Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake

My husband turned 33 the other day. (Shhh... don't tell him I told you that). When I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, all he said was, "it's just got to be your best cake yet." Oh, ok. No pressure. Ha!

When planning the cake, I knew I wanted to use my dark chocolate cake layers because that's his absolute favorite cake base. He also loves my salted caramel frosting but I wanted to do something new, so I incorporated the salted caramel into a chocolate frosting, and used more caramel sauce as a drip on top of the cake. At that point, using Dulce de Leche as a filling was just an obvious addition, and the caramel corn, while I thought would just be a great decoration, turned out to be super delicious with the cake (like, I would dip it in the frosting and eat it like that on it's own). I love all the flavors together, especially the salty and sweet combination. 

I also decided to use pre-made Dulce de Leche for the filling to make life a little easier. I really like the Trader Joe's brand and was really happy with how well it spread and tasted. You can certainly make your own or use another brand.

A quick note about the frosting - you'll add one cup of hot caramel sauce to the chocolate and stir until nice and smooth. At that point, let it cool a bit before adding the butter, a little at a time. Once all the butter is added, your mixture will likely still be pretty thin. Go ahead and stick it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to cool down and set. 

After it's chilled, continue to beat the frosting for another five minutes or so, or until it lightens and takes on a spreadable consistency like the picture below.

When you're done frosting the cake with the chocolate caramel frosting, make sure to chill the cake for 15-20 minutes before doing the caramel drip. I've created a short video tutorial to show you just how easy it is to create this look. All you'll need is a piping bag or strong plastic zip lock bag.  

Caramel Drip Technique

The cake was a huge hit. I hope it is for you too!

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake

Yield: one 8-inch, 6-layer cake


For the Chocolate Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract

For the Dulce de Leche
I used 3 bottles of Trader Joe's pre-made Dulce de Leche. You can use any brand you'd like or make your own.

For the Chocolate Caramel Frosting
16 ounces dark chocolate
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup caramel sauce (recipe below)

For the Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoons water
6 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
3 teaspoon salt

Caramel corn


For the Chocolate Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8” round cake pans (butter or spray, line bottom with parchment paper, butter or spray paper and dust with flour).
2. In a bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
3. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and lightly beat with a fork.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Batter will be thin. Scrape sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans (I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed).
5. Bake for 25-27 minutes (you may need more time depending on your oven), until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
6. When cakes are completely cooled, I like to wrap each cake layer individually with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to frost. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. If I’m making the cake a day or two before I actually need to frost it, I put it in the freezer to ensure freshness. If I’m frosting same-day, I’ll just put it in the refrigerator to chill until needed.

For the Chocolate Caramel Frosting
1. Put the chocolate into a mixing bowl and pour the warm caramel sauce over the chocolate. Stir until the mixture is smooth and starts to cool down.
2. After it cools down a bit, add the butter, little by little, beating until everything is smooth and well blended.
3. The frosting is done when the texture is soft and silky. If you added the butter while the mixture was still warm, just place the bowl in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to set. Continue beating for another 5-7 minutes until it reaches a thicker, more spreadable consistency as seen in the picture above. 

For the Caramel Sauce
1. Mix sugar, water and corn syrup in a small saucepan.
2. Bring the water and sugar mixture to boil over medium heat, but DO NOT STIR. (Stirring encourages crystallization). Let the mixture cook until it caramelizes into a golden brown color. It happens quickly, so keep an eye on it.
3. Remove the caramelized sugar syrup from the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Pour in just a tiny bit at a time, especially at the beginning, and mix to combine. You can start adding more and more as you go along.
4. Mix in salt, lemon juice or vinegar and vanilla. Stir to combine.

NOTE: You'll use one cup of hot caramel sauce for the frosting and will need to reserve 1/2 cup for the drizzle. Make sure the caramel sauce for the drizzle is at room temperature before piping on the cake.

1. After the cake layers are chilled, carefully divide each layer into two thin layers, for a total of six layers. Place the first cake layer on your cake plate and spread about 1/3 cup Dulce de Leche on top. Repeat for the remaining layers, placing the last layer, bottom-side up.
2. Coat the cake in a thin layer of the chocolate caramel frosting to lock in the crumbs. Chill for 15 minutes.
3. When the crumb coat is set, continue to frost the cake as you'd like with the chocolate caramel frosting. Chill again for 15-20 minutes.
4. Using the remaining 1/2 caramel sauce, pour it into a piping bag with a small round tip or use a strong plastic bag and make a small cut in the corner. Pipe the caramel sauce on the cake using the technique from the video tutorial above. 
5. Add the caramel corn and drizzle more caramel sauce on top.
6. Cover and chill the cake in the refrigerator over night or freeze for a few days before serving. Bring to room temperature before serving.

1 comment:

  1. oh what a nice cake, so delicious and choclecious. This is something i am crazy about. and you give me a chance to smile. Thanks for sharing a million dollar recipe.