This week’s SMS bake, Devils Food Cake, turned out to be a *%$£ing nightmare. Yes folks, a big, fat, sticky, gooey, creamy, acrid, prolonged torturous nightmare. Don’t get me wrong – Melissa’s cake itself was heavenly. It’s a simple enough recipe yielding moist, dark chocolate layers..which, in my case, baked up a bit unevenly because I failed to scrape the bottom of the bowl as religiously as I should have.. the centres shot skyward, only to sink the minute they came out of the oven. Thankfully, this just seemed to result in slightly denser, more level cakes though, so I wasn’t particularly worried. Now, sticking with the suggested peanut butter frosting at this point would have saved much blood, sweat and tearful cursing. But, having done peanut butter frosting to death before (I fell in love with a cream cheese version and refuse to stray), I decided to take this opportunity to conquer my caramel demons by making the Sweet & Salty Cake from Baked.
Known as their signature creation, it consists of chocolate cake slathered with salted caramel sauce and whipped caramel ganache frosting. After reading a few negative reviews of the Baked cake itself, in contrast rave rants about the phenomenal frosting, I figured Melissa’s devils food cake would be the ultimate base. Now, I’m not even a huge fan of caramel taste-wise, but making caramel is something I swore to conquer after my first two attempts went up in smoke a few months back. literally. Unfortunately, things got smokey this time round too. In fact, I ended up having to make 4 – yes, 4 – batches of caramel this time..!! As I said, the first went up in smoke. The second survived to become a luscious whipped ganache which turned into an impenetrable mass after an overnight stint in the fridge. So clever me decided to try softening it in the microwave, and – you guessed it – pulled out a liquid mess after getting distracted for a few crucial minutes. Devil cake 2, June 0. Back to the Coop for more butter. and chocolate.
I finally scored a win in round 3 (which I did NOT put in the fridge), but still had to play out round 4 to make the salted caramel sauce. The whole process took about 4 days and I’m out a hefty load of sugar, butter and chocolate, but I finally know how to make caramel. Unfortunately, I had planned to share this devil child with friends, but the dinner date came and went before batch 3… So at the moment, I’ve got a big fat chocolatey waste sitting in my fridge. It’s cursed, I swear.
Despite all my whinging dramatics though, I have to admit that the whipped caramel ganache is phenomenal. Paired with the salted caramel sauce and Melissa’s gorgeous chocolate layers, this is one deliciously evil cake. I recommend you roll up your sleeves and get sugar-cooking. You can find the cake recipe on Holly’s lovely site and check out how the other SMSers got on this week