Caramel cake

There is no mere hint of caramel.  And no token caramel decoration.  You certainly will not find a subtle caramel flavour in this cake.  It is bold.  It is unashamedly rich.  And it superbly showcases caramel in many forms. 

From the caramelised cake, to the soft caramel sauce infused buttercream, to the crisp hazelnut praline that crowns this four layer wonder. 

Each component is a lesson in the versatility of caramel.  Each blends harmoniously to bring you the ultimate caramel cake.  This caramel extravaganza comes from the book, Caramel, by Trish Deseine. 

It never ceases to amaze me how the simple variation of an ingredient in baking can produce a drastically different result.  In this recipe, the simple use of brown sugar results in a sweeter, richer cake than its white sugar counterpart.  The sweetness of the cake is amplified with a caramel sauce laced buttercream frosting.  Lastly, the hazelnut praline provides the perfect crunch to this caramel cake, complementing the rich, creamy caramel cake and frosting.

This triple caramel feast certainly promises a very sweet start to caramel month.  Down to the last caramel bite.

Caramel cake (set)

{ Caramel Cake } by Trish Deseine 

Cake

* Ingredients *

3 ½ cup plain flour
1 ½ cup less 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white superfine sugar
8 eggs
2 cups salted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder

* Directions *

Preheat oven to 180C or 350 F. Spray and flour 2 x 22cm or 9” cake pans.  Put all cake ingredients into bowl of mixer, mix until you have a smooth, creamy batter. Divide mixture equally into two cake pans.  Smooth with spatula and bake 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown. Toothpick or tester should come out clean.

Buttercream

* Ingredients *

675g or 1 ½ lb powdered sugar
1 ½ cup unsalted butter
5 tablespoons caramel sauce
4 tablespoons marscapone

* Directions *

Beat powdered sugar and butter until smooth. Add caramel sauce and marscapone and beat together. Allow to set up for a few minutes in the fridge.  Save about 1/3 of butter cream for top layer of cake. Use remaining buttercream to frost the other 3 layers.

Hazelnut Praline

* Ingredients *

1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water

Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake at 180C or 350F for 8 minutes until they start to turn golden.  Let cool.  Heat the sugar and water in a pan over medium heat.  Continue to stir until mixture turns an amber caramel color (10-15 minutes). Pour hot caramel over hazelnuts. Let cool, then break caramel into small pieces.

* Assembly *

Cut two cake layers in half horizontally to make 4 layers.
Spread buttercream on tops only, of first three cake layers, stacking them, and saving 1/3 of buttercream for top of fourth layer. Let frosted cake chill.
Top with hazelnut praline.  Optional – before serving, heat some caramel sauce and drizzle over the top, letting it run down the sides.

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