Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wes Birthday: The Cake (Part 2)

One thing you can count on in our house around birthday time is a homemade cake.  It's generally up to the birthday boy or girl to dictate what type or provide some direction but then I usually just run with it.  Wes always wants chocolate and I always try to cleverly find a way around it since I'm not a huge fan.  This year his love of salted caramel steered me in the same direction as his cake last year but I made a few minor tweaks to make it a little less rich (why bother, I know).

Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting and Chocolate Ganache
adapted Erin's Food Files

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups AP flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

2 T. water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 T. butter
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt, kosher or sea
1/2 stick butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream
5 oz good quality chocolate

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
1. Combine the water, sugar, in a deep saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the sugar is incorporated. Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes.
2. After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Do not stir from this point on, but it is important to carefully shake the pan so that one area of the caramel doesn’t burn. Continue to cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
3. CAREFULLY pour the heavy cream into the mixture. Stand away from the pan and be careful. The mixture will bubble up. Stir the mixture, again being careful. Add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.
4. Measure 1/2 cup into a glass measuring cup. Stirring occasionally, allow to cool until thick like molasses and warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
**The recipe will yield slightly more than 1/2 cup so you can reserve that for the topping of the cake.
1.  Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy.
2.  Add in 1 cup powdered sugar and beat to combine.  Add in 1/2 cup caramel.  Add in additional cup of powdered sugar and continue adding until you reach your desired level of sweetness.
3.  Let frosting set in the refrigerator while the cake cools completely to room temperature.  
1.  In a small saucepan, warm 1/2 cup heavy cream until steaming.  
2.  Remove from stove and add chocolate.  Stir until completely melted.
3.  Allow to cool 15-20 minutes.
1.  Place one cake layer on cake stand.  Top with salted caramel frosting.  Place 2nd cake on top of frosting.  Pour ganache on top and allow to drip down the sides.  Cool in fridge before topping with additional caramel, if desired.


  1. that looks fantastic! i'm glad you had a good weekend! your husband is quite the lucky man!

  2. That cake looks FANTASTIC! Seriously, you had me at salted caramel!

  3. That's one delicious looking dessert! I hope Wes' birthday weekend was a blast!

  4. This cake looks absolutely divine. What a lucky guy your husband is to have such a talented baker as a wife!

  5. What was the verdict? It LOOKS so yummy but did Wes LOVE it?! I need to know!! :)

  6. This cake looks FABULOUS! Thanks for comment, my hubs and I both love the name Colin--whenever we get around to having kids, it's on our short list.

  7. You did a beautiful job—and it looks delicious! I'm sure you had a happy birthday boy on your hands! :)

  8. Loving the posts ... but eagerly awaiting the Senate review (Part 3??) ...