Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Extravaganza

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

Truth be told I’ve always been indifferent to caramel, it’s a nice flavour but not one that has ever particularly excited me and therefore I have never been inspired to incorporate it into my baking. As a result, when I discovered last week’s theme for the Sunday Baking Club was caramel, I wasn’t feeling overly enthused. That was until I discovered a recipe for a chocolate and caramel ombre cake! Any recipe that includes chocolate is a winner in my books and eager to use the Wilton’s Easy Layer Cake Pan Set I got for Christmas this was the perfect opportunity to test it out.

This would be a great cake to make for a celebration as ombre cakes look so impressive and are fairly simple to make. I had to alter the recipe slightly from the one I found on the BBC Good Food website as the Wilton layer cake tins are much smaller than a standard cake tin so if you wanted to make this using a larger tin the recipe would have to be doubled and the cakes would need to be cooked for around 20-25 minutes. The cake is really easy to make, the batter is made in two batches, a vanilla batter and a caramel batter, each of these are then separated and cocoa powder is added to half creating the chocolate and caramel chocolate layers. The moist, spongy layers of cake are then sandwiched together with a creamy salted caramel frosting and the entire cake is covered with rich, fudgy, chocolate ganache. Unfortunately I am detoxing before my holiday to Florida next week so will not allow myself to have any, however my boyfriend/chief taster/washer upper (who claims he doesn’t like cake!) was very impressed with the overall result and has assured me that it tastes even better than it looks.

Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

Ingredients

For the chocolate and vanilla layers

115g butter at room temperature
115g caster sugar
115 self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp cocoa powder

For the caramel and caramel-chocolate layers

115g butter at room temperature
65g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
115g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
1 tbsp caramel flavouring
1 tsp cocoa powder

For the salted caramel frosting

125g icing sugar
40g butter at room temperature
1 tbsp whole milk
A couple of drops of salted caramel flavouring

For the chocolate ganache

100g milk chocolate, finely chopped
100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
200ml double cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas mark 4 and grease your cake tins.
  2. For the chocolate and vanilla layers combine all ingredients, apart from the cocoa powder, in a large bowl. Mix together using an electric mixer on a medium speed until all the ingredients have combined to form a smooth batter. Scrape half of the batter into one of the tins. Then add the cocoa powder to the remaining batter, mix until fully incorporated and then scrape into another cake tin.
  3. For the caramel and caramel-chocolate layers repeat step two, again leaving the cocoa power out, halving the batter and mixing the cocoa powder into one half. Place all of the tins into the oven and bake for around 18 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Whilst the cakes are in the oven make the chocolate ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a large heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it is simmering, do not let it boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate, leave for about 5 minutes for the chocolate to soften. After 5 minutes start mixing the chocolate and cream together and stir until all the chocolate has melted. Chill the ganache in the fridge so it firms up.
  5. Once the cakes have finished cooking place onto a cooling rack.
  6. Next make the salted caramel frosting. Using an electric mixer beat the icing sugar and butter together on a medium speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Then add the milk and salted caramel flavouring mixing on a high speed. Continue mixing for about 5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  7. Once the sponges are cool spread a third of the frosting over the chocolate sponge and top with the caramel chocolate sponge. Spread over another third of the frosting and top with the Caramel sponge, then the final third of frosting and top with the vanilla sponge. Finally, cover the cake with the chocolate ganache.

Third Time Lucky!

Swiss Roll

The weekend I made my first bake for the Sunday Baking Club. When I found out that this week’s technical challenge was a Swiss roll I was so excited! I last made a Swiss roll 10 years ago, during a school cookery lesson, when I was 13. I seem to remember the lesson being pretty easy and getting a good outcome, so I thought to myself ‘what a nice easy challenge for my first week with the baking club and first blog post, how hard can it be?’, I couldn’t have been more wrong!

I did a Google search for a Mary Berry recipe hoping it would ensure a fail-safe bake and was pleasantly surprised to see how simple the recipe was, only requiring 4 ingredients and 10 minutes of baking time! I was feeling very confident at this point and already had images of my perfectly rolled, golden, spongy Swiss roll in my head. Ha!

I preheated the oven, prepared my tray and got baking. I started by beating together the eggs and sugar until they were combined, I did this for a couple of minutes, folded in the flour and then stuck it in the oven. 10 minutes later I had a flat, rubbery oblong that smelt distinctly of scrambled eggs! I was devastated, it was meant to be perfect and I could just imagine the disappointed looks from Mary and Paul (when I bake I genuinely believe I’m  a contestant on GBBO!) .  After a couple of hours of wallowing in self pity I did some research and discovered the eggs and sugar probably needed to be whisked for much longer so I decided to try again. The result…another flat rubbery failure! It turns out the flour I had been using had a best before date of Sept ’13!! I was relieved to find out it wasn’t my technique. Determined not to let the Swiss roll defeat me I ventured out into the rain and cold that evening to buy a fresh packet of self raising flour. It was worth it in the end as the final result was the golden, light sponge I had hoped for.

Here is the recipe I used, I actually ended up adjusting it slightly from the Mary Berry recipe I found online:

Ingredients

4 medium eggs at room temperature
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
1 tbsp warm water
Icing sugar to decorate
Plus a filling of your choice, I kept it simple with a classic jam filling this time.

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas mark 7. Grease a 13 x 9 inch Swiss roll tin and line with baking paper.

2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together using an electric mixer until the mixture is thick, creamy, pale in colour and has tripled in size. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture leaves a trail on the surface for a couple of seconds. This should take about 10 minutes and should look something like this…

Swiss Roll

3. Sieve half the flour into the bowl and carefully fold into the mixture. Repeat this step using the rest of the flour. Then carefully fold in the tbsp of warm water, this helps the mixture to spread when poured into the tin.

4. Pour the mixture into the tin spreading evenly and bake in the oven for around 10 minutes, until it’s lightly browned and starting to come away from the edges of the tin.

5. Place some baking paper onto a work surface and lightly sprinkle with caster sugar, upend the sponge from the tin, place onto the paper and peel away the baking paper. Whilst the sponge is still warm, lightly score it at the end closest to you about 2cm away from the edge, cover the sponge with a tea towel or piece of greaseproof paper and starting at the scored end roll the sponge away from you. Leave the sponge to cool like this. (Rolling the sponge whilst it is still warm and before filling ensures it remembers the shape it is meant to be, covering it with a tea towel or greaseproof paper stops the sponge from sticking to itself).

6. Once the sponge has cooled gently unroll it, evenly spread your filling leaving a boarder of about 2cm (this is to ensure the filling doesn’t all squirt out when you roll it) and then re-roll.  Neaten each end of the roll by trimming off a thin slice and then place the cake on a serving plate and enjoy with a cup of tea! 🙂