Happy Birthday to you…

Sometimes being able to bake something that impresses people can be the most wonderful thing in the world. Not everyone understands the love that goes into something or that it could easily take 5 hours to make a cake from scratch, there are skills and challenges in every attempt.

And most importantly, people don’t realize that you could put in all this effort and have a massive failure on your hands. I am so glad that wasn’t the result this week when I took on the challenge of making a birthday cake for a co-worker.

Let me preface this by saying, I have never made a multi-layer cake and had it turn out pretty. I almost never make layer cakes because of this but I was not going to let the stop me when I found a recipe for a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake.

OMG! So f’in good!

Are you ready? I think you are. Now there was a tiny little warning at the bottom of the recipe that said “This cake is a lot of work”. I would like to go on record and say that was an understatement, but that all of that work was well worth it! The cake was a huge success and when the left overs made their way to the office kitchen they were gobbled up. When I went to collect my carrier there was a note..”This cake was delicious, can I please have the recipe.”

That is the best compliment!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Prep 3 8 or 9″ cake rounds -butter, then put in parchment rounds, butter again and then dust with flour.
Preheat oven to 325

3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/4 c. hot water
2/3 c. sour cream
Mix together in a bowl until completely blended, then set aside

2 2/3 c. flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Sift together in a bowl and set aside

3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
Blend together until creamy and smooth using your beater blade (mine never got perfectly smooth)
Add 1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
Cream together
Add 3 large eggs at room temperature one at a time
1 Tbsp vanilla
Mix together until smooth – remember to scrape down the sides to make sure everything get mixed together

Alternate additions of the flour mixture and the cocoa liquid mixture

Divide between the three pans, spread out in the pans then tap the pans a couple of times on the counter to get some bubbles out.

Place in the oven and bake about 30 minutes (until toothpicks come out clean)

While the cakes are baking you have a good amount of work to do.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
put in 2 qt sauce pan, stir together without splashing. Then turn the burner on high and just let the mixture come to a boil and boil until it is a light amber color. Remove from heat and let it cool for a minute or so (it will darken)
While you are cooking that mixture – heat up 1/2 c. heavy cream and 1 tsp sea salt (I did this in a double boiler so I didn’t have to watch it like a hawk) stir to make sure the salt is dissolving
Once the caramel mixture has cooled for a minute add the warmed heavy cream mixture and 1/4 c. sour cream
Stir and pour into a heat proof container. Let it come to room temp and then cover and refrigerate.

Next!
Another caramel sauce
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
Stir and then put on high heat – cook until it is a light amber color. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute then add 1 1/2 c. warmed heavy cream

Put 1lb of dark chocolate pieces (chips or chopped chocolate) in a large heat proof bowl. Once you have the caramel sauce cooked and slightly cooled, pour it over the chocolate. Wait a minute or so and then start stirring the mixture so the chocolate melts.

Transfer the chocolate caramel mixture into your mixer bowl and turn the mixture on low to keep it moving. Do this until it is cool to the touch (this took over an hour for me) then add 2 c. of unsalted butter cut into cubes (using your beater blade).

Once the butter is incorporated and smooth, switch to the whisk blade and whip until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Construction of the cake
Put some frosting on the plate or container so the cake won’t move around then put 1 cake layer on, top with 1/4 c. of the first caramel sauce and then top that with a round of frosting. Repeat all the way to the top layer.

I put all the frosting in a really large zip lock bag and snipped a big bit of a corner off (I didn’t have any pastry bags that were really big so this was my easy cheat). This makes it really easy to frost this cake. I make a nice big swirl on each layer and then smooth over with an offset spatula (knife).

Oh yeah – because I am lazy I decided to melt some dark chocolate and just drizzle it on some parchment paper to make the decorative stuff on the top.

I didn’t put the cake in the fridge and it didn’t seem to need it (if it was warm outside I might have).

Good Luck and Enjoy!

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