Saturday, 17 November 2012

Caramel Chocolate Chip Layer Cake

I was really itching to bake something and as if on queue, there was another birthday celebration. I was thinking about how much I liked this birthday cake, but wanted to swap the passion fruit curd for something else.  I figured replacing it with cheesecake might be nice, and why not add caramel too?  I was excited to start this multi-layer cake project!

Check out the verdict (and lessons learned) at the end of the post!
Caramel Chocolate Chip Layer Cake Parts
All parts are from (or adapted from Milk Bar Cookbook except for the caramel sauce.
1.   Chocolate chip cake
2.   Chocolate crumb
3.   Caramel sauce
4.   Liquid caramel cheesecake
5.   Coffee frosting
*Everything can be made a few days in advance except for frosting.

Chocolate Chip Cake
½ cup salted butter, room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
¼ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
½ cup butter milk
½ cup oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup mini chocolate chips

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cake pan with parchment.  The original recipe suggests baking the cake as a sheet and cutting circles from them.  I used round baking pans and sliced the layers.
2.  In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars for 2 minutes until fluffy.  Add eggs and mix for 3 minutes.
3.  On low speed, gradually beat in buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.  Increase speed and beat for 5 minutes until the mixture is homogenous .
4.  Add flour and baking powder and mix on the lowest speed for 45 seconds until just combined. Fold in ½ cup of chocolate chips.
5.  Pour batter into pans and sprinkle the last ¼ cup of chocolate chips.
6.  Bake until toothpick comes out clean.  30-35 minutes for a sheet cake, 55 minutes for a tall round pan.
7.  Cool and cut layers or rounds to the size of the cake you want.

Chocolate Crumb
1/3 cup flour
½ teaspoon cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons salted butter, melted

1.  Heat oven to 300 degrees F.
2.  Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl.
3.  Add butter and mix with a hand blender or stand mixer on low until you get small clusters.
4.  Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
5.  Cool completely before using in recipe.

Caramel Sauce
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoon corn syrup
3 Tablespoon butter
1/3 cup heavy cream

1.  In a small pot over medium high heat, melt sugar and corn syrup until golden.
2.  Mix in butter.
3.  Carefully mix in whipping cream.
4.  Transfer to a bowl or jar to cool completely.
*Use in cheesecake recipe

Liquid Caramel Cheesecake
1 brick of cream cheese
½ cup sugar
¼ cup caramel sauce (from above recipe)
1 Tablespoon corn starch
½ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons milk
1 egg

1.  Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F.
2.  Beat cream cheese for 2 minutes.  Add sugar and beat for another minute or until incorporated.
3.  Beat in caramel sauce until smooth.
4.  In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and salt.  Beat in milk, then egg until thoroughly mixed.
5.  Gradually add the egg mixture to cream cheese mixture as you beat on medium speed.  Beat for 3 minutes.
6.  Pour batter into a baking pan (mine was 6 inch x 6 inch) and bake for 15 minute or until the edges are set but the middle is still jiggly.
7.   Cool completely and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Liquid caramel cheesecake after baking.

Coffee Frosting
*Make frosting right before use.  Do not make ahead of time and refrigerate – it will separate.
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
¼ cup homo milk
2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

1.  In a small bowl, whisk milk and coffee.
2.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar for 3 minutes, until fluffy.
3.  On low speed, gradually add coffee milk and whip until fully combined after each addition.  You’ll end up with fluffy, shiny, frosting.
*If you’re having a hard time incorporating the milk into the butter, add more icing sugar.

1.   Place the bottom layer of the cake on a plate. Wrap a piece of acetate around the cake and secure it together with tape so that it forms a ring.
2.   Spread half of the remaining caramel sauce.
3.   Spread half of the caramel cheesecake on top. (Piping it makes the job easier)
4.   Sprinkle half of the chocolate crumb on top.
5.   Pipe 1/3 of the coffee frosting on top of the crumb. 
6.   Add next layer of cake, and repeat the process.
7.   Put in freezer for at least 2 hours. Peel off acetate and defrost in the fridge for 3 hours before serving.

Lesson’s learned: I baked the chocolate chip cake in one tall cake pan, which was a mistake.  The chocolate chips sank to the bottom and sides.  Next time, I’ll use 3 separate cake pans, or bake as a sheet cake and cut out layer.

Verdict:  This cake was well received.  It was very sweet, so know your audience!  This cake easily serves 16 people because you don’t need very big slices.  I especially enjoyed the caramel cheesecake – it was divine!