Every year I ask my daughter what cake she would like for her birthday and the answer is always the same, chocolate. Although I do have to say, she does want a different filling most years and this time she chose caramel.
Any particular design or theme in mind???
Only a few hours later I got her mobile phone almost pressed against my face with the picture of a spectacular cake. A very tall one with drippings along the side and shards of caramel stuck in it, they are all over Instagram at the moment (apparently). This one please, she said.
I swallowed and took a deep breath. I’ll see what we can do honey…I said.
I can’t believe my little girl is turning 14. For her first birthday party I went looking for a special cake, and couldn’t find one. Not a pretty one at least.
Birthday cakes here (in this area) are so boring compared to the ones in the states, it’s getting much better now but 14 years ago all you could get were these awful sponge cakes with some jam in the middle and cream on top. No that wasn’t going to be good enough for my girl.
I tried to make a few “pretty” cakes, the cakes themselves were not the problem, but decorating them was a huge problem. I tried really hard to make them look pretty but I didn’ t like the result, they were lopsided, the frosting went on crooked, just aweful.
So I went to the states and followed a master class at the Wilton School of cake decorating, it is something I had wanted to do for a long time and now I finally had an excuses. I intended to bake a cake for her birthday every year after all and hopefully even one for her wedding day so I didn’t feel guilty about going all the way to the US. When I got home I made the little lady the best cake ever.
I can’t even begin to tell how much fun it is to create a cake, a special cake for a special someone. Surprise them and show them through baking how much you care.
This cake has caramel shards on top, that I will explain in detail how to make, then a swiss meringue fudgy caramel buttercream between delicious moist chocolate cake layers. Caramel dripping around the cake. Then besides the impressive caramel shards and Unicorn Bark all sorts of chocolate and sweets to make it a decadent feast.
Ingredients Fudgy Caramel:
1 C. plain sugar
3 tbsp. water
1 C. cream
3 tbsp. butter.
1/2 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
In a large pan add the sugar and water, bring to a boil. Cook around 7 minutes, brushing down the sugar crystals that form on the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Be careful, sugar is extremely hot!
When the caramel turns light golden remove from the heat, Remove it before it gets too dark because it will continue to cook for a while off the heat. Alternatively use a candy thermometer, when it reaches 180°/356°F remove from heat. Add the butter stirring vigorously with a beater the the cream and vanilla.
The caramel will bubble up like crazy. Stand back, wear long sleeves!!!
Pour into a clean heat proof container. I use a glass weck jar. Cool and store until ready to use. Will keep for about a week.
Ingredients Caramel Shards;
1 C. sugar
4 tbsp. water
Place sugar and water in a pan and cook over medium high heat for about 7-10 minutes or until thermometer reaches 180°/356°F.
Remove from heat and pour onto a baking tray that has been lined with baking parchment. Pour into the desired shape. I pour it into a rectangle like shape so I can break it in to large segments. Let cool for a couple of hours before using.
Ingredients Swiss meringue butter cream;
5 large egg whites
1 C. sugar
2 C. butter at room temperature cut into little blocks of about a tablespoon.
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Store airtight in the fridge, keeps for 3 days.
butter and cocoa for coating and dusting the cake pan
3 C. All Purpose Flour
3 C. Granulated Sugar
1½ C. Unsweetened Cocoa
1 tbsp. Baking Soda
1½ tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1½ C. buttermilk
1½ C. warm water
½ C. Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 175°/350° degrees.
Butter two 10 inch cake rounds. Dust with cocoa and tap out the excess.
Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer using a low speed until combined.
In a seperate bowl beat the eggs and combine with the buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla.
Add wet to dry. Beat on a medium speed until smooth. This should take just a couple of minutes.
Divide batter among the two pans.
Bake for about 35 minutes until the cake meets the toothpick test (stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean).
Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out the cakes onto the racks and allow to cool completely.
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