So that was a bit of a gap between posts, eh? 2014 has already been somewhat bonkers, to the point that food has been about what can be cobbled together in the few hours between getting home and going to (sweet, sweet) bed, rather than something of experiments and long weekends in the kitchen.
Letting go of the festive season has been a struggle. Our Christmas tree came down long after January 6th, and the rest of the month saw me gleefully throwing leftover Roses and Quality Street down my gullet and swigging beer while I chuckled at the poor chaps giving up sugar and taking part in Dry January.
But it’s February in a few days, and nothing makes you realise you need to step out of Hotel Chocolat, even if there are bargains to be had, like facing Valentine’s Day as it rushes at you head-on.
Of course, I realised this after I made this cake. It was a multi-purpose delight: a birthday cake, a look-how-strong-my-willpower-is-I’m-not-even-saving-myself-some cake (kidding no-one, I know), and as the last slice was devoured with a cup of tea by a friend, fork in one hand, tissues in the other, a break-up cake.
The cake itself is layers of salted caramel, carried by a simple vanilla sponge and wrapped in white chocolate buttercream, the sweetness offset by the touch of salt. What a way to wave goodbye to January.
225g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
2tsp vanilla extract
225g self-raising flour
100ml salted caramel sauce (and a spoon for any leftovers) (there’s a recipe here!)
300g icing sugar
100g butter, soft
105ml (7tbsp) double cream
125g good quality white chocolate (I used Green & Black’s)
1) Preheat the oven to 180C and line 3 6-inch round tins. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, and add the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour. If the mixture feels a little thick, loosen with a splash of milk. Fill the three tins equally, and bake on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
2) While the cakes cool, mix the icing sugar, butter, and cream until smooth. (I did it by hand, with a fork, to avoid billowing icing sugar clouds.) Melt the white chocolate, and fold it into the buttercream.
3) When the cakes are cool, slice off the tops if they have domed to flatten them off. Spread the top of the bottom layer and the bottom of the second layer with a thin layer of buttercream – coating each surface that will be exposed to the caramel filling will prevent it from seeping into the cakes. Pipe buttercream around the outside of the cake to create a dam to keep the caramel in, then fill the centre with caramel. Place the middle layer on top, and repeat. Pipe buttercream to plug any holes that may allow caramel to escape.
4) When the cake is assembled, lightly coat it with buttercream and refrigerate for about 30 minutes before coating the whole cake fully. Drizzle the top with caramel and serve.
One year ago: hazelnut & pumpkin flapjacks