Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Chocolate caramel sea salt cake

Shhh... I have a secret. Yesterday was my birthday. I took the day off and baked, skated and went shopping. It was a fabulous. The only thing I baked yesterday was my birthday cake. My husband found the recipe in this month's Bon Appetit magazine and told me we had to try it. It sounded wonderful, so I obliged and decided to turn it into my birthday cake.

I'm a big fan of chocolate cake, and this was very good and very moist. The frosting wasn't as caramel-y as I wanted but was still yummy. As you can see, my cake was only two layers, so I didn't follow the recipe below exactly. I didn't want to oversalt the cake so I only added a small sprinkle of sea salt on top of the bottom cake layer.  It could have used a bit on the top too, so I will remember that for next time.

I'm not happy to be another year older, but I am happy that I was able to bake (and eat) this cake!

Chocolate caramel sea salt cake
Cake
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 1 and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups mayonnaise (not low fat)
  • 1 and 1/3 cup water, lukewarm
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
Frosting
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
Directions
To make the cake: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the eggs and sugar on medium high speed until the mixture turns pale yellow and has doubled in size (about 4 minutes). Add the mayonnaise and vanilla and continue to mix until just combined. Turn the mixer down to low and alternately add the dry ingredients and the water, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Evenly distribute the batter to your prepared pans.

Bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn off the oven and allow your cakes to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a small to medium saucepan, bring the sugar, corn syrup and water to boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Allow the mixture to boil for about 10-12 minutes or until the mixture turns a deep amber color (you may need to allow it to boil for longer than 12 minutes). Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously, and you may get chunks or globs of caramel on your spatula. Return the mixture back to the stove and keep stirring until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the caramel mixture over the chopped chocolate and stir. Allow the chocolate caramel mixture to cool completely.

In the bowl of a clean stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, whisk the chocolate caramel mixture on medium speed. Slowly add the butter until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is thick. Transfer the bowl to your refrigerator and allow it to cool at least 30 minutes or until the frosting has thickened to spreading consistency.

Place one layer of cake on a plate or cake platter and spread frosting on top of it. Add a pinch of sea salt flakes on top. Repeat with the remaining 2 layers. Frost the sides of the cake and garnish with additional sea salt if desired.

Cake can be chilled or stored at room temperature. It should keep in an airtight container for several days.

Yield: About 12-16 servings


Source: Sportello restaurant, via Bon Appetit, November 2013 issue

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