At Christmas time, we always used to joke about how Ian could manage one of every pudding: and there were usually five or six options! He has an insatiable sweet tooth, something that I never cease to try and satisfy. Hopefully, this cake will do the trick! The sheer volume of sugar and glorious fatty goodness is just too decadent for anyone to pass up, especially Ian. This is why I've renamed it "The Mother of All Cakes!" I've never made anything quite this glorious before.
Whilst making the cake, be extra careful not to burn the caramel. It is important to put the cream on the heat at the same time as the sugar/syrup mixture, as it takes longer than you think to come to the boil. The first time I tried to make the caramel, I put the cream on the heat too late and ended up burning the sugar/syrup mixture waiting for the cream to boil! Trust me, burnt caramel does NOT taste good, as my Mother (aka resident bowl-licker) will testify! This resulted in an emergency trip to our local shop (who were blessed with the sight of me in my pajamas, no bra and a very chocolatey apron) to get extra cream.
Here's the recipe, ever so slightly amended from the Hummingbird Bakery book:
For the sponge:
300g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
140g soft light brown sugar
100g cocoa powder
1tsp vanilla essence
330g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
For the salty caramel:
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
120ml double cream
60ml soured cream
1tsp fine sea salt
For the frosting:
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
360ml double cream
450g dark chocolate
450g unsalted butter (NB - I used slightly less than this, probably about 420g, but judge for yourself.)
First make the salty caramel. In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and golden syrup to the boil with 60ml of water. Allow the mixture to boil for about 10 minutes, during which time it should become quite syrupy and a rich caramel colour.
For the frosting: In a small, clean saucepan bring the caster sugar and golden syrup to the boil with 60ml of water, again letting this boil for approximately 10 minutes. In a separate pan, bring the double cream to the boil. Carefully pour the hot cream onto the boiled caramel. Set this caramel aside to cool slightly.
Once it has cooled, add the chopped chocolate, stirring constantly while the chocolate melts. Using a hand held electric whisk, mix the frosting for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the bowl feels cool. Add the butter to the chocolate-caramel frosting and whisk together until the mixture is light and looks slightly whipped. Place the frosting in the fridge to cool while you make the sponge. (you might not want to add all the butter)
EXTRAVAGANTLY SPOON THE FROSTING IN GLORIOUS MOUTHFULS INTO YOUR EAGERLY AWAITING JAWS AND LAUGH GLEEFULLY WITH CHOCOLATEY ECSTASY-... oh wait, no, don't do this. Well, at least try not to.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line the bases of the sandwich tins with parchment.
Cream together the butter and both types of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Sift together the remaining sponge ingredients, and then add them in stages to the creamed butter and sugar, alternating with the cocoa powder paste and mixing thoroughly.
Continue this process, sandwiching together the two other sponges with the remaining salty caramel and a layer of frosting. When all three sponges are sandwiched together, cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Decorate as you please.
This cake certainly took a little longer in the kitchen, but that time was certainly well worth the impressive end result. Cutting into the cake to find oozing caramel swirled with creamy dark chocolate frosting was a mouth-watering experience, and I have no doubt Ian will have taken this cake home and demolished it in no time!
Here's a snap of the lovely Ian himself cutting into the cake. It was a really lovely day and wonderful to see someone we all value so much, and I was chuffed to bits to be able to give something to him that I knew he would enjoy. It just goes to show, however cliche it may be, that the best thing about baking truly is the sharing.