Wednesday, 6 February 2013

TBP: Caramel Layer Cake

I have decided that from now on I will be updating The Baking Project every Wednesday! Therefore I will be baking something at least once a week in order to keep up with the updates.

This week's bake was my first cake in quite a while, a caramel layer cake. It is made up of three layers of vanilla sponge with a sea-salt caramel filling and icing and a chocolate-caramel filling.

I was tasked to make a pudding for a 11 - 12 people coming for dinner last Sunday. The occasion was a send off for my brother and his girlfriend as they embark on a six month road trip to North America. For the foodies out there, he will be blogging about his culinary experiences here.

I'd been eyeing up this cake for a while, but just hadn't found a time to make such a large dessert, so I was quite excited to get stuck in!

Ingredient wise, nothing unusual or hard to source so had no problems getting what I needed from the local supermarket. The sponge was fairly basic, although I did have trouble beating out all the lumps, even though I was using an electric whisk. In the end I left a few as I felt I was close to over beating the mixture - if I hadn't already. The mixture was spread over three sandwhich tins and went into the oven.

I forgot to take any pictures between this and the result, so I apologise for that! The sponges didn't rise very well, but they were a lovely golden colour. I also discovered a bit more about my oven, the sponge on the bottom needed an extra minute, while the sponge on the top left was a little darker than that on the right. Not a problem, and useful to know how the position around the oven could affect the bake.

While leaving the sponges to cool, I made the caramel filling. I don't have a very sweet tooth, so I added a little extra salt than the recipe stated which I think worked well. The cake with the large amount of filling and icing would have tasted way too sweet without the salty caramel. However,  I couldn't make the chocolate-caramel filling work. Once I combined the caramel and melted chocolate, the mixture became very grainy and frankly pretty unappetising, so I decided to discard it.

The cake wasn't hard to assemble (even though the recipe warned of landslides) and the caramel was exactly the right consistency for an easy spread and cover. I piped an admittedly shakey spiral, and used a cocktail stick to feather. From the picture attached, you can probably gather that I a) can not make a straight line and b) can not judge an even slice (you should see my pizza slicing).

As I was busy the day before, I made this recipe on the Friday before. The recipe stated that the cake's flavour matures, so to make it a day before. Although I couldn't taste it on the day, at least the cake apparently got better with age rather than...stale.

The final cake
 Sunday came, and the cake was to presented to the guests. I am not, by anyone's imagination, the world's best slicer, but I was pleasantly surprised by the slices! There are little crumbs, and the filling and icing had set completely creating a clean, attractive slice. So appearance, check, how about taste? Everyone cleaned their plates (that I could see) and it went down a treat!

It was a shame I couldn't use the chocolate-caramel filling, but I don't think the cake suffered because of it. I ended up with a tasty cake and would recommend the recipe if you want something with a slightly unusual flavour.

I have no clue what next week's bake will be yet, but I'm craving something savoury. Have you made a cake which incorporated a strong salty flavour?

S. x

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