Week 52: Salted caramel layer cake

I have always loved salted caramel, and perpetually have a jar of it sitting in my refrigerator. I saw this recipe a while back and my friend’s office birthday party is the perfect reason to make it.

I followed the recipe almost exactly, except I made only half the salted caramel sauce and extra frosting in order for the decorating piping on the top of the cake.

Makes an 8″ round cake

INGREDIENTS

For the caramel cake

113g unsalted butter, room temperature

150g caster sugar

150g dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

125g plain flour, sifted

125g cake flour, sifted

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp white vinegar

For salted caramel sauce

100g sugar

42g unsalted butter, cubed & room temperature

¼ cup heavy cream, room temperature

Sea salt to taste

For the caramel frosting

85g dark brown sugar

80g light brown sugar

210g unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

½ cup heavy cream

340 grams cream cheese, softened

½ tsp salt

180g powdered sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS

1) For the cake layer, prepare your cake pans by buttering, lining with parchment paper and flouring. I only have 2 pans, so I baked the first 2 together, followed by the third layer afterwards.

2) Preheat oven to 175C degrees.

3) In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream butter until the consistency of mayonnaise, then, add the sugars and cream together for about 3 minutes.

4) Add the eggs, one at a time and mix until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl often.

5) Mix in the vanilla extract.

6) Add the flour and buttermilk alternating and fold in by hand.

7) In a measuring glass, mix together the baking soda and vinegar then add to the batter. Mix by hand until just incorporated. Do not overmix!

8) Separate batter evenly into the prepared cake pans.

9) Bake about 20 minutes on 160C or until the top and edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

10) Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

11) For the salted caramel sauce, in a very large, heavy saucepan or pot over medium-low heat, pour the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of the pan. Let the sugar melt with minimal disturbance.

12) Let the melted sugar cooked until it turned a deep amber color and has a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat.

13) Add all the butter and whisk until combined. This mixture will bubble up, but keep whisking until all the butter has melted.

14) Slowly pour the heavy cream into the mixture and whisk until incorporated.

15) Stir in the grounded sea salt.

16) Cool for about 10-15 minutes before using. Store leftovers in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator.

17) For the caramel frosting, in a medium, heavy pot, whisk together the brown sugar and 2/5 of the butter over medium heat until melted. Bring to a boil for no more than 10 seconds. Remove from heat immediately and pour in the heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Cool to room temperature. NOTE: You can use an ice bath and whisk to cool quickly if you don’t have time to wait.

18) In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the remaining butter and cream cheese until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl several times during this process.

19) Mix in the salt.

20) Turn the mixer to low and pour in a slow, steady stream the brown sugar mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed until completely smooth and incorporated.

21) Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix on medium speed until smooth.

22) The frosting will feel very soft – so refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes before frosting the cake.

23) To assemble, place one of the cake layers on your cake board. If your cake layers have domed, level them with a serrated knife or a cake leveller.

24) Poke holes across the top of the cake and spoon a layer of caramel sauce over the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Allow the caramel sauce to soak into the cake.

25) Spread a generous layer of caramel frosting on top of the caramel sauce then top with the second layer of cake.

26) Repeat this process with the second layer of cake.

27) For the third cake layer, use a thinner layer of caramel frosting, and then cover the sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Let cake cool in the freezer.

28) Once cake is cool, apply a second coat of frosting on the sides as smoothly as you can, and cover evenly with chopped peanuts.

29) Piped rosettes on the top of the cake and using a disposable piping bag with a very small hole, drizzle the caramel sauce generously.

I managed to get very flat cake layers. Was not entirely sure whether that was due to the cake strip or the low temperature in which I baked the cakes. So, zero wastage there. However, I did not managed to use up all the caramel sauce (but who cares) and I have a small portion of caramel frosting left, which will potentially go into a batch of salted caramel macarons. One day.

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