Salted Butter Chocolate Cake

This Salted Butter Chocolate Cake is rich and sophisticated, perfect for dinner parties.

salted butter chocolate cake with raspberries

As the daughter of a baker, something I cannot resist is the smell of freshly baked bread. And freshly baked bread slathered with good quality salted butter is, quite simply, a match made in heaven.

If I could have it my way, we would have only salted butter in our butter dish. But as we are careful about the salt content in our childrens’ diet, as well as our own nutrition, the only butter in our home is usually unsalted.

But once in a while, especially if we are having a plate of cured meats with a cheese platter and a good loaf of bread, we might indulge and buy a small packet of salted butter to go with. In Europe, the best quality salted butter generally comes from France, and my preference is for those with large sea salt crystals incorporated into the butter.

salted butter chocolate cake on metal tray

Faced with some leftover salted butter which was nearing its use-by date, I was reminded of this Salted Butter Chocolate Cake from Mimi Thorisson’s latest cookbook, French Country Cooking. In fact, when I first bought the book, it was one of the first recipes which caught my eye. I love salted chocolate and salted caramel … so a salted chocolate cake sounded pretty intriguing to me.

french salted butter

Generally speaking, unsalted butter is better for baking and cooking because it means that you can control the quantity of salt in your food. In particular, the amount of salt in salted butter varies from brand to brand, and this can quite often have an impact on the final taste of a recipe.

Unsalted butter is also, more often than not, better quality than salted butter; salt acts as a preservative which means that unsalted butter is generally fresher and has a shorter shelf-life. Although, as I mentioned above, my preference is for butter with sea salt crystals, and this type of butter often has a short shelf life like regular unsalted butter, which might indicate that it is a better quality salted butter.

But it is helpful to know that, as a general rule, if you use salted butter in baking or cooking, you should omit any salt specified in the recipe. This particular recipe goes against this rule; not only does it call for salted butter, but it also includes the addition of fleur de sel.

salted butter chocolate cake with whipped cream

This Salted Butter Chocolate Cake is a rich and dense cake which lends itself well to dessert or pudding. Despite the use of salted butter as well as fleur de sel in the batter, it is not a particularly salty cake; most chocolate cake recipes tend to call for a pinch or two of salt to off-set the sweetness of the chocolate so it is not unusual for a cake recipe to include a bit of salt. There might be more salt in this cake than normal, but not so much that you notice it.

And in case you were wondering, fleur de sel is a type of sea salt which is commonly associated with the Brittany region of France. It is more refined than your usual sea salt and, due to its composition, it is more salty than other salts. For this reason, and also because of price, it is not generally used in place of regular table salt or sea salt for cooking; fleur de sel is more often used like a garnish, to sprinkle over food just before serving to enhance their flavour.

salted butter chocolate cake topped with raspberries

What is lovely about this cake is that it forms a nice crust upon baking, and if you wish to undercook it slightly, the centre remains moist and gooey should you wish to serve it warm. If anything, the taste and texture of this cake reminds me a lot of a good brownie.

For something a bit different, I opted to bake the cake in one of my fancy cake tins – this is something I like to do for plain cakes, just to make them look a bit more special. So unfortunately, you can’t see here the lovely crust which formed on top of the cake, but it’s good to know that this recipe can be used in a Bundt tin or similar.

And like with any plain chocolate cake, I think it is best served with lashings of freshly whipped cream, and lots and lots of berries.

salted butter chocolate cake with dusted cocoa

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

Here are some more chocolate cake recipes you might enjoy:

Easy Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Coconut Cake

Chocolate Pound Cake

Marble Bundt Cake

Queen of Sheba Cake (Reine de Saba)

Sour-Cream Chocolate Cake

Sunken Chocolate Amaretto Cake

Ultimate Chocolate Cake

Print

Salted Butter Chocolate Cake

salted butter chocolate cake mimi thorisson

4.4 from 7 reviews

Recipe adapted from French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson

  • Author: eatlittlebird.com
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F).
  2. Generously grease a ring cake tin with a 1 litre (4 cup) capacity and dust with cocoa powder.
  3. Place the butter and chocolate into a bain-marie over low heat, and stir until both have melted. Alternatively, place the butter and chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (but do not let the bowl touch the water), and melt the ingredients this way. Stir through the fleur de sel and vanilla. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes while you get on with the next step.
  4. Place the eggs and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, and has doubled in volume.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture and mix to combine.
  6. Gently fold through the flour.
  7. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out mostly clean. It is a fairly moist cake, so the skewer will not come out totally clean. But if there is wet batter on the skewer, bake the cake for another 5 minutes or so.
  8. Leave the cake in the cake tin for about 10 minutes before carefully unmoulding.
  9. Serve warm or cool with raspberries and whipped cream.

Kitchen Notes

The original recipe calls for a 9 inch springform cake tin which will show off the lovely crust on top of the cake. However, using such a cake tin is likely to produce a cake with a gooey centre because it is such a wet batter. Such a cake would require about 30 minutes baking time, or a bit longer if you don’t want it too wet in the centre. Keep in mind that, in France, cakes with a gooey centre (moelleux au chocolat) are quite popular.

If you don’t like cakes with gooey centres,  I would recommend making this cake in a Bundt tin or similar ring tin to that pictured – the cake should still be moist, but you avoid the problem of having a wet centre.

Whatever size pan you use, make sure you only fill it to about 2 cm (1 inch) from the top so that there is room for the cake to rise.

If you do not have fleur de sel, you can subsitute for the same quantity of Maldon sea salt.

You could also omit the fleur de sel in this recipe, and just use salted butter.

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8
  • Calories: 545
  • Sugar: 44.6g
  • Sodium: 279.4mg
  • Fat: 25.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 70.1g
  • Fiber: 3.8g
  • Protein: 9.6g
  • Cholesterol: 165.2mg

Did you make this recipe?

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23 comments

  1. Jacqueline Meldrum 25 May 2017

    That is one beautiful cake. I sometimes use salted butter when I make a chocolate cake or dessert too, I think it does make a difference. Shared!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 25 May 2017

      Thanks, Jacqueline! I love how a bit of salt can enhance other flavours, especially in desserts.

      Reply
  2. I love everything about this cake…the salted butter, the fleur de sel and the combination of chocolate. French grey is my favorite salt so I might try it with that!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 2 June 2017

      I might have seen grey salt at the specialty store but wasn’t sure what it could be used for. I ought to experiment more with different sea salts!

      Reply
  3. Debra C. 26 May 2017

    Ooh this looks amazing and I agree, lavishly covered in whipped cream and berries? YES please! Love learning about the differences between salted butter. Pretty sure we don’t have anything like the butter with crystalized sea salt, but now I know to look for it at specialty stores!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 2 June 2017

      Please let me know if you do find butter with sea salt crystals where you are – I’m sure others might also be curious to know if it is available outside of Europe 🙂 And besides, this type of butter is rather addictive, so I do hope you can try it!

      Reply
  4. Lisa | Garlic & Zest 26 May 2017

    This is the most glorious cake ever! And that butter – I’m so jealous – where do I find that in the states?

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 2 June 2017

      Thanks, Lisa! I’m not so sure if you can find this brand of butter in the US. But perhaps you could find other French brands of salted butter, most likely at specialty stores. Please let me know if you find any 🙂

      Reply
  5. Sara 26 May 2017

    This looks incredible! I can’t wait to try this recipe for summer dinner parties!

    Reply
  6. Bethany 26 May 2017

    Love all of the pretty berries in the middle of this cake! Yum!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 2 June 2017

      Our children can eat through a punnet of berries if I turn my back briefly! So they also loved the berries piled onto this cake 🙂

      Reply
  7. cakengifts.in Noida 29 May 2017

    Excelent!!! Awesome cake, My mother will make this cake on my daughter’s birthday, which is helding on next month. Because she loves her very much.

    Reply
  8. Yum! This is such a palatable and toothsome dessert! I will love to prepare it!

    Reply
  9. Rizki 3 June 2017

    Yummm!! Can’t wait to give it a try in my kitchen. Thank you

    Reply
  10. Dana 4 September 2017

    I made this yesterday in a springform pan. The top did form a crust but required an extra 10min of baking. With this, the center was still very gooey. It seemed just simply undercooked and I found that frustrating. I’m going to try again but leave it in for longer. What vexes me is that her cookbook called for 30 minutes for the LESS gooey bake (she notes you can pull it out sooner for the gooey effect)…!!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 4 September 2017

      Hi Dana,
      Many thanks for your feedback. As you may already know, ovens can vary a bit in temperature, and the type of cake tin can also play a role in how long something should be baked. Mimi Thorisson cooks with a Lacanche stove, and I often wonder if such ovens have different temperatures and cooking times. I’m sorry that your cake turned out a bit too gooey – I would definitely bake it for a bit longer if it is too wet for your liking. The first time I made this cake in a normal springform cake tin, I recall that I had to bake it for an extra 10-15 minutes as well. One benefit of using a bundt tin is that you can usually avoid a gooey centre as there is less surface area. I hope you will give this recipe another try soon 🙂

      Reply
  11. Francesca 23 February 2018

    I was excited to give this cake a try but was disappointed with the results — the cooking time was way longer than 30-35 minutes, so the cake ended up dry and the overall flavor was pretty bland (I followed the oven temperature instructions, used a 9-inch springform pan, and really good quality salted butter). After 30 minutes in the cake still had lots of wet batter in the middle. It ended up being done at about 45 minutes. My cake was a much lighter color than the one in the picture, so maybe there was too much flour? Will try and use the cake to make a trifle instead!

    Reply
    • Eat, Little Bird 23 February 2018

      Hi Francesca,

      Thank you for your feedback. I’m sorry to hear that you were disappointed with this cake, but I understand your frustration. The first time I made this cake, I used a normal 9 inch springform pan and I recall that I also had to bake it for about 40-45 minutes. The second time I made this cake, I used a ring tin instead, which meant that I avoided the problem of having a very gooey centre.

      The recipe currently provides instructions similar to that in Mimi Thorisson’s cookbook (which calls for just 30 minutes for a 9 inch springform cake tin). I will update the recipe to reflect using a ring cake tin which, I think, produces a better result.

      What type of chocolate did you use? If you used something with less than 70% cocoa content, this might produce a lighter coloured cake. In any event, I hope you were able to reuse the cake in a trifle. Sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you.

      Reply
  12. Julia 16 April 2018

    an incredible recipe! Thank you! I really like it!

    Reply