Get a load of this – Salty sweet chocolate cake

Yesterdays project involved this great cookbook I checked out from the library. It’s called Baked – New Frontiers in Baking and it’s full of recipes from their Brooklyn Bakery.

Their signature creation, most requested recipe and most beloved cake at the bakery is the Sweet & Salty Cake and I couldn’t wait to try it. Since today some friends and I are putting on a little informal baby shower for another friend I thought this would be the perfect excuse to try the cake and bring it over for the shower. And let me tell you I CANNOT wait to try this little cake!

Now, as you can imagine, their recipes are not simple. But I guess none of the recipes that I ever want to try, are simple. This one, actually really wasn’t that bad, but I baked the cake layers a day ahead. I made the caramel and frosting yesterday and put the cake together. Since lately my apartment temperature hovers around 59 degrees, it was the perfect temperature to make a perfect buttercream and assembling the cake was a snap!

Here is the list of ingredient for the three components of this cake:

Classic Chocolate Cake Layers:
3/4 Cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (which I just realized I forgot to put in, uh oh)
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla

For the salted caramel
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup sour cream

For the Whipped Caramel Ganache Frosting
1 Pound Dark Chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups (four sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

And you need roughly 5 teaspoons of fleur de sel (sea salt), for the layers of the cake and for the garnish.

Now to make the cake, pre-heat the over to 325 degrees (thank god, this totally warmed up my apartment on this frigid weekend!) butter/oil three 8″ round cake pans, cut out parchment paper rounds that fit in the bottom of the cake pans and oil them, as well.

To make the cake batter combine the cocoa powder, hot water and sour cream and set aside to cool.

Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside. (I will be honest, I amost never do this for cake recipes. I end up just adding all these dry ingredients to my wet ingredients at the end. I am a big fan of not dirtying as many bowls as most recipes suggest and most of the time, the recipe comes out just fine.)

Beat the butter and shortening in the kitchenaid with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at at time and beat between each addition. Add the vanilla and beat a little more. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds.

Add your dry ingredients, alternating with your cocoa mixture. Divide the batter between all three cake pans and bake for about 40 minutes, until you can stick a fork in the middle of the cakes and the prongs come out clean.

Make the salted caramel by adding the cream and the sea salt. Heat until the salt is all dissolved.

Add 1/4 cup of water, the corn syrup and the granulated sugar to a different saucepan. Heat on high until the mixture reads 350 degrees (6-8 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool. Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture and let it cool. Put it in an airtight container and store in refrig until you are ready to assemble cake.

Making the caramel ganache frosting start out the same way as above.

Make the salted caramel by adding the cream and the sea salt. Heat until the salt is all dissolved.

Add 1/4 cup of water, the corn syrup and the granulated sugar to a different saucepan. Heat on high until the mixture reads 350 degrees (6-8 minutes). Pour the mixture over the dark chocolate in another heat-proof bowl. Let it sit for a minute until it starts to melt the chocolate.
Mix up this mixture until all the chocolate is completely melted. Let it cool and transfer to your mixer bowl. Beat this chocolate on low until it’s completely cool.
Increase the speed to med-high and start adding the butter in small pieces until all is completely incorporated . Beat on high until the mixture is fluffy.

Assemble the cake

Place the first layer of the cake on a serving platter, add 1/3 of the salted caramel and spread it out. Add 1/4 of the ganache frosting and spread it out. Sprinkle some sea salt over this layer and add the second layer of cake. Add the caramel, frosting and sea salt in the same way. Add the third layer of cake and caramel. Crumb coat the cake with the ganache and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Frost the cake with the rest of the frosting and garnish with the remaining sea salt.

Phew – done – Finally!

I will let you know how it tastes after we sample it at the shower dinner tonight.

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