So this Sunday there was a cake contest in my town and I decided to enter it, but I didn’t know exactly what cake to make so I looked up some ideas on the internet and found this amazing cake on a website that I love which is called Crumbs & Doilies. (It's the caramel and chocolate one). Then I looked through my baking books and I found this recipe in a book which I already have, its called The Cake Book, by Jemma Wilson. The only thing then was how to decorate it so that it would have something to do with Calvia. So then I looked up Calvia's flag and found that the main colours are: blue, white, yellow, green and red. I figured out that I didn’t know how to possibly combine them into the decoration of the chocolate-caramel cake so I decided to just stick with the flag and maybe make it out of fondant...
But then I thought better about it and realized that it really wasn't necessary for the cake to have something to do with Calvia so I decided to repeat one of the cakes which I had previously done and just prey for the taste and look to be great and for the judges to give it a high grade and (maybe, only maybe) to be 3rd, 2nd or 1st....
Then I decided to make a cute banner to put on top so that it would make a simple decoration and then at the top to have a colourful icing dribbling to the bottom of the cake.
To make the Banner:
I bought the banner from Tiger and cut of 4 triangles (you can cut of as many or as little as you prefer , it all depends on ho you want your cake to look in the end). You can use the cake tin which you are going to use for the recipe to calculate how many triangles you will need to fit your cake.
Apply a bit of glue on the tops of the cake-pop sticks and stick the ends of the strings of the banner to the sticks then let dry for a day.
I got the idea of the dribbling icing from a cake I made a few months ago which resembled a "melting ice-cream cone" but the cake for the contest I made without the ice-cream cone and changing the white chocolate for a thin icing so it would be easier to cut and tastier to eat.
Chocolate & Caramel Cake (You will need 2x18cm tins)
This recipe will serve 16 people
For the Chocolate Sponges:
350g of plain flour
65g of cocoa powder
370g of caster sugar
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp of salt
240ml of coffee (Yes, even though it may sound weird coffee is a great ingredient to make things moist)
240ml of buttermilk (You can make your own buttermilk by weighing 235ml of milk and then adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice, then let it sit until it looks more dense)
210ml of vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 170ºC
Sift in all of the dry ingredients and whisk them to combine (you can use a normal electric mixer or a free-standing one) In a separate bowl briefly mix together the coffee, buttermilk, vegetable oil and eggs, now gradually add to the dry mix and beat well until the mixture turns smooth. Separate the mixture in between the 2 tins (I like to use an ice-cream scoop and pour a scoop in each tin until you don’t have any more mixture left) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Then remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool until you’re ready to decorate.
For the Vanilla Sponges:
270g of unsalted butter
50g of soft brown sugar
200g of caster sugar
250g of self-raising flour (or just add 1 teaspoon of a raising agent into the flour)
¼ of vanilla extract
1-3 tbsp of milk
Beat the butter, brown sugar and caster sugar together until light and fluffy (about 5-7 minutes).
Crack in the 4 eggs one at a time stirring well in between each new addition, then sift in the self-raising flour and gently fold through. Stir in the milk combined with the vanilla extract and adjust the quantity of the milk depending on the consistency of the dough. Divide the mixture equally following the same tip as explained in the recipe above. Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Then remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool until you’re ready to decorate.
For the Salted Caramel:
245ml of cream
220g of caster sugar
1 tsp of sea salt
6 tbsp of water
Place the cream in a pan and warm them over a low heat. Meanwhile in another pan place the water and sugar over a high heat and bring to a boil but DON’T STIR! Allow to boil for 5-8 minutes until it turns a dark amber colour, as soon as it’s ready remove from the heat and gently add the cream mixture stirring really quickly as it will bubble a lot. When the caramel starts to cool sprinkle in the sea salt and stir until dissolved, then place in an airtight container (you can make this recipe even 2 weeks before you have to make the recipe).
For the Caramel Icing and filling:
300g of unsalted butter (softened)
530g of icing sugar
1x salted caramel
For the Ganache:
400g dark chocolate
To make the caramel icing beat the butter for 5 minutes and then gradually add the sifted icing sugar and beat well until very white and fluffy. Add half of the salted caramel and mix well.
To make the ganache chop the chocolate and gently warm up the cream in a pan until some bubbles form on top of the cream. Then add the cream to the chocolate and leave to melt for 1 minute without stirring and then stir until the mixture combines. Then place in the fridge for 20-50 minutes or until your ganache reaches the consistency which you desire.
To assemble the cake:
First trim all of the cakes using a serrated knife and get the cake as flat as you can. Then prepare all of your fillings so they are ready to use. This is how you will assemble the cake: Chocolate sponge, caramel icing, caramel, Vanilla sponge, caramel icing, caramel….. ( I always put some newspaper on the counter top to clean up easily later on).
To decorate the cake:
Stack it and then apply a thin layer of the caramel icing, this is called a "crumb coat" it is used to stick all of the crumbs to the sponges to then not have any crumb in the final layer of chocolate ganache. After applying the crumb-coat, decorate your cake with the chocolate ganache and try to make a perfectly thin layer so that after the caramel will glide down smoothly, then dribble some of the leftover caramel on the top of the cake and then with a spatula move it to the edges of the cake surface and let it dribble naturally, if you still have some icing left you can use it to pipe some dots with a decorating bag to make the cake extra special. Finally stick your banner in the cake (at this point you can decide how tall you want the banner to appear on the cake by placing it as deep as you want)
Well, I hope you liked the recipe and by the way I won 2nd place in the cake contest with this cake!!!
The prize was a very cute apron! :D