Caramel chocolate celebration cake

img_1354It’s been a while since I put my ‘cake creation cap’ on. But when I was tasked with supplying dessert at a recent family dinner, well I figured it was well and truly time to dust off the ol’ cap and get to work.  Particularly when it was to be a birthday and “bon voyage” cake all in one.

img_1351I’ve seen lots of layer “drip” cakes doing the rounds, and decided to give one a try. I think my ganache was a little runny (resulting in rather drippy drips that were far from their picturesque pinterest cousins), but the flavour was still there. And I even went so far as to try my hand at Italian meringue buttercream in place of the usually sickly sweet American buttercream – and boy I’m glad that I did. For it worked just beautifully at mellowing out the otherwise rich caramel mudcake hidden inside – and meant that we reserved our sugar overload for the other goodies piled high on the cake – twix bars, jersey caramels, chocolate stars, malteasers and butterscotch popcorn.


Yes, I think this was very appropriately dubbed a celebration cake – for it had a little of everything!        img_1358Caramel chocolate celebration cake

For the caramel mud cakes:

  • 400g butter, cubed
  • 400g white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 tbs golden syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 2 cups self raising flour, sifted
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line 2 x 22cm cake tins.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, water, golden syrup and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir over low heat, stirring, until the butter and chocolate melt and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Place the cooled chocolate mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the sifted flours and stir until combined.
  5. Divide the mixture between the two prepared pans, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the caramel Italian meringue buttercream:

  • 1 sugar + 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 egg whites
  • 500g butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce (or more to taste)
  1. Place the water and 1 cup of sugar in a small saucepan, and stir to combine. Heat over a low to medium heat. Clip on a candy thermometer.
  2. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of cream of tartar if you like. Start the mixer on medium-low to begin frothing the whites
  3. When the sugar begins to boil, increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high. When the whites are at soft peaks, gradually add the 1/4 cup of reserved sugar. Continue beating until they become stiff peaks, then change to the beater attachment.
  4. When the sugar reaches 120C, turn off the heat. With the mixer running on a low speed, slowly pour the hot sugar in a fine stream down the side of the bowl with the egg whites
  5. When all the sugar is added, increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture has almost cooled (this takes a good 5–10 mins).
  6. When the meringue has cooled, start adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running on medium.
  7. When all the butter has been added, increase the mixer to high to beat until the buttercream forms and is smooth. Change to the whisk attachment, add the caramel sauce, and whisk for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 200ml double cream
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Heat the double cream in a saucepan over medium heat. As soon as it begins to bubble, remove it from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate. Continue to stir until the mixture is thick and smooth, without any remaining lumps of chocolate. Place in the fridge until the desired “drip” consistency is reached.

To decorate

  • Prepared buttercream icing and ganache
  • Leftover caramel sauce
  • malteasers
  • butterscotch or caramel popcorn
  • chocolate stars
  • jersey caramels, halved
  • twix bars, halved

To assemble:

  1. Trim the tops off the cakes, so that they are even.
  2. Put a small dot of the buttercream on your serving plate, then place one of the cakes on top. Spread with a good amount of the buttercream, a little caramel sauce, then place the other cake on top.
  3. Using a palette knife, cover the cakes completely in the buttercream, starting with a crumb layer then a smooth outer layer. Place in the fridge for one hour to chill.
  4. Remove the cake from the fridge and pour the ganache over. You can do this using a disposable piping bag , or by gently spooning the ganache onto the centre of the cake and encouraging drips to fall down the sides.
  5. Top the cake with the various edible decorations, and place back in the fridge.
  6. Remove the cake from the fridge about half an hour before serving.

Salted caramel and chocolate pots

IMG_7513 Last week we had some friends around for a mid week dinner party, which sent me in search of a quick and easy make-ahead dessert. And while these salted caramel chocolate pots look impressive – they were actually really easy to put together. I basically followed this recipe –with the help of a few ‘cheats’ along the way. IMG_7519 For the bottom caramel layer, I used pre-made caramel…   Yup told you there were a few cheats! The product as it comes out of the can, however, is rather gluggy – so I warmed it a little then whisked until smooth – adding in some sea salt along the way. IMG_7521 Then for the chocolate layer – well I cant say this would suit anyone who is diet-conscious. For it was pure chocolate, sugar, milk and cream, resulting in an almost-ganache-like chocolate layer. Then it was into the fridge overnight to set. IMG_7524 To finish off the dish, I kept things simple. Just 3 pretzel sticks sitting on top of the pots – perfectly  for dipping and cutting through the sweetness of the dessert! IMG_7516 We all agreed they were really rich, but also very tasty. Although when there is salt, caramel and chocolate involved – you can rarely go wrong… Perhaps I should try and come up with a healthier version?? Salted caramel and chocolate pots (makes 4)

  • 1 can Nestle Caramel top n fill
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100 dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 200ml double cream (at room temp)
  • 100ml milk
  • pretzel sticks to serve

    1. Warm the caramel in the microwave, then whisk with the sea salt until smooth. Pour into 4 serving cups and set aside.
    2. Melt the chocolate over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat, then stir in the cream and the milk – continuing to stir until smooth and glossy.
    3. Slowly pour the chocolate over the caramel layer, and chill for a few hours (or overnight).
    4. Top with the pretzel sticks to serve.

    What about you? Are you a fan of the chocolate / caramel combination?

    The little caramel slice that wasn’t

    IMG_1142 On a cold Canberra day, not too many days ago, I had a big pot of beef massamun slowly cooking its way into tenderness on the stove. For with rugby on the telly that evening, and a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge, we were throwing ourselves a little rugby party. And what party is complete without a sweet note to end on. A victory treat if our team won, or perhaps a sugary consolation if the result was not what we hoped. And so it came to be that late Saturday afternoon, I sent Mr BBB on a mercy dash to the local shop to pick up 2 key ingredients – a can of sweetened condensed milk and a block of dark chocolate. All so I could put together one of my all time favourite sweet treats – caramel slice. IMG_1141 I baked the biscuit layer, then topped it with the caramel mixture (through which I had stirred walnuts), finished with the 85% dark chocolate. Then into the fridge to set. IMG_1107IMG_1110IMG_1112 At this stage, I still had high hopes. But alas, when I went to slice it, well….this happened… IMG_1143 Although our team was victorious that night, sadly this little slice was not. Tasty? Yes. IMG_1147 But not quite the caramel slice I remember from my childhood. And certainly not reflective of the picture perfect slice in the recipe…. IMG_1104 Not even close. IMG_1149 That’s not too say it didn’t stop me from tasting it. Once, twice, thrice – you know – just to be sure that it wasn’t up to my high caramel slice standards. So I wont yet share a recipe. For that, my friends, is a work in progress. A delicious, calorie-laden work in progress nonetheless. What about you? Are you a fan of the caramel slice?

    Homemade holiday treats – salted caramel fudge

    Happy Tuesday lovely people! With Christmas well and truly on its way, it is time for day 2 of my 5 days of Homemade Holiday treats. holidaytreats And today’s treat is a good one. Even if I do say so myself. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that caramel is involved. And caramel is my favourite flavour. fudge I wanted to create a treat that could be made in advance, would survive a car trip to Melbourne and that would keep for a couple of weeks. Hence caramel fudge seemed like the perfect option! Fudge is one of those sweet treats that I love to indulge in, although when I make it from scratch I realise why one should only indulge in a little piece. IMG_3920IMG_3921 For this treat is really nothing more than sugar. And butter. With a side of sugar. And chocolate. IMG_3923IMG_3924 But boy it is delicious! IMG_3926 Particularly when sprinkled with sea salt. IMG_3963 The only shame with this fudge is that it turned out a little soft (I think  I took it off the stove too early). IMG_3969 But all is not lost, I just plan on keeping it in the fridge until serving time. IMG_3971 The flavour, however, was spot on – rich in caramel with just a hint of sea salt. IMG_3972 Delish! IMG_3970 Salted Caramel Fudge (recipe here)

    • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
    • 2 tbs glucose syrup
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup golden syrup
    • 125g butter, chopped
    • 180g white chocolate, chopped
    • 1tsp sea salt flakes
    1. Grease 20 x 20cm square cake pan, and line base and sides with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang on all sides.

    2. Heat condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, without boiling, for 10 minutes or until mixture is glossy and sugar has dissolved.

    3. Increase heat to medium-low. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook, stirring constantly, for 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens and comes away from side of pan. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until combined and melted. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Sprinkle with salt, pressing in with the back of a spoon to secure.

    4. Set aside for 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 6 hours or until firm. Cut into pieces and serve.

    And then, because I just couldn’t stop … IMG_3983 I also made a batch of Jessica’s mocha coconut fudge. Sprinkled with a little coloured coconut in honour of the festive season. And, which, unlike my caramel version, had a perfect fudge texture. IMG_3981 But you will have to head over to her blog for that recipe! What about you? Are you a fan of fudge?? What is your favourite flavour?