Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake


My mother-in-law had a birthday recently, and the whole family came over to celebrate. She requested "any kind of chocolate cake" and I wanted to try something that would be new but familiar. I saw this recipe in the cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and decided to give it a try (after approval from Paul). My first attempts at baking from this book were met with lackluster enthusiasm (red velvet cake, root beer bundt) but once I discovered their hands-down fantastic brownie recipe, my faith was renewed.

This cake was a little more complicated them my usual birthday cake but well worth it. The salted caramel had a very pronounced flavor, helped out by liberal sprinklings of fleur de sel during the assembly process. The frosting was also a new experience: a ganache started by making a chocolate caramel, bolstered by whipped butter.

Take note: leftover caramel is excellent on ice cream :)

Sweet and Salty Cake
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Chocolate Cake:

Makes one 8-inch 3-layer cake
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup Caramel with Salt
Whipped Caramel Ganache Icing
Fleur de sel, for garnish
Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with a parchment paper round, butter parchment paper and flour; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa, 1 1/4 cups hot water, and sour cream; set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
In another large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth and it appears to create strings inside the bowl, about 7 minutes. Add both sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix again for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Divide batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake until cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 18 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely.


Salted Caramel

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1/4 cup sour cream
Directions

Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another small saucepan, mix together cream and salt. Bring cream to a boil and cook until salt has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Carefully add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Whisk in sour cream. Cool, and store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache

1 pound dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened but still cool
Directions

Combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan; stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
In another small saucepan add cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the caramel mixture has reached 350 degrees, remove from heat and allow to rest for 1 minute. Add the hot cream to the caramel; stir to combine. Let cool 5 minutes. Place chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer and pour caramel sauce over chocolate. Let sit 1 minute before stirring from the center until chocolate is melted.
Attach bowl to electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Add butter and increase speed to medium-high until mixture is well combined, thickened, and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.

To assemble the cake

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Using about 1/4 cup of the caramel, spread a thin layer on the cake, allowing some of the caramel to soak into the cake. Follow the caramel layer with a layer of about 1 cup of the ganache icing. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another layer of caramel followed by a layer of ganache icing. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining ganache icing. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.

4 comments:

Bob said...

That is quite a cake. Sounds delightful, I doubt I would ever have the gumption to make such a complex thing!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i know this cake very well from the baked bakery! it came out fantastic!

Jennette said...

I am threatening to make this cake soon. Thank you, thank you!

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Hi! I've linked your post to my Sweet and Salty Cake post. You're welcome to join my cookbook giveaway.

Baking is my Zen will be having a
COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY
from August 8 through August 14, 2010.
http://bakingismyzen.blogspot.com/2010/08/cookbook-giveaway-by-baking-is-my-zen.html

The giveaway will be the ‘not yet released’ cookbook,
Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented
By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
http://www.amazon.com/dp/1584798505/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk

Carmen of Baking is my Zen