I recently got the latest Hummingbird Bakery book, 'Cake Days', I've wanted one of their books for ages so was so excited when I first got my hands on it. I've gone through this book a million times now, and this recipe always stuck out and I knew it was something I just had to bake, it was going to be amazing too, you just know don't you?
So this, their sweet and salty chocolate cake is probably the most beautiful chocolate cake I have ever made. It's a bit of a giant too, made up for three layers, though I only managed to fit two inside my cake carrier so kept and iced the last one for home, which my family loved so that worked out well.
Mine's a bit on the wonk here as I had so many to take in got a bit shuffled around, I also should have put it on a nice plate first really for the picture shouldn't I? whoops :)
It does take quite a bit of time to make so you do need to dedicate an afternoon to it, but trust me people it is so worth it. I would also like to say you do need cutlery to eat this one, it's definitely not just a 'grab a piece' cake. I have to warn you though, the caramel is so good you might have to hide it until you use it as it is easily the yummiest caramel I have ever tasted and you will be tempted to just drink it! Sorry about the ugly picture below but I had to show you how thick the frosting was, you can see knife marks!
This recipe says you need three 8inch loose bottomed sandwich tins, I don't know about you but I certainly don't have three actual tins the same size? So I used three of the cake tins that you get in a set of two from the shop, and used three of the smaller sized one. As you probably know if you're a regular reader...I have a tin obsession so this was the only way I can ever make three the same size! This is also probably why mine came out so tall, the tins should have been a big bigger.
For the sponge:
- 300g unsalted butter, softened.
- 300g caster sugar
- 140g soft light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 100g cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
- 160ml buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 330g plain flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2tsp salt
- 200g caster sugar
- 2tbsp golden syrup
- 120ml double cream
- 60m soured cream
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 200g caster sugar
- 2tbsp golden syrup
- 360ml double cream
- 450g dark chocolate, chopped, 70% minimum cocoa solids plus extra to decorate
- 450g unsalted butter, softened
- Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
1. First make the salty caramel. In a small saucepan bring the sugar and golden syrup to the boil with 60ml water, allowing the mixture to boil for about 10 minutes, during which time it should become quite syrupy and a rich caramel colour.
2. Put the double cream, soured cream and salt into a separate pan and bring to the boil, then remove from the heat. The salt should completely dissolve into the cream.
3. When the sugar syrup is ready, remove it from the heat and carefully add the hot cream. It will bubble up as you pour in the cream, but smooth out again quickly after that, becoming a creamier golden colour. Pour the caramel into a small bowl and set it aside to cool while you make the frosting.
4. In a small, clean saucepan, bring the caster sugar and golden syrup to the boil with 60ml water, again letting this boil for about 10 minutes or until it is syrupy and caramel coloured.
5. In a separate pan, bring the double cream to the boil. Carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel; as before, it will bubble up but settle down again shortly afterwards. Set this caramel aside to cool slightly (Don't eat it! :) )
6. Once it has cooled, add the chopped chocolate, stirring constantly while the chocolate melts (don't worry it definitely will). Using a hand-held mixer, mix the frosting for about 10 minutes or until the bottom of the bowl feels cold.
7. Add the butter to the chocolate caramel frosting and whisk together until the mixture is light and looks slightly whipped. Place the frosting in the fridge to cook and set for 40-50 minutes while you make the sponge.
8. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius, gas mark 3, and line the tins.
9. Using a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment, or a hand-held one, cream together the butter and both types of sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
10. In a jug stir together the cocoa powder, buttermilk and vanilla with 60ml of water to form a thick paste. Sift together the remaining sponge indredients, then add these in stages to the creamed butter and sugar, alternating with the cocoa powder paste and mixing thoroughly on a low-to-medium speed until all the ingredients are incorporated.
11. Divide the batter between the three tins and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the top of each sponge feels springy to the touch. allow the sponges to cool slightly in their tins before turning out on to a wire rack and cooling completely before assembling.
13. Once the sponges feel cold to the touch, place one on a plate or cake board and top with approximately 2 tablespoons of the salty caramel, smoothing it over the sponge with a palette knife. Top the caramel layer with 3-4 tablespoons of the frosting and smooth it out as before.
14. Continue this process, sandwiching together the other two sponges with the remaining salty caramel and a layer of frosting and leaving enough frosting to cover the sides and the top of the cake. To finish decorate with some shaved/chopped chocolate and a light sprinkle of the sea salt flakes...although this isn't easy to get on the sides, so you kind of have to throw the chocolate/salt at the sides!
15. Eat! Nom! Pin It Now!