Despite having money to spend, baking and investing in quality ingredients, I’m more reluctant and
picky discerning about buying things. Yes, you didn’t think I could be even more particular but it’s happened. There was a turning point to this unfortunate personality shift. I made this cake.
I’ll admit things I’ve made are
unreal pretty good but only a few are show-stoppingly restaurant-worthy. If I go out, it’s going to be over the top/local/100% homemade or kitchy (izakaya anyone?) This cake fits into the over the top/ homemade category. And that my friends, was when I realized I can never buy cake ever again. It will never be this good.
Chocolate cake alone is amazing. Caramel is a food group in itself. Add salt to the caramel and you’ve got a balanced meal. Salt and sugar are food groups right? Anyways, layer them all on top of each other in 3 towering, moist and intensely chocolately layers – enrobed in luscious chocolate and caramel butter cream and you just had a food-gasm. Oh and the salt! It’s magical. It’s slightly unexpected, balances the insane chocolate and gooey buttery caramel, making it totally doable to eat a generous wedge.
Since it’s three layers, incredibly rich and mot people can only handle a sliver (ppffft) you’re set in the pleasure department. It is a lot to handle however. Even lactose-intolerant people will need milk with this beast.
It’s a bit time consuming and I wouldn’t recommend making it the day of. It’s better when it’s sat in the fridge a bit to firm up and it would also be way more stress than anyone should deal with. I started the caramel at the beginning of the week to get it out of the way, made the icing and cake the next, assembled it on the third day and served it on the fourth. I was giving it away to friends and co-workers who and a mini moment of euphoria as they unknowingly had their first bite. If you need a favour or a raise, I suggest you do the same. Just make sure they’re not diabetic or lactose intolerant. That could backfire very quickly.
Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake
- 3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 2 2/3 cups cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with a parchment paper round, butter parchment paper and flour; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, hot water, and sour cream; set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
- In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth and it appears to create strings inside the bowl, about 5 minutes. Add both sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy, for another 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix again for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35- 40 minutes orating the pans halfway through the baking time. Let cool completely before removing the parchment.
Caramel Chocolate Icing
- 1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 pound (4 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened but still cool
- Put chocolate in large heat-proof bowl and set aside
- In another small saucepan add cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine, making sure it doesn’t splash the sides of the pan – you can use a pastry brush dipped in water to wipe the sides down if you wish.
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350˚ degrees on a candy thermometer, 6-8 minutes.
- When the caramel mixture has reached 350˚ degrees, remove from heat and allow to rest for 1 minute. Add the hot cream to the caramel; stir slowly to combine. Slowly add chocolate, working from the inside out until completely melted.
- Transfer everything in the bowl of an electric mixer and pour caramel sauce over chocolate. Let sit 1 minute before stirring from the center until chocolate is melted. At this point, I was afraid my butter would melt and placed it in the fridge for about 45 minute actually. I wasn’t about to let all my hard work turn into a puddle of butter.
- Attach bowl to electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add butter in small pieces and increase speed to medium-high until mixture is well combined, thickened, and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.
Salted Caramel Filling (And drizzle if you’re into that)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, mix together cream and salt. Bring cream to a boil and cook until salt has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Carefully add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Whisk in sour cream. Cool, and store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
- Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level (save these for extra icing and caramel for later) Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan for a clean assembly .
- Place the first layer on the cake plate. Using about 1/4 cup of the caramel, spread a thin layer on the cake, allowing some of the caramel to soak into the cake.
- Follow the caramel layer with a layer of about 1 cup of the ganache icing. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another layer of caramel followed by a layer of ganache icing. I found it helpful to put the cake into the freezer after every layer just to firm it up. It was a bit time consuming, but I had horrible visions of it sliding off and thus making me cry. The worst part being I couldn’t even drown my sorrows in cake.
- Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread entire cake with a crumb coat of icing. Place in fridge for 15 minutes before adding the remaining icing. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
- This is the dangerous part: it keeps well at room temperature: that means, unless you have a cake saver (I don’t) then there’s no fridge barrier between you and that cake. If you do have free will (and time management) you can put it in the fridge then remove it 2 hours before you want to serve it. I can’t tell you how long it will last in the fridge/on the counter as it lasted about 3 days in my house.