Wow, long time, no see. What can I say? I have been busy? I haven’t baked very much? All of the above basically… I’ve been tired and haven’t felt very inspired to bake things the last few months. But, then there was a meeting of Clandestine Cake Club a few days ago in Bracknell. I had only been once before as somehow it tends to fall whenever I have to work in the evening. But I could make it this time and the theme was Celebration Cakes as it was the first birthday of the Bracknell club.
So, I made a special cake. And it was scrumptious. The result was a rich cake with a light filling and although it could’ve been really sweet, it wasn’t. I made the chocolate fudge cake that was part of our wedding cake last year. But I decided to learn how to make a new kind (well, new to me anyway) buttercream and use that to fill the cake. I used my trusty Leith’s Baking Bible and made a cooked buttercream, which basically makes it like a soft meringue. I then iced it with salted caramel buttercream. A few people asked for the recipe, so here goes.
Chocolate fudge cake (for a 7″/18cm round cake)
(adapted from Maisie Fantaisie’s Cakes for Romantic Occasions)
130 g butter
130 g dark chocolate (I used 71% cocoa solids)
3 tsp instant coffee
95 ml water
75 g self raising flour (I used Dove’s Farm Gluten Free flour)
75 g plain flour (again gluten free)
30 g cocoa powder
1/4 tsp bicarb of soda
200 g caster sugar
100 g light brown sugar
5 tsp oil (I used sunflower)
70 ml sour cream
Preheat oven to 160C and line the sides and base of the tin with baking paper.
Gently melt the butter with the chocolate, coffee and water in a pan over a low heat, be careful not to burn the chocolate.
Sift the dry ingredients (flours, cocoa powder and bicarb) in a large bowl and add the sugars.
In a different bowl combine the eggs, oil and sour cream until well combined.
Once the chocolate mix has melted, stir it to combine until smooth and pour it into the dry ingredients, followed by the eggs mix and stir well.
Pour it into the cake tin and place in the middle of the oven.
Bake for about 1 hr 20 mins and use a skewer to check it’s done. When it comes out clean, it’s done. Leave it in the tin until cool.
Now, I like my cakes to ‘rest’ for 24 hours or so before I fill them, so I keep them in the baking paper and keep them in an air tight tin until I’m ready to fill and ice it the next day. You should be able to get three layers out of this cake, but I found it’s quite a moist sponge, so I decided on just the two layers this time.
For the chocolate meringue buttercream (Creme au Beurre Meringue)
(taken from the Leith’s Baking Bible, which is awesome and everyone should have this in their lives)
Now, this buttercream needs more time and skill than an uncooked buttercream (butter, icing sugar and flavouring chuckec together in a mixer). The result is very delicate and light, but very useable.
2 egg whites
110 g icing sugar
45 g salted butter, softened
45 g unsalted butter, softened
90 g dark chocolate, melted
Place the egg whites in a large bowl and sift the icing sugar over the top. Stir to combine.
Place the bowl over a saucepan with simmering water and beat, with an electric hand whisk, until the mixture is thick and glossy.
Remove from the heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is thick enough to hold a teaspoon upright (I don’t mine was that thick, but it was fine to fill a cake).
Beat the butter with a whisk (or as I did, in the stand alone mixer) to bring it to the consistency of soft margerine. Beat the cooled melted chocolate into the butter.
Gradually beat the chocolate/butter mixture into the meringue.
And you’re done. I sandwiched this between the two cake layers and then covered the cake with the remainder, so it was all nicely iced to pipe the roses.
Salted caramel buttercream
I made waaaaay too much buttercream for this, and I still have some of it in the freezer. You will need more than you think as the roses use quite a bit of buttercream, but I went over the top!
Next time I will use these quantities:
250 g white caster sugar
160 ml double cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
320 g unsalted butter, softened
400 g icing sugar
Fleur de sel (if you can get hold of it, this stuff is amazing. If you can’t get holf of it, course sea salt will suffice)
For the salted caramel buttercream, heat the caster sugar and four tablespoons of water in a saucepan over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and cook the caramel for 2-3 minutes (I found mine took longer, probably because I had tripled the qunatities in the original recipe), or until golden and slightly thickened. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the cream. (CAUTION: the caramel may splutter a little when you add the cream.) Stir in the salt and vanilla and set aside to cool completely. How much salt is a matter of taste. Just keep tasting it as you add the salt, but the caramel is sweet, so it can take quite a bit of salt before you start to taste it.
Cream the butter and icing sugar together for at least 4- 5 minutes, then beat in the caramel. DON’T add it all at once. That’s the mistake I made and I had to firm up my icing with corn flour, which is not ideal, but it worked. Your icing should be firm, but workable enough to pipe. It helps if you let it cool a bit before piping.
Piping the roses is so much easier than it looks. Get a large piping bag, those little ones are useless for this as you need quite a bit of buttercream. Attach a star nozzle (I use Wilton’s 1M nozzle) and start piping the roses. Start from the middle of the rose and work your way out and round the centre, until you have the desired size. Repeat until the top and sides are covered in lovely roses. Then you can fill the gaps with small swirls. If you want a better tutorial than my explanation, go here, that’s where I learnt it from.