Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

This is the special occasion cake to rule all others – Layers of Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream, topped with a Dark Chocolate Ganache Drizzle, Toffee Shards, Salted Pretzels, Caramel Popcorn and drizzled with more Salted Caramel. No further explanation required!

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake

Chocolate & Salted Caramel Cake

Ingredients:

Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
– 1 1/2 cups water
– 190g unsalted butter, chopped
– 1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
– 3 cups plain flour, sifted
– 1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda, sifted
– 3 cups caster sugar
– 3 eggs
– 3/4 cup buttermilk
– 2 tsp vanilla extract

Salted Caramel
– 1 cup single cream
– 50g unsalted butter
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1/2 cup water
– 1-2tsp sea salt flakes

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
– 6 egg whites (220g)
– 345g sugar
– 450g unsalted butter, cubed (softened but still cool to the touch)
– 1/3-1/2 cup salted caramel

Dark Chocolate Ganache
– 150g dark chocolate, finely chopped
– 150g single cream

To Decorate
– Salted pretzels
– Caramel popcorn
– Toffee shards
– Chocolate such as flake pieces and Lindt salted caramel balls
– Sea salt flakes

Method:

Chocolate Cake

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 160 degrees c. Line and grease 2 x 17cm round cake tins. Place the water, butter and cocoa in a small saucepan over a medium heat, and cook stirring occasionally until melted. In a large bowl place the flour, bicarb soda, and caster sugar and mix to combine. Pour in the cocoa mixture and whisk until combined. Add the buttercream, eggs and vanilla and whisk again until smooth. Pour mixture into the two prepared tins, and bake for 65-70mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside in the tins to cool for 10mins, before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Salted Caramel

Place the cream and butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring to the boil then set aside. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over a low heat and cook stirring until completely dissolved. Turn the heat up to high and cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 150 degrees celcius on a candy thermometer and is a deep golden colour, occasionally brushing the sides of the pan with water so that it doesn’t crystallize. Once the mixture reaches temperature take it off the heat and whisk in the warm cream mixture, it will bubble up a lot but that’s ok. Place the mixture back on a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until it thickens slightly, around 5mins. Add the sea salt a little at a time until you are happy with the level of salt, but be very careful when you taste it because it will be very hot. Transfer to a jug and set aside to cool and thicken.

Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and put it over a pot of simmering water. Gently whisk the mixture over the heat until it reaches 150 degrees farenheit on a candy thermometer. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer, and whisk on high speed for 10-15mins or until the egg whites are cool and the bowl feels neutral to the touch.

Switch over to the paddle attachment, and on the lowest speed, add small cubes of butter one at a time. Once all the butter is added, continue to beat on low speed for another 10mins or until the buttercream is thick and silky smooth. If it looks curdled don’t worry, just keep on beating and it will come back together and turn silky smooth, if however it looks too loose then pop it in the fridge for 10mins and then beat again. If you’re not sure you’ve mixed it enough, give it another 5mins, it won’t hurt it and will ensure it’s silky smooth. Add 1/3-1/2 cup of the salted caramel a little at a time until you’re happy with the flavour, you can add as much or as little as you like.

To Assemble

Level off the tops of both cakes and then cut each cake in half. Place a layer of cake on a cake board, and top with a generous layer of the buttercream. Use an offset spatula to smooth the buttercream and make a slight indentation in the middle. Drizzle over a couple tablespoons of the salted caramel in the middle of the cake leaving a 1 inch border at the edge. Top with another layer of cake and repeat with the buttercream and salted caramel until you have all four layers assembled. Top the cake with another layer of buttercream and smooth out evenly, letting it extend over the edges. Next, add the remaining buttercream around the sides of the cake, keeping it thick until it is completely covered. Take an upright palette knife or bench scraper and carefully smooth around the sides of the cake in one direction. Smooth the top edges of the cake by pulling an offset spatula across from the outside edge to the center of the cake and repeat all the way around until the top is smooth & flat. Pop the cake in the fridge to chill for 15mins or so.

Chocolate Ganache Drizzle

To make the chocolate ganache for the drizzle, put your finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring it just to the bowl then take it off the heat immediately. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave it to sit for 1min. Stir the ganache until it turns smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool slightly.

To Decorate

The ganache needs to be the right temperature and consistency to achieve a nice drip. To check if it is ready place a small drop on the edge of the cake. If the ganache drips quickly to the bottom of the cake or melts the buttercream, then it is still too warm. When the ganache drips slowly to around a third of the way down the cake then it is ready to use. Working around the edges (and working quickly) spoon the ganache around the top edge of the cake in sections, encouraging it to drip over the edges in certain places to create the drips. Once you have gone all the way around the edge of the cake, pour the ganache on the center of the cake to completely cover the top and level it out as neatly as you can. Pop the cake back in the fridge for 10-15mins to set the ganache.

While the cake is in the fridge make the toffee shards to decorate the top of the cake. Place 1/4 cup of sugar in an even layer in a frypan and cook over a medium heat without stirring until melted and golden. Meanwhile line a tray with baking paper and place a few pretzels on the tray. Pour the melted sugar mixture over the pretzels and leave for 5mins to set. Once set remove from the paper and break into shards.

To decorate the cake, top with toffee shards, pretzels, caramel popcorn, flake pieces and chocolate balls. To finish, drizzle the top with some extra salted caramel and sprinkle with a few extra sea salt flakes.

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Cake

Enjoy! x

Advertisements