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
Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water, much like a double boiler.
Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and reached 160°F on a thermometer, about 15 minutes. Test this by picking some between your thumb and index finger if you don’t have a thermometer, there should be no sugar grains. Put mixing bowl on the mixer and using the whisk attachment start mixing until mixture cools to room temperature. Begin on low, raising the speed up to medium high. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 10 minutes. Now add your butter, 2 tablespoons at a time.Beating on medium until each addition of butter is added.
Now add your vanilla. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with your paddle attachment.
Mix with for 2 minutes on low speed working out all the air bubbles.
Makes enough frostng to cover a fill one 9″ layer cake.
Store airtight in the fridge, keeps for 3 days.
1 C. vanilla white candy melts + 1 tbsp.
Melt the candy melts in a bowl in the microwave at thirty second intervals until melted.
Spread onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and form a sort of rectangle.
Sprinkle with the decorations and leave to dry completely.
Break lengthwise into two or three shreds.
Flip them over, melt the remaining tablespoon of candy melts in a little bowl and “glue”on the wooden skewers with the chocolate so you will be able to stick them into the cake.
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.
Caramel Buttercream frosting (filling);
Mix one cup caramel fudge sauce with one cup buttercream, whip until well combined.
Assembling and decorating the cake;
Place a little dab of buttercream on a cake round and place the first cake layer on it. Level the cake with a serrated knife or a cake cutter. Level the other cake layer as well.
Spread with the caramel filling and place the second layer of cake on it. Press a little bit.
Now cover the entire cake with a very thin layer of the Swiss meringue buttercream and place in the fridge for half an hour. After this time cover the cake with an other layer of the buttercream, smoothing it out completely.
Dab some pink food coloring here and there and with your scraper just go alongside the cake to spread out and smooth.
Decorate the cake with the shards of caramel, the Unicorn Bark and all the pretty Nonpareils
you feel like. Let yourself go and use your vivid imaginations.
Note: I used a dummy to make the cake look twice as high, you can get one here
Round Cake Dummy
This post contains affiliate links.