Chocolate Heaven [with Salted Caramel Filling recipe!]

I think I have confessed before that I don’t really eat much cake…after doing so many cakes over the years I got burnt out.  Pretty much the only time I have it is when I’m trying a new recipe or its something special and decadent.  In other words, most of the time I pass up the plain cake & frosting.

This cake, though, made me want to just dive in!  I got the cake idea from a Food Network magazine.  I love that magazine!  I made the cake recipe they supplied as well as their ganache.  The ganache was fantastic [of course because its hard to go wrong with ganache!!].  The cake recipe – well I’m not 100% sold on it.  I went with their minimum bake time and I feel like it got overdone on the bottom [even though the toothpick wasn’t coming out completely clean as they specified].  But I had a feeling it was done and to me it seemed a bit overcooked on the bottom.  But it still tasted good.  Very … deep… it has a bunch of strong coffee in it and between that and it being more of a fudgy cake it was very rich.

So the main change I made to it was to do salted caramel filling between the layers instead of ganache.  How could that go wrong? 🙂  It CAN’T!  Its ALL good…  🙂  I want to share the caramel recipe with you so you can try it as well.  I got it out of part of a recipe from Martha Stewart:

Salted Caramel Filling
(source: Martha Stewart)

4 c sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
1/4 c water
2 c heavy cream
1 t coarse salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (cold & cut into 1 T portions)

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Cook until mixture is dark amber – do not stir! [Yes its hard not to stir but don’t! This part of the process takes about 13-14 min.] Remove from heat and pour in the cream…the sugar mixture will sputter and bubble as you do this, but its OK!  Stir until smooth, then return to the heat and cook until it reaches 238° on a candy thermometer.  This will take about 2 min.  Don’t let it go hotter than the 238!  Pour the caramel into a bowl and stir in the salt.  Let the caramel cool for about 15 min, then stir in the butter 1-2 T at a time until they melt and are fully mixed in.  Let cool completely before using.


And here is my cake complete with chocolate bark outside! 🙂

Recipe: Royal Icing

Here is a very basic recipe for Royal Icing.  Its easy to make and since it is made with meringue powder, there’s no need to worry about the raw egg whites.   Royal Icing can be used to make various cake decorations like flat images or flowers.  Meringue Powder can be found at most craft/hobby stores or in many places that sell cake decorating supplies.

Royal Icing

(based on Wilton’s recipe)

6 T Meringue Powder
1 lb Powdered Sugar
5 T Warm Water

Sift meringue powder and powdered sugar together in a mixing bowl.  Mix with a stand or hand held mixer for about 10 minutes.  The icing should loose its sheen.

This recipe makes a stiff consistency icing which is great for making flowers or using to outline or accent other decorations.  More water can be added to thin it down to flood fill decorations.

– Make sure all of your equipment (bowls, beaters, piping bags, etc) are GREASE FREE.  Grease will deteriorate the royal icing and make it turn to mush 🙁

– If you thin the icing down too much you can add more powdered sugar to thicken it back up.  Also if the icing is too hard to pipe, it is probably too thick and needs just a touch more water.  It only takes a VERY little bit to thin it down more so add it a little at a time.

– After you make the icing, cover the bowl with a damp wash cloth or paper towel to avoid the top drying out.  Likewise, once you fill your piping bags, keep the icing tips tucked into a wet washcloth when not in use.  Otherwise the icing could dry up in the tip and block it up.

– To store Royal Icing:  Put icing in a plastic storage container.  Place a layer of plastic wrap over the icing and press it down into the top surface of the icing so that air can not reach the surface.  Put on an air tight lid.  This will keep the icing from drying out.  It can be stored at room temperature.

Cheesecake Filling

I *love* cheesecake.  So delicious…so I was excited to try this new filling idea after running across it in the Kraft Food & Family magazine.  Basically you make up your cupcake batter and then make up the cheesecake batter.  Fill your cupcake liners halfway with batter.  Then put the filling in a piping bag and squirt 1-2 tsp of filling on top of the batter.  Then put the other half of the batter on top.  Easy!  Bake as normal.

I’m thinking this would also work nicely swirled into a regular cake…I will be trying this 🙂  But in the meantime, here’s the recipe:

Cheesecake Filling

Adapted from a recipe from Kraft Food & Family

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T sugar
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together (I used a mixer to get them good and mixed).  That’s it!  Then fill your cupcakes.

How easy is that?