Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Fugly Cake

Sometimes a photograph of a cake just can't do it justice. Sometimes how a cake looks can't do it justice. That is definitely the case with this fugly cake.   I'll post a picture of it unsliced at the end of this blog entry.

I knew I had to make this cake for my birthday.  I've had my eye on it ever since the guys over on The Bitten Word made it for Fakesgiving and they said one of their guests almost cried.  I put it off and put it off, why?  Because a key ingredient of this cake is caramel... sigh.

Up until the last minute, I was planning to just use dulce de leche in place of the caramel, but then the canned stuff I know I have seen a million times wasn't on the shelf, so I brought home extra sugar, and decided to just tackle it.

I made a few missteps.  I made the cake and caramel a day ahead, because the recipe said both could be chilled, and that in fact the cake would be better that way.  But I overcooked the caramel a bit (it went to the "dark amber" stage very very quickly, and I think it got all the way to "darkest amber" before I pulled it off the heat), so in the fridge it turned into a taffy texture.  Then when I wanted to assemble the cake, I had to warm the caramel back up slightly.  Then I put the cake together and the layers did a slow-moving slide to the side. Even though I put it in the fridge, it came out incredibly lopsided.

Ugly but delicious
Once I had squished the layers around a bit to get them to be somewhat vertical, and slapped on the icing (including $10 of Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate), it was holding together better.  But look at this mess!  It is tilting and caramel is EVERYWHERE (I may be finding sticky places in my house for weeks).  But how does it taste?

Well.  Okay.  This cake is completely worth any headache.  The caramel, especially in the darkest amber stage mine got to, is deep and a little salty (fine, I give in), and is almost like caramel corn.  Sandwiched between the layers and left to sit overnight, the cake absorbs some of the caramel.  The icing is rich but not too sweet.  I couldn't finish the piece I sliced for myself, but I wanted to.  So I had another partial slice for breakfast before taking in the leftovers to work.  And my co-workers were very happy about eating it.

So this little fugly cake is a master of disguise.  It is my nemesis wrapped in chocolate cake and enrobed in ganache.  And I don't think anyone feels defeated.

ETA: Link to recipe for Salted-Caramel Six Layer Chocolate Cake by Martha Stewart.


LadyT said...

Did you have any trouble with the frosting? Mine came out super hard and not very tasty. But the cake and the caramel parts were soooo very good that I have made them repeatedly now.

Unknown said...

I wonder, did you use chocolate chips instead of semisweet chocolate in bars? They would have a hardening agent that would make it dry out too much, possibly. Also, I had it in a cake carrier in the fridge. I also didn't let the melted chocolate cool completely before adding it to the butter, and it was pretty soft when I put it on, but the cake had set up in the fridge with the caramel for several hours.

It is the caramel that always trips me up!