Chocolate and Salted Caramel Layer Cake (Gluten Free)

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Birthdays have always been an important event in my family. Celebrations over lunch/dinner with presents and cake are a must.

Just like Christmas it’s not about the presents, but we love a good good excuse to show our loved ones how special they are.

So naturally when Jesse and I started going out (aka dating) I felt the need to show him how you really celebrate a birthday. In the past this has included gifts like lego and a Playstation for the child at heart; but most importantly, a new birthday cake each year.

Last year it was a lemon curd cheesecake which was pretty good if I do say so myself. This year Jesse requested a chocolate and salted caramel layer cake. So here it is – hope you like it!

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Layer Cake (Gluten Free)

Ingredients

Chocolate Cake
– 1½ cups self-raising flour
– 2 cups plain flour
– 2 cups caster sugar
– ½ cup cocoa
– 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
– ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
– 4 eggs
– 1½ cups buttermilk
– ½ cup vegetable oil
– 1 cup cold water
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Salted Caramel
– 1 cup sugar
– 90g salted butter, cut up into 6 pieces
– ½ cup thickened cream
– 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes

Chocolate Icing
– ¼ cup cocoa powder, sifted
– 250g butter, softened
– ½ cup pure icing sugar, sifted
– 400g dark chocolate, melted, cooled

Cooking Method

Salted Caramel
1. Heat sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Tip: sugar will form clumps but eventually melt into a thick brown coloured liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
2. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter and stir until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Very slowly, drizzle in 1/2 cup of thickened cream. Since the cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when cream added.
4. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.

Chocolate frosting
1. Whisk cocoa and 1/4 cup warm water in a bowl until cocoa has dissolved. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in chocolate, then cocoa mixture until combined.

Chocolate Cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease 2 x 20cm round cake pans with cooking spray.
Note: The original recipe used the 2 x 20cm round cake pans as instructed above but I actually used my Wilton 5-Layer cake set of pans (only 15cm x 2cm) as I had been eager to test them out. I ended up discarding the 5th cake layer as it was a little too tall.
2. Sift flours, sugar, cocoa, bicarb soda and salt into a large bowl and mix until combined.
3. Add eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and 1 cup cold water and mix with an electric mixer on medium speed. Beating the mixture until smooth.
4. Divide batter between pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes (25 minutes for the Wilton 5-layer cake pans) or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Stand in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
5. Using a knife, trim tops of cakes until flat then half to make 4 cake layers.
6. Transfer the base of 1 cake to a plate/cake stand. Spread with ¼ of the salted caramel. Top with 2nd cake layer and spread with further ¼ of the remaining salted caramel. Repeat with the remaining 2 cake layers and salted caramel.
7. Ice the top and sides of cake with chocolate frosting. Sprinkle with salt as desired then serve. Note: I had almost ⅓ of the chocolate frosting remaining using the smaller cake pans.

Special thanks to Super Food Ideas for the original recipe, which I adapted to be gluten free and included my own homemade salted caramel.

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