Friday, 11 January 2013

Chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream

Gorgeous cake into my life on Christmas day. It was love at first sight. Would you like to see him?

I debated for ages whether to get a KitchenAid or a Kenwood kMix and in the end kMix won out (mostly on price). Which is just as well. Within two days of Gorgeous' arrival, both the fridge and the oven died on me... quite possibly of shame. So I had to hastily replace them... lets just say it has been a very expensive Christmas!

To celebrate the new arrival (and put him through his paces) I decided to make a cake for a (belated) New Year dinner party. The cake makes good use of my leftover Salted Caramel Sauce... and it was a real hit.

Chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream

For Chocolate Fudge Cake
Recipe from Linda Collister's Baking Bible
90g plain chocolate, chopped
115g unsalted butter
90g dark brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
175g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence or paste
90ml whole milk

Salted Caramel Sauce
125ml  water
200 gr caster sugar
120 ml cup double cream
120 ml  cup créme fraiche
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon maldon sea salt (or to taste)

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
I tweaked this recipe from Whisk Kid
5 large egg whites
200g caster sugar
200-225g unsalted butter, chopped and at room temperature (see note below)
3-4 tbsp salted caramel sauce (or to taste)

Caramel or plain Milk Chocolate Flavoured Drops
to decorate (I used Silver Spoon)

This recipe will be long but it is not overly hard to make. It helps if you have the sauce to hand however as I did and you can bake the cake the day before. This cake is best split into two 20cm pans and not three but I wanted a bigger layered cake.

The cake is really extremely simple to make. Preheat the oven to 170 C. Spray three 20cm cake tins with cake release spray (or line and grease them). Put the chocolate, butter, sugar and golden syrup in pan and heat gently, stirring constantly, till it's all combined. Set aside to cool slightly.

Put the milk, eggs and vanilla in a measuring jug and whisk briefly to combine.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb of soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the chocolate mix and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the milk mix and beat gently with spoon till combined then pour into three tins and spread evenly. Bake for 15m (or up to 20 if cooked into 2 pans). When out of the oven brush with a little warm caramel sauce (heat in pan or microwave and dilute if needed with splash of rum). Please refer to previous post for Salted Caramel Sauce.

To make the Swiss Meringue buttercream put the egg whites and sugar in a clean mixing bowl (ideally your stand mixer bowl). Wipe it with some lemon juice if in doubt - any grease and the meringue will flop. Bring a small pan of water to the boil and then set your mixing bowl on top. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Reduce the heat so water is simmering and start whisking the eggs gently. The aim here is for the sugar to completely dissolve and the eggs to get quite hot - (160F on a sugar thermometer). This takes about 5 minutes.

Take bowl off the heat and connect to your mixer. Whip the egg whites on high speed till they thicken into a glossy stiff meringue. This will take a minimum of 10 minutes. The bowl need to be room temperature by the end so if it's too hot, keep whipping. Once the bowl is cool and meringue is ready start adding the cubed butter. Add one piece at a time and whip until fully incorporated before adding another piece. The trick here is for the butter to be room temperature - not too cold or too soft. If the butter is too soft (or the bowl still too warm) the meringue will turn into soup. Do not despair and bin it! Put the bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes or till cool. Then just keep whipping, just keep whipping (to the tune of Dorrie in Finding Nemo).

The buttercream will go through stages of thickening as you add the butter. It may start looking odd or curdled but keep faith and just keep whipping, just keep whipping... Once it comes together it will look thick and glossy. Now it's time to add the salted caramel sauce. Add one tablespoon at a time and whip well to combine. Taste to see whether to add more - I used about 4 tablespoons. I can't really put into words how epically delicious this buttercream is. You just have to trust me. Or better yet, make it. This recipe will make enough to ice and frost a 20 cm three layer cake.
For a very detailed step-by-step tutorial please visit Whisk kid.

Place your cake on a cake board (or stand) and put a generous amount of the buttercream on top and repeat with remaining cake. You will have a three layer cake. Cover the top with more buttercream and smooth. Frost the sides with some buttercream and smooth. Put in the fridge to set for half an hour.

To create the chocolate decorations melt the chocolate buttons in the microwave following instruction on packaging. Take care as they burn very easily. Heat for a few seconds at a time and check stir every time. Once melted 'paint' curved lines on a large piece of baking paper with a palette knife. Let them cool and almost set and then put (flat) in the freezer for a couple of minutes. Once out of the freezer they will come off the paper easily and you need to work fast or they may melt. Break into pieces and stick to the side of the cake with some buttercream. Drizzle some caramel on top if you like. When my toddler saw the cake he went 'fire'! I tried to come up with a fire inspired name for it but failed... let me know if you come up with one.

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  1. It was delicious. The buttercream especially is out of this world.

  2. This looks incredible! I definitely want to try this, especially the amazing decoration.

  3. The decoration was surprisingly easy. And has so much scope - imagine using coloured candy melts...

    I must submit something to your Baking With Spirit January Challenge...

  4. The decoration may be easy but the effect is stunning! A beautiful cake! Karen

  5. I made this one for a big party thingy at the weekend. It was surprisingly easy to make, and I LOVED the caramel sauce. I accidentally ate a lot of that out of the pan with a spoon. Turns out that 160 degrees C is actually quite hot, though... :-)
    The Swiss meringue buttercream was such a lot of fun to make. It has such a light, fluffy texture, and while mine didn't turn out as smooth and glossy as it was meant to, I disguised it with the chocolate and the drizzly caramel.
    And as for the verdict - apparently it was one of the best cakes my friend had ever tasted, which is quite a compliment! Thank you!

    I can't work out how to add a photo, but I do have one!

    1. I am @spidergravy if you want the photo!

  6. Claire thanks for the comment and so glad it turned out well! Will check if there's a way to post your photo here...

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