I’m a little late in writing this up (let’s not talk about the virus that attacked my computer earlier this week!) as I was keen to get the Halloween posts up promptly. So this post takes us back a week to the final bake for EHH’s birthday – a Caramel Layer Cake from the GBBO Showstopper book. EHH loves caramel and very sweet things, so when I saw this in the book, it was an essential for his birthday.
It was the first time that I had made this cake – the cake itself was very simple to make, although it didn’t rise as much as I would like. If I were to make it again, I may use the traditional method of creaming the butter and sugar, etc, rather than doing the all-in-one method. The caramel icing took a little while to make but the most time-consuming element was the actual icing of the cake. The icing was quite nice to work with, it moved smoothly and was fairly easy to push around and cover the cake. However, I think I spent too long trying to get a perfectly smooth surface with a hot wet knife. This meant that when I piped on the chocolate and attempted to feather it, the caramel wasn’t damp enough and the feathering didn’t really work.
The recipe suggests ¼ tsp of sea salt flakes but I ended up putting about 3 tsp in – which just came through; I don’t think you’d have noticed the salt at all if I had put less. Even with the salt, the cake overall is extremely sweet – possibly a little too much so for me, but perfect for those with a very sweet tooth!
Caramel Layer Cake
For the sponge
- 300g self-raising flour
- 300g castor sugar
- 250g butter, very soft but not runny, in cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tblsp buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling/topping
- 225g butter, at room temperature
- 450g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 175ml double cream
- 300g icing sugar
- Sea salt flakes – to taste
- 100g dark chocolate, broken up
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Grease 3 x 20cm sandwich tins and line their bases with baking parchment.
- Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl and add the butter.
- Whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla using a fork and then add this to the flour mixture.
- Beat on a low speed with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, until everything is thoroughly combined and very smooth, thick and light.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the three tins and spread level.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the sponges are springy when touched lightly.
- Set the tins on a wire rack and run a round-bladed knife around the insides of the tin to loosen the sponges. Leave to cool for 2 minutes before turning out of the tins.
- Leave to cool completely.
- Put 175g of the weighed butter into a medium-sized pan with the muscovado sugar and cream.
- Heat gently until the butter has melted and then bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Pour into a heatproof mixing bowl and gradually beat in the icing sugar, using an electric mixer.
- When all the icing sugar has been added, continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and barely warm.
- Gradually beat in the rest of the butter, followed by the salt. Taste and add more salt as needed.
- Gently melt the chocolate in a glass bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Spoon about half of the chocolate into another bowl and stir in slightly less than a quarter of the caramel mixture.
Assembling the cake
- Set one sponge layer on a serving plate and spread over one-third of the caramel mixture.
- Spread a second sponge layer with the chocolate-caramel mixture and set on the first layer.
- Place the third sponge layer on top and leave the cake to set.
- When set, cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining caramel mixtgure. If it has become too firm, gently reheat until workable.
- Spoon the remaining chocolate into a piping bag and pipe a spiral of chocolate on top of the cake. “Feather” by drawing a cocktail stick through the chocolate and caramel icing.