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Sweet and Salty Cake (Chocolate and Salted Caramel)

June 1, 2011
Sweet and Salty Cake

This recipe comes courtesy of “Baked” (apparently it’s in NYC and famous) via Edd Kimber (winner of The Great British Bake Off).

I’d been pondering my next challenge and since this cake looked so fantastic on he-eats.com, I thought I’d give it a whirl and see if I could step up my game a bit! Also, salted caramel seems to be the new chilli chocolate – in that I thought it was quite a common concept but a lot of people seem to be surprised, albeit pleasantly, by it.

A few blogs that I have looked at since making this complain that it is a lot of effort. I really didn’t find it that hard (bar a small caramel mishap). Just make sure you read it through before you start. I think that if I’d had uniform cake tins (rather than a mish-mash of silicone / springfrom and normal) I could have made it look even better.

I found that there was far too much ganache frosting. Which is fine, since I now have some in store for future use, but you may want to make half the amount. Clearly I do not have the same levels of frosting need as the standard NYC consumer.

My only mis-hap was that my first batch of caramel burned. This was because I’d impatiently turned the heat up to make it reach caramel stage faster, only for it to continue rising and burn. My advice is, when it reaches 275f, turn the heat down a little so that the temperature still rises but much slower.

Made while listening to Aim and Josh Rouse

Sweet and Salty Cake Recipe

Chocolate sponge

85g dark unsweetened cocoa powder
295ml hot water
155ml sour cream
375g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
170g unsalted butter, softened
115g vegetable shortening (e.g. trex)
300g granulated sugar
240g dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C.

Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter this too. Dust with flour knocking out any excess. Set aside.

Whisk together the cocoa, hot water and sour cream – set aside to cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Add the butter and shortening to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat on medium until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for about another 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Give the sides of the bowl a scrape and give one last mix for 30 seconds.

Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the cocoa mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Divide equally amongst the three pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 4o minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting out to cool completely.

Salted Caramel Filling
(you could get away with about 2/3rds of this)

Equipment: sugar thermometer
120ml double cream
1 tsp fleur de sel (sea salt)
200g granulated sugar (I used caster sugar – not sure if it would make any difference)
2 tbsp golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
60ml sour cream

Put the sugar, golden syrup and  60 ml water into a medium pan set over high heat, stirring gently to combine. Cook until the caramel reaches 350F on a sugar thermometer, should take about 6-8 minutes. Turn the heat down as it gets close to temperature and be ready to remove straight away otherwise it will burn.

Meanwhile place the cream and salt in a small saucepan set over medium heat and bring to a simmer, to dissolve the salt.

When you remove the caramel from the heat, allow it to cool for a minute before adding the cream mixture followed by the sour cream. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to an airtight container and refrigerating until needed. (You definitely don’t want it warm when filling the cake as it makes it much more likely to ooze into the ganache)

Whipped Caramel Ganache Frosting
(I would make half this amount!)

Equipment: sugar thermometer
450g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa content) chopped
350ml double cream
200g caster sugar
2 tblsp golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
450g unsalted butter, soft but cool cut into pieces

Place the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl and set aside.

Put the sugar, golden syrup and  60 ml water into a medium pan set over high heat, stirring gently to combine. Cook until the caramel reaches 350F on a sugar thermometer, should take about 6-8 minutes. Turn the heat down as it gets close to temperature and be ready to remove straight away otherwise it will burn.

Meanwhile place the cream (no salt this time) in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

When you remove the caramel from the heat, allow it to cool for a minute before adding the cream.

Stir the caramel and cream mixture slowly for two minutes before pouring over the chocolate. Allow to sit for a minute before stirring slowly to form the caramel ganache. Let the mixture cool then transfer to the bowl of an electric stand mixer, and mix on low speed until the bowl is cool to the touch. Increase the speed to medium high and gradually incorporate the butter, beating until fully combined. Scrape the bowl down and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy.

To Assemble

Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cardboard cake round. Spread about the salted caramel across the layer and top some of the frosting. Make sure the caramel stays just inside the edge of the cake or it will ooze through the frosting when you ice around the sides. Repeat with a second layer of cake then top with the final layer of cake. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Decorate with flakes of salt / gold lustre / whatever you desire!

For the best results you may want to a thin layer of ganache to create an even surface then chill it and do another layer in or to get a nice smooth finish (This depends if you have a big enough fridge or freezer)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan permalink
    October 21, 2011 12:40 pm

    Thanks for a great write-up, and for some really extra helpful tips above and beyond the original recipe – I’m sure they’ll be invaluable when I come to make the cake. One question though: the recipe on Edd Kimber’s site lists the first ingredient as 3/4 cup of cocoa powder (which I guess must be around 175g). Your recipe calls for 85g of cocoa powder. Both recipes obviously work very well, but did you decide on an intentional reduction of cocoa powder, or is that just a minor recipe discrepancy? Thanks again for taking the time to post such helpful tips!

  2. Dan permalink
    October 25, 2011 5:41 pm

    Doh – my mistake. According to the converter on http://www.dianasdesserts.com, 3/4 cup of cocoa is 85g, so your recipe and Edd’s are identical. No reason left for me not to try it out now!

  3. October 25, 2011 6:26 pm

    Wahoo! Sorry I didn’t get back to you before you found the answer for yourself. Yep, you better get baking 🙂 Do you have a blog / flickr? I’d love to see the results.

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