This cake! Where to begin. Two darkly moist layers of chocolate cake sandwiched together with salted caramel cream cheese icing and topped with a mountain of flowers. It’s recently been made and transported along to two friends’ birthday dinners to enraptured responses from birthday girls, dinner guests, and restaurant chefs alike. I had a message from one of the birthday girls the next morning to say she was eating leftover cake for breakfast. Approve.
Chocolate & salted caramel cream cheese cake
For the cake:
Adapted from a recipe by Lois Daish
good quality cocoa 85g
boiling water 1 & 1/2 cups
free range eggs 3
vanilla paste 1 teaspoon
plain flour 300g, sifted
brown sugar 435g
baking powder 2 & 1/4 teaspoons
baking soda 3/4 teaspoon
butter 230g, softened until almost melted
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the base of two 23cm loose-bottomed cake tins with baking paper and lightly grease the sides.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature. In another bowl lightly combine the eggs, a quarter of the cocoa mixture and the vanilla.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda and mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Add the very soft butter and remaining cocoa mixture. Mix on a low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the beaten egg mixture in three batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure.
Pour the batter into the prepared tins and smooth the top. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the tins on a rack for 10 minutes, then loose the sides with a butter knife and invert onto a greased wire rack (the cakes are quite sticky and greasing the rack will help to ensure the cake doesn’t adhere to the rack).
For the icing:
Adapted from Lucy Corry’s version of an Ottolenghi recipe
butter 100g, very soft
brown or muscavado sugar 75g
cream cheese 250g (the full fat kind, obviously)
golden syrup 4 tablespoons
flaky sea salt 3/4 – 1 teaspoon
Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup in a food processor or stand mixer. Add the cream cheese and beat until super smooth. Add the sea salt to taste to create your idea of salty-sweet heaven.
When the cakes are completely cooled from the oven, place one upside down on a serving plate and spread with about half of the salted cream cheese icing. Place the second cake on top, right side up, and slather with the remaining icing.