Sweet and Salty Cake + 1st Blog-iversary Party

by byn on March 25, 2011

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Icing

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As my 1st blog-iversary approached, I knew I would use it as an excuse to get to some long-drooled-over recipes. At first I had my heart set on this Sweet and Salty Cake, but after Leianne’s birthday cupcakes, I thought I might be over the whole chocolate/salted caramel thing.  Then I was fixated on Crack Pie for a while; I mean if any occasion calls for baking oatmeal cookies from scratch, only to pulverize them for a crust, it would be a blog-iversary party.  I flipped through the other cakes in my Baked book, briefly contemplated the Grasshopper Cake, but in the end, I ended up back where I began.

This cake consists of three layers of chocolate cake, salted caramel between each layer, and a chocolate caramel ganache frosting. I busted out the big guns for this cake, and walked down to St. Lawrence Market at lunch one day to pick up some Valrhona cocoa powder and Callebaut chocolate.  It’s definitely a labour-intensive project – you actually have to make caramel twice, once for the filling and again to add to the ganache frosting – and I had chocolate all over the wall, counter and floor in my kitchen when it was all done.

The cake itself is rich and chocolatey, the exact opposite of what a boxed chocolate cake mix tastes like (which is nothing).  The icing is richer than rich, and I might even say too rich for me.  I don’t think I whipped it enough either, but when there’s *spoiler alert* a pound each of butter and chocolate involved, I don’t think fluffiness is on anyone’s mind! I decorated the cake with chocolate covered caramels which I picked up at Bulk Barn, and it was a delicious first course at my 1st blog-iversary party. Yeah that’s right, first course.

Sweet & Salty Cake

Source: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking



3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups hot water

2/3 cup sour cream

2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1 tbsp vanilla

Salted Caramel

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tsp flaky sea salt, like Maldon

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp corn syrup

1/4 cup sour cream

Chocolate Caramel Ganache Frosting

1 lb dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp corn syrup

2 cups (4 sticks) butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2″ pieces


  1. For the cake, get out your three round cake pans (recipe says 8″, but I have 9″). Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream, and set aside to cool.
  3. In another medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. In your biggest bowl, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until well combined. Add sugars and beat again until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat again. Scrape down the bowl and make sure everything is all mixed together.
  5. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  6. Divide the batter among the three cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then turn the cakes out to cool completely.
  7. For the salted caramel, combine the cream and sea salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  8. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/4 cup water, sugar, and corn syrup, stirring together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until a candy thermometer reads 350 degrees. Remove from heat and let cool for 1 minute.
  9. Add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture (be careful, it’ll bubble up a lot). Whisk in the sour cream. Let the caramel cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until you’re ready to assemble the cake.
  10. For frosting, put the chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
  11. Make another batch of caramel following the exact same method as outlined above (the only difference is that there’s no sour cream to whisk in). Instead of letting it cool, pour the caramel over the chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute, then slowly stir until the chocolate is melted. Let the mixture cool completely (you don’t want to melt the butter!).
  12. Get your electric mixer ready, and maybe a dish towel to hold over the bowl so the frosting doesn’t fly everywhere. Start mixing on medium-high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy (I don’t think I did this long enough, but I had made so much of a mess, I just had to stop).
  13. To assemble the cake, place your 1st cake layer on a plate or platter, and spread 1/4 cup caramel on top. Let it soak in, then spread 3/4 cup of the frosting over top, and sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat with second and third layers, except when you get to the top layer, just spread it with caramel and let it soak in.
  14. Crumb coat the entire cake (a thin layer to “glue” all the crumbs in place), and chill the cake for 15 minutes. Frost the rest of the cake and decorate as you like.
  15. Cake keeps in a cake save at room temp for 3 days.

Disclaimer: I actually enjoyed the chocolate/salted caramel combo more in the Sweet & Salty Brownies, but the cake definitely makes more of a statement for a party!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

erinyyz March 26, 2011 at 11:45 pm

It was so. Good. That is all.


Katherine: Unemployed March 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

happy annual!


Christina March 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm

This cake looks super yummy! I have had my eye on this recipe ever since I bought the new Baked book. Happy “blogiversary”!! :)


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