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Salted-caramel chocolate cake

Imagine the most moist, most chocolatey, most decadent chocolate cake ever. Then imagine it smothered in a  salted caramel sauce. Then imagine it sliced and landing in your mouth… Well imagine no more!

For the chocolate cake
225g flour
350g caster sugar
85g cocoa powder
tsp baking powder
tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot strong coffee
For the salted-caramel buttercream
250g butter
500g icing sugar
½ cup basic salted caramel (see below), cooled for 1 hour
For the chocolate ganache
1 cup cream
150g dark chocolate, finely chopped
To assemble
½ cup basic salted caramel, cooled for 1 hour (recipe below)
1 tsp sea salt flakes

For the chocolate cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two 23 cm springform tins.
2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarb in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and oil.
4. Pour into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.
5. Slowly add the hot coffee until all the ingredients are combined.
6. Divide equally between the tins and place in the centre of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. (It is best to bake the cakes the day before serving. Store, wrapped, in the fridge until ready to ice.)
For the salted-caramel buttercream
1. Beat the butter until soft and pale. Add the sugar, beating continuously until it’s pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the salted caramel and beat to combine.
For the chocolate ganache
1. Gently heat cream in a pot over low heat, until around room temperature.
2. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until completely melted.
3. Leave to cool slightly.
To assemble
1. Spread a layer of buttercream between the cakes. Spread more buttercream on the top.
2. Pour cooled ganache over the top, over the buttercream. Leave to set for 5 minutes.
3. Pour cooled salted caramel over the ganache and sprinkle with salt.

Basic salted caramel

MAKES 1½ cups

2 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 cup cream
50g butter
3 tsp sea salt flakes

1. Place the sugar and water in a pot over low heat. Let the sugar dissolve, scraping down any sugar crystals that form on the side of the pot.
2. Bring to the boil and cook for 10–15 minutes, until the syrup turns a deep amber colour. Take it off the heat and add the cream. Leave to bubble.
3. Whisk in the butter and salt.

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