This cake is derived from pure nostalgia. Throwbacks to a more innocent time, where the biggest problem in my world was whether or not I got a caramel apple. The cake alone is a tried and tested keeper. A dark, dense multi-layer chocolate cake, filled with a sweet, nutty peanut butter frosting. The salted caramel sauce, cuts through the sweetness of the cake and frosting adding another layer of flavour. The soft, moist texture of the cake is enhanced by the smooth peanut butter frosting, which in turn is enriched by the gooey consistency of the caramel. This one takes a bit of time, but be patient. Your efforts will be worth every second. This cake is perfect for the messy bakers among us – it won’t slice cleanly and the caramel sauce will get everywhere! But licking your fingers, the spoon, the bowl, that’s the best part…
The Chocolate Cake
100g of good plain chocolate (TIP: Try at least 70% cocoa)
225g of caster sugar
100g cocoa powder
300g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
50ml hot and strong coffee
125ml of vegetable oil
125ml of buttermilk
1 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment. Melt the chocolate into the coffee and when melted add the vanilla.
Cream the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy.
Dry mix all your dry ingredients together and slowly add them to the sugar/egg combination.
Add the buttermilk and the oil and mix.
Finally, fold in the coffee/chocolate combination.
Pour between your prepared pans and bake for 35-30 minutes until the top has a spring in it and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clear.
Allow to cool in the pans for about ten minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Salted Caramel Sauce
500g granulated sugar
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
250ml double cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon sea salt
In a medium saucepan, melt the sugar over medium-high heat. Try not to stir it, just let it be and swirl the pan frequently.
Once all the sugar has melted stay by the pan and watch your caramel; swirling the pan occasionally. As soon as the sugar turns amber in colour add your butter and whisk vigorously. It will bubble up but just keep whisking until all the butter has melted.
Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream while continuing to whisk vigorously. The caramel is going to bubble up again, so be careful with over spilling. Just try to keep it on the heat.
Whisk until all the cream is incorporated and then whisk in the sea salt. Set the sauce aside to cool for 15 minutes but make sure the caramel does not become too stiff. If it stiffens too much you will not be able to dip the apples.
While the sauce cools, push the wooden sticks or straws into the top of the apples.
Peanut Butter Frosting
200g of smooth peanut butter
440g of icing sugar
Beat the butter until pale and smooth.
Add in your peanut butter and beat again until smooth.
Sift in the icing sugar, a half at a time to avoid a dust storm, and beat until smooth.
Putting It All Together
When the cake has cooled, sandwich together the layers and frost the entire cake with the peanut butter frosting.
Pour about half the caramel over the top of the cake and allow it to fall down the sides in a molten mess.
Dip the apples into the remaining caramel and then place them in the centre of cake. Pop the cake in to the fridge until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Allow the cake to sit 15 minutes at room temp before serving.
Article by: Hazel Ryan Sheehan
Photography by: Tarmo Tulit
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