Happy Sunday! Today's cake is what I call a "Dinner Party Cake". A long time client is having her girlfriends over for a dinner and she requested a particular cake. For one of her dinner parties last year she asked for dark chocolate brownie cupcakes filled with caramel and then topped with ganache and drizzled with caramel. These were such a huge hit that she wanted me to do the same in cake form this time. Let me show you how I did it...
I baked the dark chocolate brownie cake and the "torted" it. This means to divide it into layers. I then wrapped each layer, stacked them and then wrapped them again and put them in the freezer. When I was ready to use the cake I took it out of the freezer, unwrapped it and then filled it and let it thaw out for 2 hours. The filling is a mixture of caramel sauce and buttercream with a bit of powdered sugar to firm it up a bit. I didn't want it to be a really firm filling since the whole idea of this cake is to have puddles of wonderful chocolate and caramel on the plate.
When the cake was thawed completely I made the ganache. Ganache is just a chocolate sauce and it is really easy to make. It is a 2 to 1 ratio of chocolate to cream. So I chopped up 8 ounces of really good chocolate and put it into a ceramic bowl. You need the glass or ceramic to help evenly melt these so don't use plastic. I then heated the 4 ounces of cream to a boil and poured it over the chocolate pieces allowing them about 30 seconds to melt before I began stirring with my wisk. Keep stirring until it is solid, dark and shiny. Then walk away. I know, I know, it's SO hard to walk away from that lucious sauce but you need to do so for at least 15 minutes. The longer ganache cools the thicker it will be. I wanted puddles for this cake but I did want it to actually cover the cake so I ended up waiting about 30 minutes before pouring it over the cake. If you don't want to pour it you can cover the container and put it in the refridgerator for a few hours or even overnight. When it is solid you can then whip it in your mixer and spread it on like frosting.
Start pouring from the center of the cake and pour about half of the bowl on top. This is a six inch cake so you may want more for a larger cake. I wanted puddles and not a perfectly smooth finish so I just gently spread the ganache to the edges from the middle and let it drip down the sides. I then used the rest of the ganache on top to fill any parts of the sides that had been missed the first time around. After that was finished and all of the cake was covered I popped it into the freezer for 15 minutes to set the ganache.
Next came the caramel sauce. My goal was to end up with a perfect pool of caramel around the edges of the cake so I was careful not to use too much on top. I poured a small puddle and then pushed that off the edges in 4-5 directions. I didn't want to cover the cake, just drip it off of the cake. Back into the freezer for 15 minutes.
I melted more of the chocolate in the microwave and then put it into a plastic ziploc bag that I had snipped just the tip off one corner. Then I piped a random design onto parchment along with some swirls for the sides of the cake. These went onto a sheet pan and in the freezer for 5 minutes to set up.
Once they were set up I was able to easily lift them off of the parchment and place them onto the cake. The caramel acted like glue and they went on very easily.
As you can see, the caramel kept dripping down the cake until I had a nice ring around the cake. But here's the secret...it is almost impossible to gauge how much caramel you really need since it keeps dripping down. I just put the stand onto parchment and let it drip off the sides of the plate. I then used a damp napkin to clean the edges.
The client was amazed at how I translated the decadent cupcakes into cake form! No better pay off than that!
Next week I will be a bit late with the cake blog. I'll be bringing it to you on Tuesday instead of Sunday. I will see you then with a brand new cake!