Rich Chocolate cake with Salted Caramel Filling
https://youtu.be/i4NXeda22CQ - HOW TO VIDEO LINK I have baked many a chocolate cake over the years. There is something about a chocolate cake however that is difficult to get just right. Firstly, in my opinion it has to be dark, not pale and caramel looking. Secondly, it has to be rich in flavour – if you close your eyes it should be rich and luscious and actually tasting of chocolate and thirdly and the most important – it has to be moist yet light and this is the difficult bit. You can achieve a moist cake but often it is heavy and almost sad in texture. If you achieve a light crumb then too often it is dry and difficult to swallow. Following many attempts I have now achieved the perfect cake. This celebration cake is a three layered chocolate cake filled with salted caramel buttercream then coated with a layer of chocolate ganache.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees fan
Don’t be over faced with the number of ingredients. Basically you will be using one jug, one small bowl and one large mixing bowl.
In the small jug place the milk then add the lemon juice then set aside and allow the milk to thicken.
In the small bowl – place the coffee powder, chocolate, cocoa powder, anise, salt and vanilla extract and pour over the boiling water. Give a regular stir to allow the chocolate to dissolve and all the cocoa lumps to disappear. Once you have a smooth mixture pour in the oil then set aside.
In the second larger bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs until thick and mousse like. When you lift the whisk out of the mixture it will leave a thin trail. Sift the flour with the bicarbonate of soda then fold this into the egg mix. Once the flour is well incorporated add the liquid chocolate and curdled milk and stir everything together until you have a smooth yet runny batter. Don’t be tempted to add the flour, chocolate and milk all together at the same time as you will have a lumpy batter.
Divide equally between the three tins then bake for 25-27 minutes until the cakes are risen and springy to the touch.
Remove from the tins as soon as the cakes are cool enough to handle.
Cool completely on trays
To make the frosting. First make the caramel by placing the sugar, salt and cream in a medium saucepan and heat gently stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and using a temperature probe allow the mixture to reach 119 degrees. This will take about five minutes – the mixture will be thick and bubbling. Remove from the heat and transfer to a cold bowl. Allow to go completely cold. The caramel will be thick.
In a separate bowl place the room temperature butter and whisk until creamy then add the caramel. Whisk well until well combined, smooth and gorgeous. If the caramel is not completely cold you may find the frosting is not thickening well. Pop it into the fridge to firm up then whisk again when chilled.
Place the cake on a cake board and spread the filling between each layer then cover the top and sides, both laying it on and smoothing it off as you go. You need only the thinnest crumb coat on the outside of the cake. Place in the fridge to firm up.
To make the ganache – bring the cream to the boil then pour over the chocolate which has been broken into small pieces and placed in a heat proof bowl. Add the brandy if using. Stir until the chocolate is dissolved and the mixture is shiny and smooth.
The choice now is yours !
Cool the ganache to pouring consistency then pour over the cake and allow it to run down the sides and smooth as you go or allow to cool to a drip effect.
Alternatively, cool the ganache down until it reaches the consistency of butter cream then smooth over the top and sides using a bench scraper or palette knife as an aid.
If the ganache is too warm it will be difficult to manager so be patient.
Leave the cake to firm up in a cool place for a few hours – it will freeze very well.
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