Saturday, 8 March 2014

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Guys! It's been forever, how are you all doing? Firstly, let me apologise for being so lazy, I haven't posted in like, FOREVER! The reason being, I found myself a new full time job and had really started struggling to find the time to bake. I absolutely could not dedicate any time around my job to large orders and waiting for customers to come and collect. I found I was letting people down frequently because I was too tired or had loose ends to tie up at work which meant getting home late resulting in me having to cancel or rearrange customers. I HATE letting people down. Darling Cupcake is my little empire so I definitely haven't given up instead I've decided to dedicate my free time to helping others with their baking journey by sharing my advice and techniques. Getting to know you all has been an uplifting and amazing journey for me so there's no way I could give that up. I've made some really good friends with amazing talents. I'd like to thank you all, you probably don't even know what you've done, your kind words, help and all round interest in Darling Cupcake has really inspired me and has really kept me going. Bloody Nora, I'd be brilliant at the Oscars wouldn't I? I told you guys I'm 100% dra-ma queen. But hey! What good is a life with no drama? It's entertaining and it's fabulous (as long as you aren't mean.) Anyway back to baking. I've got so many recipes to share and I have been meaning to start with this chocolate cake recipe, I wanted this to be my big comeback recipe especially since it had such a big response over on instgram. I actually have to thank a very lovely instagrammer for asking me for the recipe because it was just the kick up the bum I needed to pull my finger out and start blogging again.

I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of chocolate cake but this recipe is delicious. I do believe it's a really good base to start with especially for adding your own frostings and hints of flavours to. I've used this cake recipe to make a chocolate marshmallow cake and a chocolate orange cake, I've also used this recipe for last years chocolate Christmas cake recipe which I decorated ... you guessed it, PINK. I will post pictures and recipes for those too. 

I was a little bit skeptical about this recipe at first purely because it has 'water' as an ingredient and in my experience water can dilute the taste of certain things. In this case it absolutely does not. The flavour is still there, the water just adds a texture and moisture to the sponge and unlike most cakes this does not dry out when stored in the fridge. 

This cake is AMAZING with Earl Grey Supreme tea, no sugar. You can find tea recommendations on the Tea page of this blog. The Salted Caramel is to die for. The recipe is by Nigella Lawson, however as always I made some adjustments which I will note in the recipe below. I actually wanted to drink it straight from the jug while it was hot and obviously I did! I drank enough to rival the chocolate monster that is Augustus Gloop! At one point I pictured myself in lederhosen, stuck in my dear Mother's already dodgy kitchen pipes crying, while two engineers from Dyno Rod tried to get me out. My imagination is so vivid because although this seems like something that couldn't possibly happen, in my world things like this happen on a regular basis. Anyhow bake, share, enjoy! (I use the term 'share' very loosely).

This recipe will make two layers in 8/9inch sandwich tins. I divided the quantities by half then added it on to the recipe to make a 3 layer, just for the cake. The quantities for the buttercream and caramel is enough to decorate a 3 layer.

Recipe courtesy of BBC Food and Nigella.  and Darling Cupcake.

For the Cake 
 225g plain flour 
350g caster sugar 
85g cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder 
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 
2 free-range eggs 
250ml oz milk 
125ml vegetable oil 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
250ml boiling water

For the Salted Caramel
 150g best-quality unsalted butter 
100g soft light brown sugar (I used Dark)
100g caster sugar 
100g golden syrup 
250ml double cream 
1 tsp Fleur De Sel

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream
125g Lightly Salted Butter
300g Icing Sugar
50ml Salted Caramel 
1/2tsp Coarse Sea Salt.

For the cake

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
2. For the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined.
3. Add the boiling water to the mixture, a little at a time, until smooth. (The cake mixture will now be very liquid.)
4. Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool in their tins for 15 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool, before icing. 

For the Salted Caramel

1.  On a medium heat melt butter, sugars and syrup and butter in a small heavy based pan and let simmer for 3 minutes, swirling every now and again with a wooden spoon.
2. Add in the cream and Fleur De Sel and mix, give the caramel a taste to as you may want to add more salt, it will be hot so be careful. 
3. Pour into a jug and leave while you move on to the buttercream. 

For the Buttercream

1. Mix the butter on a high-speed until it is nice and smooth.
2. Add in half of your icing sugar and beat again on a high speed. Gradually add in the rest of the icing sugar. I like for my icing sugar to be stiff from the get go, so it gives me more to work with, so if the mixture isn't stiff add in a little more icing sugar.
3. Slowly add in the caramel mixture, turn the mixer down to a low speed and pour in gradually. The buttercream should be a nice smooth, spreadable texture. Not too sloppy. If you want to add more caramel then do so, but remember to keep it smooth. 
4. Add in the Fleur De Sel and mix. 


1. You will now want to go back to your cakes, level both before adding a nice thick layer of the buttercream. On top of the buttercream drizzle a little of the caramel mixture. (The caramel may have thickened up as it cooled, if so pop it into the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up. Make sure you are using a microwave safe bow, such as Pyrex.) 
2. Add the second layer of your cake, and more buttercream on top of that. Smooth out using a palette knife then add the popcorn. 
3. Once the popcorn has been added, drizzle the caramel over the whole cake you can even have some dribbling down the side of the cake, makes it look all the more delicious.
4. Serve, I like to heat up some Salted Caramel and pour over a slice of the cake, it's so tasty and lovely when it's warm. The cake can be stored in the fridge. I wouldn't recommend an airtight container as the buttercream can melt and is much nicer when it's a little solid. Enjoy!

For the marshmallow version to this cake please see the recipe for my chocolate and marshmallow cupcakes. Double the ingredients for the marshmallow topping and you'll have enough to decorate this yummy chocolate cake. Instead of popcorn use mini-mallows to decorate.

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