Happy New Year! To celebrate 2010, I made the salty and sweet cake of Baked, the award-winning Red Hook, Brooklyn bakery founded by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito in 2005. I'd heard so much about this cake because of it's unique mixture of fleur de sel, a sea salt, with caramel and its richly moist chocolate cake filling. I even had a dream about it, which only spurred me to make it as soon as I got a hold of the cookbook (which my sister bought for me). The sea salt was very subtle, but it contrasted nicely with the sweet caramel, teasing the palette. I used Hawaiian sea salt that had been smoked in lime that a friend had given me, and the results were slightly different but equally delicious.
For Classic Chocolate Cake Layers:
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water
2/3 sour cream
2 2/3 cups APFlour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For Salted Caramel:
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
For Whipped Caramel Ganache Frosting:
1 pound or 450g dark chocolate (60-70% cacao), chopped
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups or 454g unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
To Assemble the Cake:
2 teaspoons fleur de sel, plus more for garnish
Make Classic Chocolate Cake Layers:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
In a medium bowl, combine cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.
In mixer, beat the butter and shortening till ribbonlike, 5 minutes. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Scrape down and mix again for 30 seconds .
Add flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture in three additions.
Divide batter among prepared pans, smooth top and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through until toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes, before inverting onto the racks. Remove parchment paper.
Make Salted Caramel:
In a small saucepan, combine cream and fleur de sel, bringing to a simmer over low heat until salt is dissolved. Do not let cream burn.
In medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and stir together, cooking over high heat until it reads 350F on a thermometer r until the mixture is dark brown and amber, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 1 minute.
Add cream to mixture, whisk in sour cream and let caramel cool to room temperature. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the Whipped Caramel Ganache Frosting:
Put chocolate in large heatproof bowl and set aside.
In small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over low heat, and do not let it burn.
In medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and stir together, cooking over high heat until it reads 350F on a thermometer r until the mixture is dark brown and amber, 8-10 minutes (repeat as in salted caramel mixture). Remove from the heat and let it cool for 1 minute.
Add cream to caramel and stir to combine. Stir slowly for 2 minutes, then pour over the chocolate. Let caramel and chocolate sit for 1 minute, then, starting int he center of the bowl and working our way out to the edges, slowly stir the chocolate caramel mixture until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the mixture cool, then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix on low speed until bowl feels cool to the touch. Increase speed to medium high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until mixture is fluffy. I cannot stress how important it is that the butter be soft, otherwise it won't beat well into the icing and your frosting will come out with pea (or pebble) sized butter chunks that are a pain to pick out later.
Place one cake on serving platter. Spread 1/4 cup caramel on top and let it soak into the cake.
Then spread 3/4 cup ganache frosting over caramel. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon fleur de sel, then top with second cake.
Repeat with second and third layer, roughly spreading the ganache frosting on sides.
Put in refrigerator for 15 minutes, then re-apply icing all around the cake's exterior and smoothen icing neatly with a metal spatula.
Garnish with sprinkle of fleur de sel around edge of cake. This cake needs to be taken out of the fridge 2 hours prior to serving, and can keep in a cake saver for 3 days.
To celebrate the New Year, my sister used a toothpick and wrote out HK 2010, then drizzled caramel in between the lines and sprinkled granulated sugar around the edges.