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Ok, so I finally did it. I created a blog…Better to say – a baking blog. I’ve been playing with the thought for quite a long time. Especially since in the last year I’ve become more and more obsessed with finding the perfect moist chocolate cake or creating the best tasting buttercream. And since I am now equipped with a fairly decent camera I feel that nothing is stopping me from finally creating this blog.

So enough about that, let’s get to the real reason I started writing this – 5 layer salted caramel chocolate fudge cake. Already the name sounds incredibly indulgent and amazing. Mind me, it was actually supposed to be a 6 layer cake, but the chocolate cake was so sticky that one layer stuck to the plate (after I stupidly forgot to cover it with a piece of parchment paper first)  and it split in half while trying to lift it. So I stuck with 5 layers, which is also relatively tall considering the fact that the highest I’ve gone so far is 4.

I found the recipe on Sweetapolita’s blog. I’ve been fascinated with her blog for more than a year now and the way she cuts her cake in such a clean and perfect manner never fails to impress me. I’ve haven’t tried one of her recipes yet though because I’ve always feared the cakes being way too sweet , especially the ones with lots and lots of pink frosting. I was pleasantly surprised however when I took my first bite of this cake. It wasn’t too sweet at all. In fact it could have easily been sweeter. The only thing I would change next time is I would thicken the buttercream layers between the cake and add some more caramel to the cream since I couldn’t taste it that much.

I did end up adjusting the buttercream recipe a bit since I am not a big fan of Swiss meringue buttercream. I feel it tastes too meringue-ish so I swapped it for a french buttercream. Here’s the recipe:

Moist Chocolate Cake 
This cake is very moist and not heavy at all. Even though it contains coffee, you can’t really taste it’s flavor at all but the coffee only brings out the chocolate more.

180 g all-purpose flour
300 g fine caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
90 g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1,5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
60 ml vegetable oil
190 ml buttermilk
190 ml hot freshly brewed coffee
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

First preheat your oven to 180°C (or 350° F) and line three 7-inch greased cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom. Now sadly, i only own one 7-inch pan so I actually had to bake each three layers separately. When I think about it now, I can’t believe I had the patience to do that.

Next you want to sift all your dry ingredients into a big bowl and slowly add the wet ingredients with your electric mixer to your flour mixture. This cake recipe is pretty simple and straightforward.

Now divide your cake batter into the three cake pans (or in my case into two bowls and one cake pan). To do that as accurately as possible I always weigh out my cake batter to make sure I get the layers even.

Bake the cake(s) in the oven for around 20 minutes and rotate them. Then bake an additional 7-10 minutes. I admittedly underbaked my layers a little because I really wanted a moist cake.

After the cake is done baking leave it cool on your counter and take it out of the cake pan after 15 minutes or so. I kind of rushed that step since I had two more batches to bake and didn’t want to spend the whole day in the kitchen.
Let your cake layers cool completely before filling or frosting them.

Salted Caramel French Buttercream
I didn’t use all of the caramel that is listed in this recipe but I regret not doing so. I was scared the cake would turn out to be too sweet but I ended up wanting a stronger caramel flavor, so I recommend you to use the entire caramel batch.

200 g fine caster sugar
60 ml water
60 ml heavy cream (I use 36%)
1 tsp good quality sea salt
4 large eggs
100 g sugar
1 vanilla pod
250 g butter

Start off by making the salted caramel. Add the water and the sugar in a saucepan and let the sugar dissolve under medium heat. Do not stir! Once the water starts boiling raise the temperature to high and let it turn to a dark amber color. As soon as it has reached that point take the caramel off the heat (be careful not to touch it or you will burn yourself!) and slowly whisk in the heavy cream with a fork or a hand whisk. Lastly add the sea salt. If you prefer unsalted caramel just omit the salt but I personally find the salt adds a nice (not too) salty hint to the sweet caramel. Now let the caramel cool to room temperature.

For the buttercream put the eggs in a medium sized bowl and beat them with your electric hand mixer for about a minute. Next add in the 100 g of sugar and beat another minute or so. Then put the bowl with the egg/sugar mixture over a pot of simmering water and beat another 5 minutes until very fluffy and pale in color. Take it of the heat and beat some more until it’s cooled.
Next beat your butter in a separate bowl on high for approximately 8-10 minutes until it is very light in color and satiny. Scrape out the seeds of the vanilla pod and add them to the butter. Add the egg mixture to the whipped butter and whip just until the mixture comes together. If it looks like the butter is separating don’t be discouraged- it will come together after a short time.

To finish, fold the salted caramel in the buttercream and be prepared to taste the most amazing combination ever! Try to use the buttercream immediately but if you want to refrigerate it, let it come to room temperature before using it.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

400 g dark chocolate (I used 72%)
45 g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
100 ml boiling water
340 g butter brought to room temperature
65 g powdered sugar
pinch of salt

This frosting is really not as sweet as I imagined it would be. Maybe it’s because of the dark chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder.
Start off by melting your chocolate over a pot of simmering water. Make sure your melted chocolate is completely cooled before you add it to the frosting otherwise it will melt the butter and you will end up with a runny icing. I actually melted the chocolate before I even put the cakes in the oven so it had plenty of time to cool off.
Combine the boiling water and cocoa powder in a cup and mix until the cocoa powder is dissolved.
In a medium sized bowl beat the butter with the powdered sugar and salt with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the cooled melted chocolate and stir gently. Lastly add the cocoa powder and mix just until everything is incorporated.

To assemble the cake

Take all of you cooled cake layers and cut each of them in half. I use a sharp bread knife for best results.I tend to get eye level with the cake in order to cut through the layers as evenly as possible.
Once you’ve finished that step, dollop about 1/2 cup of the buttercream on the first layer and distribute it with a palette knife (I don’t own one of those so I just use a regular bread knife) evenly among the surface. Repeat that step with each layer until you’ve added the top layer.
When the cake is fully stacked, put a generous amount of chocolate fudge frosting on top of the cake and spread it on the surface until it starts running of the sides. At this point you only want to crumb coat the cake, so spread the frosting very thinly. Once the top is thinly covered in frosting, add some more for the sides of the cake and fully crumb coat the entire cake. It does not need to look perfect since another layer of frosting is yet to come. Place your crumb coated cake in the fridge for 30 minutes (if the remaining frosting is too warm/runny you can put that in the fridge too).
After the crumb coat has set take your cake from the fridge and add another generous dollop of frosting on the top. Repeat what you did when you were crumb coating the cake but add thicker layers of frosting. You can remove any remaining frosting and smooth the sides and the top with a bench scraper. You can sprinkle some Fleur de Sel on top of the cake before serving.

Now the cake is ready to be eaten but I prefer to let it sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. I tasted it about 4 hours after finishing it and it was good but honestly speaking it was even better the day after making it. It is very soft and melts in your mouth. Next time I will add more caramel to the buttercream since I would have wanted the flavor to come out more.

If you want to refrigerate the cake, make sure you take it out of the fridge at least 2 hours before serving to let it get to room temperature because cold buttercream tastes hard and well..a lot like butter.

The cake remained delicious staying at room temperature for 3 days but I’m pretty sure it could have lasted even one more day.

Have a nice week,
Sarah

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