cake for a chilly, fall day. Serve it with a cup of your favorite coffee for truly delightful dessert.
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I started baking years and years ago, while working through my teaching career. There’s something uniquely soothing about piping frosting, coming home to bake a batch of chocolate cupcakes, or trying a new recipe for the first time – I’ll tell you that much for free.
I still find piping frosting to be extra therapeutic and I was really in the mood for a delicious, decadent, beautiful chocolate cake, and here she is.
The base recipe for this cake is one of the most popular recipes on my site, find it here! I decided to update it a bit with a salted caramel twist which paired perfectly with its dark, moist, rich and incredibly decadence flavors. Seriously, it’s the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted and getting creative with the frosting and toppings is one of my favorite parts about baking.
Today, I’m going to walk you through the process of shooting this Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake. We’ll discuss gear, props, ingredients, and photo editing so you can see exactly what I did.
I love photography because I feel as though it is constantly evolving and it’s one facet of blogging that keeps me learning. From updated equipment and software to shooting on new surfaces, photography never leaves me feeling bored.
I photograph food several times a week, sometimes the process is pretty simple, but other times, it’s not that easy. Especially when you use natural light for photos but happen to live in Ohio and haven’t seen the sun for days.
I woke up the morning of the shoot and stood in my prop room while sipping a caramel latte until I had a game plan. Step one was switching from a lighter background and props to an ultra-moody set-up, which by the way, was totally indicative of personality that morning. I gathered everything and decided that no matter what, the photos were happening and that they did.
CAMERA: Canon 7D
LENS: Canon 100mm Macro Lens
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/8
WHITE BALANCE: Auto
As I mentioned earlier, I ended up using a dark surface and background to shoot this Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake. And although the cake is dark as well, it still seems to really pop even though the overall tone of the photo is quite monochromatic.
When I first started shooting, I knew things were looking a bit flat because I was shooting tethered in Lightroom (enabling me to see the photo on my laptop immediately after capturing it). Since things were definitely looking a bit too one-
dimensional, I adjusted the frosting a bit, added more drizzling ganache, and salted caramel sugar pieces for texture. The sugar pieces really seemed to grasp the light and added more dimension to the photos.
I attempted to shoot the cake on several cake stands, but eventually settled on a large, vintage metal plate. I used the matching dessert plates for the individual slices because I wanted continuity in the props for this shoot. Simple, slightly rustic, and of a single tone.
I adjusted the exposure a bit in Lightroom and then switched over to Adobe Photoshop to further edit the photo.
I started with Auto Contrast (Image; Auto Contrast) – I find that this is a good starting point for overall sharpening and brightening naturally in all the right places.
It was still a little too dark, so I used Curves to adjust the lighting to be a little bit brighter. (Image; Adjustments; Curves) Drag the line up slightly. You can see the preview of the photo as you make this adjustment. Just pick a point in the line and start dragging upwards to lighten, or down to darken.
The frosting was casting a blue/green color, so I used the Color Balance tool to boost the magenta and red slightly (Image; Adjustments; Color Balance). Simply slide the Cyan/Red slider a few notches to the right for more red, and the Magenta/Green slider to the left a few notches to bump up the magenta.
Everything was still looking a little drab, so my last step was to bump up the saturation for richer color. (Image; Adjustments; Vibrance) You’ll be able to see your changes in preview, so simply move the saturation slider until you’re happy with the look of the photo.
I used Auto Contrast, Curves, Color Balance, and Vibrance. Auto Contrast is my go-to for hitting all the right notes in sharpening and contrast in one fell swoop. If my natural lighting was pretty good, this almost always boosts things in the right direction with the press of a button.
I’m sure there’s more than one way to improve the lighting of a photo, but I’ve used Curves for years, and find the graph and line movement so quick and easy, that it’s my go-to for this process.
I know you can use photo filters and even Hue/Saturation to do some of the things I accomplished with the combination of Color Balance and Vibrance, but I prefer the individual control these two separate tools give me.
Sometimes photography will take you out of your comfort zone and that’s definitely a good thing, because it means you’re learning and pushing yourself.
By having access to tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, you know that you’ll be able to enhance your photos to achieve the look you’re after.
If you happen to read My Baking Addiction on a regular basis, you know that I’ve teamed up with Adobe to offer some basic food photography tips. If you didn’t read those posts and you’re interested in them, you can catch up on the series by checking out my cucumber gin fizz and cocktail photography post.
Thursday 9th of June 2022
Hi, this cake looks absolutely outstanding. I can't wait to make it. Would it be strong enough to decorate for a birthday? My current recipe despite being amazing is super moist and unsuitable! I'm searching for second go to chocolate cake that can be used for birthdays without collapsing. Thank you.
Thursday 16th of June 2022
Yes, it should be fine to decorate for a birthday! Hope this helps! Happy baking – Jamie
Sunday 19th of July 2020
Wow! This cake is so incredibly moist and flavorful. I made the cake during quarantine for my daughters college graduation. Daughter is a chocoholic and requests chocolate buttercream every time, it is like gold to her! Cake was a big hit!!! I am not a Chocolate cake lover yet anything with caramel is a game changer for me. Fast forward a couple of months later...daughter moved back to Phoenix from UA Tucson and asked me to make cupcakes with chocolate buttercream. I wasn't sure how this cake recipe would fare as cupcakes yet was pretty confident that they would turn out. Definitely turned out!!! Recipe seems a bit liquid like and does take some doing to get into little cupcake wrappers, next time will use something with a pour spout. Bake time differs, I checked at 15 minutes then baked for another 5 - 10 minutes checking for doneness with a tooth pick. The frosting is also divine! Thank you so much for the beautiful photography, baking tips and awesome recipe!
Tuesday 13th of October 2020
Hi, this cake looks absolutely incredible; it stands out above all the rest on Google images! I really want to make this but can you let me know if I can use all dutch process cocoa? If so will I still need the same cocoa quantity plus the 2 tbsp? Is there anything I need to do with the rising agents or would it work as recipe states but with Dutch process? Many thanks in advance for your help!
Monday 27th of July 2020
So happy to hear you enjoyed the cake, Elizabeth! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie
Monday 28th of October 2019
I bake a lot. This cake was THE most delicious, moist, incredible cake I have ever made. I love frosting, but this cake was so good I could have eaten it on it’s own.
Monday 28th of October 2019
So happy to hear you enjoyed the cake, Gillian! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie
Monday 21st of January 2019
I have been making your "best chocolate cake" recipe for a few years now and I still get lots of raves over this cake! This past week I made 1 full size sheet and 2 batches of cupcakes and everyone loved them. Yes I used your buttercream recipe also. Now I may try the new one but why mess with some thing that is sooooo good already? I will let you know. Keep on baking!
Tuesday 22nd of January 2019
So happy to hear you enjoy the cake, Jannette! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback! -Jamie
Wednesday 5th of December 2018
How did u break the girardelli so nicely in half?
Wednesday 5th of December 2018
Hello! I actually cut them in half with a knife :)