It’s been a little while since I was last here: toward the end of last year I launched NorEats, a directory of the best independent food and drink in Norwich, and so have been busy eating and writing about all the region has to offer. Truly, a hard task.
I’ve not been resting on my laurels, though, having been told in no uncertain terms that I had to bring a birthday cake to my friends’ celebrations. Cue the troublesome jar of dulce de leche.
A jar of dulce de leche in the cupboard that you need to get rid of is a good problem to have, even if the necessity is there because you can’t help dipping a spoon into it with alarming frequency. So instead of going directly jar to mouth, I’ve taken it on a slight detour via two tweaked recipes: one for white chocolate & salted caramel cake and one for After Eight chocolate mint cake.
Foolproof chocolate cake
The teeny cakes on the left above are chocolate and dulce de leche mini sandwich cakes, baked in a well-greased muffin tin. It’s a foolproof cake recipe that I’ll forever be faithful to, thanks to its ease to make and moist, springy results. But there was one thing that made me wince every time I looked at the ingredients list: a really high quantity of sugar. Let’s fix that.
300g granulated sugar
280g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
250ml milk or milk alternative (1 cup)
125ml vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
200ml just-boiled water
- Preheat oven to 180C, and grease two muffin tins (or three 8-inch round tins, for a layer cake) getting right into the corners to ensure a smooth release.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb, and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and whisk together, then add the water.
- For mini cakes, half-fill each well in the tins, place in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. For a layer cake, pour a third of the mix into each tin and bake for around 20 to 25 minutes.
White chocolate layer cake
The tweak here is another instance of evolving taste in ingredients (of course, one is swapping out salted caramel in favour of dulce de leche!). In 2014, when I first made the white chocolate layer cake, I was less squeamish about processed foods going into what I made. Yep, it’s gone up in price (you can find out more about that here!), but fast-forward four years and this is my stance: butter for me, please.
Full recipe here.