Sweet and Salty Cake

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Is it bad etiquette to bring cake to a bar? My sister and I each went out Friday night to different bars with friends, and before she stepped out I saw her off with a couple slices to give to her friends. She was more successful in her attempt, texting me a picture of her group eating the cake with forks the waitress brought them. I couldn’t bring myself to walk into Le Lab with the slices I had set aside and have my friends sneak bites of this sweet and salty cake during the bartender’s fire shows. Once you scroll down and see the size of this cake you will understand why I was in need of taste-testers. Even I have to admit that it was too much chocolate & caramel for my household.

This towering sweet and salty cake is Baked Bakery’s signature creation. The salted caramel contrasts beautifully with the rich chocolate cake. This is the definition of indulgence with sophisticated adult flavours. Three years ago, my younger sister and I took our older sister on a road trip to NYC to celebrate her birthday. I made my way to Red Hook in Brooklyn and tasted the cupcake version of this cake. I think this cake would work well with only 2 layers.

This recipe made the baking blog rounds a few years ago. Many people’s comments about the recipe detailed their troubles with the assembly. As I assembled the layers of cake, caramel and ganache, I had to place the dessert in the fridge to help everything set. The caramel managed to spill on the sides. You won’t need all of the caramel. Only spread a thin layer of caramel on each cake layer to avoid a messy finishing. I chilled the frosting in the fridge before spreading it on the cake.

Warning: this cake is intense. The ingredient list for the caramel ganache frosting is probably not something you will be sharing with your taste-testers. Definitely a special occasion cake to be made max once a year haha.

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Bon appétit!

Recipe Source: Baked

Yields one 8-inch 3-layer cake

Ingredients:
•cake
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I just had regular 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 sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
•salted caramel
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sour cream
•caramel ganache frosting
1 pound (454 grams) dark chocolate (60%-70% cacao, I used 70%), chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
•assembly
2 teaspoons fleur de sel, + more for garnish

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Instructions:
•cake
1) Preheat the oven to 325F.
2) Butter three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and dust the sides with cocoa powder.
3) Mix the cocoa powder, sour cream and hot water together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
4) Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
5) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddled attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until ribbon-like, about 5 minutes.
6) Add both sugars, beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
7) Add the eggs, one at a time.
8) Add the vanilla.
9) Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
10) Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Smooth the tops.
11) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
12) Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes.
13) Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely.
•salted caramel
1) Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the fleur de sel. Bring to a simmer.
2) Meanwhile, add the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns amber. Watch over the stove! Do not overcook; you do not want the lingering bitter aftertaste of burnt caramel.
3) Remove the caramel saucepan from the heat.
4) Pour the simmering cream into the caramel saucepan. The mixture will bubble up so be careful for this step.
5) Whisk in the sour cream.
6) Let the caramel cool to room temperature.
7) Store it in the fridge in an airtight container until assembly.
•caramel ganache frosting
1) Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
2) Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.
3) Meanwhile, pour the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and cook over high heat until the caramel turns amber.
4) Remove the caramel saucepan from the heat.
5) Pour the simmering cream into the caramel saucepan. The mixture will bubble up so be careful for this step.
6) Pour the caramel over the chocolate.
7) Slowly stir the caramel chocolate mixture until the chocolate is melted and the texture is smooth.
8) Transfer the caramel ganache frosting to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
9) Mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
10) Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter.
11) Beat on high speed until frosting is fluffy.
•assembly
1) Place one cake layer on the serving platter.
2) Spread 1/4 cup caramel on top.
3) Spread 3/4 cup frosting over the caramel layer
4) Sprinkle 1 teaspoon fleur de sel on the frosting.
5) Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the steps.
6) Place the third layer on top.
7) Spread 1/4 cup caramel on top.
8) Spread frosting over the cake to give it a crumb coating.
9) Set the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up.
10) Spread the remaining frosting over the cake.
11) Garnish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

Store at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you store the cake in the fridge, let it come to room temperature before serving it.

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