Just a couple of days ago I’ve reached a milestone I couldn’t even think of a year ago. My Instagram’s page audience has crossed 10K! TEN THOUSAND!!! I mean, this is something totally incredible for me but I must admit it – it’s such a pleasant feeling. The idea about this website has come to me using Instagram. My Russian version of the site has also reached the first milestone – the number of visitors there is more than 10K with the total of 50K views! It’s so good to know that even though there’s not that many comments there, and many of you just are passive viewers, whatever I do is still useful and helps somebody.
So here is a little cake to celebrate my milestones. It is a chocolate caramel layer cake – two of the best things ever combined together.
Ultimate chocolate cake layers separated with caramel meringue buttercream and pure caramel sauce finished off with chocolate caramel ganache, well, just imagine how good this cake is.
The recipe makes a 4-layer 6″/ 15 cm cake (8-10 servings). For a larger cake 8″/20 cm you will need to increase the recipe by 1½.
Adapted from April Carter
Chocolate cake layers:
- 1.94 oz/ 55 g cocoa powder
- 1 t vanilla essence
- 90 ml boiling water
- 4.6 oz/ 130 g unsalted butter, softened
- 3.5 oz/ 100 g/ ½ c caster sugar
- 3.5 oz/ 100 g/ ½ c packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 7.5 oz/ 210 g all-purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- ½ t salt
- 4.75 oz/ 135 ml milk, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 335ºF/ 170ºC. Grease and line the bases of two 6″/ 15 cm cake tins with baking paper.
In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder, vanilla essence and boiling water. It should form a thick paste. Let it cool.
In a bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter and both sugars until light and creamy. Gradually add in the eggs, beating each time until fully incorporated before adding more. If needed, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the cooled cocoa paste and beat until well combined.
In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Stir in about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter with a spatula. Add half of the milk, stir until incorporated. stir in half of the remaining flour followed by milk and the balance flour. Be careful not to overmix.
Divide the batter evenly between cake pans (~450-470 g each) and bake for 50-60 min or until done (a skewer inserted in the center of the cake must come out clean). Remove the pans from the oven, allow to stand for 15 min, then turn the cakes out to cool completely on a wire rack. If needed, level the cake tops. Split each cake in half horizontally to have a total of 4 layers.
- 5.3 oz/ 150 g caster sugar
- 2/3 c/ 180 ml heavy cream
- 1½ T/ 30 g unsalted butter
- ½ t salt
Heat the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Once the sugar starts to melt, swirl or shake the pan gently to evenly distribute the heat. In a separate heatproof bowl, heat the cream, butter and salt. Do not boil!
When the sugar is dark amber in colour, remove the pan from the heat and immediately whisk in the hot cream mixture. Be careful as the whole thing will bubble up vigorously. If some sugar solidifies, return the pan to a low heat until the mixture is liquid again. Remove from the heat, pour the caramel sauce through a sieve into a heatproof bowl.
- 200 g dark chocolate (I used 57%), chopped
- 200 g caramel sauce, recipe above
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot caramel sauce over it. Leave it for 1 min., then gently stir with a whisk until it is completely smooth and all of the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool to room temperature, then chill for 20 min. until it is firm enough to spread. Beat the ganache before use.
Caramel swiss buttercream:
- 3 oz/ 90 g/ 3 egg whites
- 4.23 oz/ 120 g caster sugar
- 8.2 oz/ 250 g unsalted butter, cubed, softened
- 2.8 oz/ 80 g caramel sauce, recipe above
Fill a small saucepan with water to 1/3 its hight. Bring the water to gentle simmer.
In a heatproof bowl lightly wider than the saucepan, mix together the egg whites and sugar. Stir with a whisk, then set the bowl over the saucepan. Stiring continuously with a whisk, heat the mixture to 140-150ºF/ 60-65ºC watching the egg whites not to scramble. The sugar must dissolve, mixture thicken up and a light foam should form on the surface.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan, transfer the contents to a bowl of a stand mixer and whisk the meringue until it cools down and stiff peaks form.
With the mixer running, gradually add butter, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. After all the butter is added, whisk for another 1-2 min., until the buttercream is thick and smooth.
Stir in the cooled caramel sauce.
- 3 T caramel sauce, recipe above
- ½ t sea salt flakes, for decorating
Place the first cake layer on a serving platter. Spread about 1/3 of the caramel buttercream, level it and drizzle with 1 T of the caramel sauce. Place the second layer on top of this and repeat with two more layers and finishing with the final fourth cake layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of chocolate caramel ganache and chill it for 15 min. Cover the cake with a thicker ganache layer, smooth the sides and top, decorate with sea salt flakes.
Keep refrigerated before serving.