It has been raining for a week now. I am so sick of rain. I know some people might be thinking what, a week? That’s nothing! But I’m sorry, having grown up during a ten year drought, when we used to use buckets to collect bath water to pour back on to the garden, I am not liking this weather at all. The photos look so sad and colourless when there’s hardly any natural light. It makes this chocolate cake look mournful! Like a going away cake. So different from the celebratory chocolate layer cake of a few weeks ago! Well my friends. That is exactly what it is. So maybe the weather suits the mood after all.
In a very short amount of time my friend Hannah will be jetting overseas for a ridiculously long period of time, eight months! That’s almost a year! This cake was for her surprise goodbye party and it is my third layer cake attempt. It didn’t come out looking exactly how I wanted, but hey. It has character!
This is a very rich cake. The layers are a variation of a chocolate truffle cake. The recipe reads more like a brownie than anything else, and the batter smelt amazing whilst it was baking! Probably because there was an entire vanilla bean mixed with the sugar. In between these layers is a whipped dulce de leche caramel filling. Encasing the whole thing is a silky whipped chocolate ganache and sprinkles of course because we are celebrating here.
While it’s exciting to see her go knowing she’s going to have an amazing time exploring Europe and Asia, I’m really sad to say goodbye. I will probably be consoling myself later with a piece of this cake and a spoon (for smearing over leftover ganache, of course).
Chocolate Caramel Truffle Cake (adapted from Kate Quinn Davies recipe in June Delicious 2013):
500ml (2 cups) whole milk
200g (1 + 1/4 cups or 7 ounces dark chocolate
250g ( 1/2 pound, 8.8 ounces, 1.1 cups) butter, in cubes
125ml (1/2 cup) cream
1 vanilla bean
375g (1 + 3/4 cups) caster sugar
410g (3 cups) plain flour
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 160C. Grease and line four 20cm cake tins (or as many as you have). Melt the butter, cream and chocolate in a large bowl over simmering water. Heat the milk until warm and add to the chocolate mix, stirring to combine. Allow to cool slightly. Beat your eggs, sugar and the seeds from the vanilla bean until thick and pale. Slowly pour in the chocolate mix until combined. Sift over the dry ingredients and stir well. To divide the cake batter evenly, set a large bowl over a set of scales and set the weight back on zero. Pour in the mix. Divide by four and spoon in to the tin a quarter of the mix, using the weight as an indicator. Bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and dry when a toothpick is inserted.
Depending on how thick you want the layers, use 2 to 3 cans of condensed milk. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Pour into a shallow baking dish and smooth it evenly. Cover with foil. Place the dish in a larger baking dish and pour water into so that it comes half way up the sides of the can. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the caramel is thick and brown. Check throughout a few times and make sure the water doesn’t run out. Once cool, beat with electric mixers until fluffy. Put one layer of cake on a large flat plate. Spread one quarter of the caramel over the cake, leaving a little room around the edges because it will squeeze out. Use a pallet knife or large butter knife to spread the caramel evenly. Repeat with the remaining layers.
150g (1 cup) dark chocolate, broken in to pieces
200g (1 + 1/3 cups) milk chocolate, broken into pieces
300ml (1 + 1/4 cups) thickened cream
Break up the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until scalding and pour over the chocolate. Leave for a minute, then stir together until the chocolate melts. If some of it hasn’t melted set the bowl over a stove of simmering water and stir until smooth. Cool in the fridge for an hour, until thick. Pour into a mixer and beat until fluffy. Use an offset spatula to ice the cake, using a circular motion. Decorate with sprinkles or buttons if you wish.