Last weekend, I had the pleasure of getting a birthday cake for someone special. There is a great bakery near where I live, Bakers of Buffington, that makes amazing cakes, so I had planned on ordering from them. However, one thing led to another at work on Friday, and I never placed my order. So, instead, I had the opportunity to try something new.
I went searching for a recipe that involved salted caramel. I wanted it to be the star of the cake, but had some trouble finding something that worked well. I finally found a frosting recipe that had great reviews, but the cake itself had bad reviews. I combined the best of both worlds and used the frosting fromAnne Thornton of the Food Network and the cake from Robyn and her “add a pinch” blog. The cake had amazing reviews for being moist, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. The results were…amazing!
The cake is a pretty simple one bowl recipe. Start by adding to the bowl of a mixer (or any bowl really) 2 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon espresso powder. Give it a good mix with the mixer, on low of course, or just whisk together.
To that mixture, add 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Give that a good stir on medium until combined. Then, with the mixture on low, add 1 cup boiling water to the mix. Beat for 1 minute to add air to the batter. She says to beat on high, but I had to keep it around medium otherwise there was chocolate flying everywhere in my kitchen.
Flour and butter two 9-inch cake pans. I also added disks of parchment paper after buttering to the bottom so it wouldn’t stick. Then I buttered again and floured. Actually, I say buttered, but really, I used a spray! 🙂 Pour the batter evenly into the two pans, then bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn them onto a cake rack to cool completely. While that’s cooling, let’s make the frosting.
I will admit, this wasn’t the easiest recipe for frosting, but it is delicious. Start by putting 18 oz milk chocolate chips and 10 oz semisweet chocolate chips in a large bowl and set aside. Next, add 1 1/2 cup sugar to a heavy bottom saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Place over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil. Boil until the mixture starts to turn caramel in color, about 8-10 minutes. Don’t stir during this process though, or the sugar will crystalline. You don’t want the sugar to burn either, you just want a caramel color.
Once it’s a good color, turn down the heat and carefully add 2 1/4 cups heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful. Stir over medium heat to combine the cream, and melt any sugar that may have hardened from the cold cream. Once it’s all incorporated and smooth, stir in 1/2 tablespoon sea salt. She calls for sea salt, but I’ll admit, I just used kosher salt because it’s what I had. It still turned out great.
Pour the caramel over the chocolate. As the chocolate starts to melt, stir to combine. It will start out looking like a mess, but quickly come together. Put the mixture in the refrigerator until it is completely chilled, about 1 hour.
Once it’s chilled, take the frosting out and beat it with a mixer until it becomes a spreadable consistency. Add 1 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Use the mixer to combine well with the frosting.
The recipe says to refrigerate the frosting again for an hour, but I found it got too hard. If it’s soft, then you can refrigerate it. If it’s a good consistency, I say go ahead and start frosting.One thing to note, it did make a LOT of frosting. I probably had enough for another cake. Feel free to keep it in the refrigerator and sneak a spoonful every so often, or you could just cut the recipe in half.Enjoy this delicious cake. The cake itself is rich and super moist, and the icing is so good, caramely, chocolatey, and salty…perfect! I got rave reviews for this one, and a very happy birthday boy!