Millionaire Shortbread Cake

It’s official. I’m slightly obsessed with caramel. And chocolate. And drip cakes. In fact, as the weather gets colder, all I seem to want to eat is bad for me. Standard. I want to dive into whatever is comforting and whatever feels like it’s going to wrap me up and keep me warm. And this, this cake ticks the boxes. We have chocolate cake and actual chocolate, we’ve got caramel and we’ve got biscuits. The idea came from a work friend, who asked me to make a Millionaires Shortbread cake and I thought it was a stroke of genius.

This cake takes inspiration from my Creme Brûlée cake which had a caramel ‘lid’ you had to crack through to get to the cake. This is much the same fair – it emulates how one eats a millionaire shortbread. Chocolate, caramel, biscuit. What’s not to love?

Yields: 15 slices.


300 light brown sugar
280g plain flour
170g unsalted butter, softened
250ml buttermilk
2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 medium eggs
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

600g butter
300g icing sugar
110g carnations caramel
1 tsp salt
+ shortbread, crumbled into pieces.

2 x 200g milk chocolate

110g carnations caramel
30ml double cream
pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Line 2 x 6″ cake tins. The most effective method I’ve found for lining the tins is to butter the bottom and sides and cover in a light dusting of flour.

Sieve the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together into a clean bowl.


For the cake, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, mixing in between each addition. Pour in the vanilla bean paste and beat for 20 seconds.

Add a third of the flour mixtures and mix to combine. Add half the buttermilk and mix again. Repeat the process, ending with the final third of the flour mixture.

Decant the batter into the cake tins and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.


Make the buttercream: Beat the butter for 5 minutes until light and silky. Add half the icing sugar and beat again for 2 minutes. Add the second half and beat once more. Add the caramel, pinch of salt and a splash of milk and beat a final time until the buttercream is fluffy and smooth.

Now on to the caramel sauce. Pour the caramel into a pan with some salt. Heat on medium until the caramel begins to bubble and then pour in the double cream, stirring to combine. Leave to cool.

For the chocolate discs, melt the chocolate in a microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Line 2x  6″ cake tins with tin foil on the bottom and up the sides and divide the chocolate into both, smoothing so it’s even. Pop in the freezer.


When you’re ready to assemble, with a cranked palette knife, spread a little of the buttercream on your cake board and place the first layer on top, pressing down lightly to secure it in place. Spread a thick layer of the buttercream and sprinkle on the crumbles shortbread biscuits. Place the next layer of the cake on top. Spread the buttercream on the next layer and once again top with the shortbread. Repeat the process again with the next layer and finally top with the fourth layer. With the final cake layer, turn it so the bottom is facing up to ensure a perfectly flat top.

Spread a thin layer on the buttercream on the top and sides of the cake and spread evenly – you want to create a crumb coat to lock in all those crumbs. Refrigerate for up to an hour. Remove from the fridge and generously spread a good amount of the buttercream on the top and sides and using a palette knife and cake scraper if you have one, spread evenly until the sides and top are as smooth as you’d like. Decant the remaining buttercream into a piping bag fit with a 1M Star nozzle.

Take the cake from the fridge and place the chocolate disc on the top of the cake. Pipe around the edge of the disc, covering the gaps with the star nozzle. Pipe some stars in random places on the cake.

Break the second disc into shards and press into the cake in random patterns. Using a spoon and a squeeze bottle, pour the caramel sauce on top of the piped stars, letting it drip down the side.