Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sweet and Salty Cake

"My every capillary is cacao now..."

Our friend, Matt Bennett, is an excellent playwright and wordsmith. Only he could accurately describe the effect this cake has on a body.

This one, I have to admit, was a challenge. There were times when it almost became not fun for me. But I persisted, and the result was pretty fantastic. What sort of blogger would I be if I didn't humble myself and admit my mistakes and failures? This process was riddled with mistakes. I had to do almost every component of the cake twice because it didn't work out the first time. All my fault, not the recipe's. The recipe is in my new favorite cookbook, the one over there --> (and somebody posted it here or if you live in New York you can just go pick one up instead of baking it yourself--I'm curious how much their cakes cost...).

Failed my first attempt at the cake itself because I assumed I could make two 9-inch layers rather than three 8-inch layers. I've done it before. Not this time. Got new cake pans.

Tried again. With success. Although the edges of the cake were still strangely crumbly (thank goodness for crumb-coating).

The cake wasn't dry, in fact it was perfectly moist and a lovely combination of airy and dense (yes, I say that's possible). The layers did sink a little in the middle, which is also strange, because I usually have the opposite problem with cake layers--they're usually overly risen in the middle. But notice how the cross-section looks:

The frosting had to be thicker in the middle in order to even out the layer. More frosting=not necessarily a problem. It just doesn't look as perfect as I'd like it to.

The genius part of this cake is the salt. The cake is very dark and rich, enhanced, I think by the addition of sour cream. On top of each layer is a coating of salted caramel sauce (which I had to make twice--first time, even though I cooked it to exactly the temperature the recipe called for, tasted burnt).

Then on top of that is a coating of the frosting (Whipped Caramel Ganache--which contains no less than a pound of chocolate and a pound of butter). My frosting turned out very loose. I had to refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes after mixing it in order to get it to the right consistency.

Then on top of that is a sprinkling of sea salt.

The salt cuts through the richness of the chocolate and brings the taste of the caramel forward for a simply delightful flavor.

Of course, there's more salt on top of the cake as a simple, tasty, and beautiful garnish.

A perfect birthday cake for the perfect husband.

TGIP Rating--Sweet and Salty Cake--KEEPER--make sure you set aside plenty of time, you can't make this one in a rush.

Next up: I've taken on some pretty significant challenges the past couple of weeks. I think I'll do something relatively simple this week. My brother sent me a bread recipe a while back that he says is perfect in texture but lacking a little in flavor. So, I'm going to give it a try and see if I can add some flavor to it, probably in the form of roasted garlic.


shannon said...

you are amazing. truly. i wish i was your husband. (ps - my birthday's a week from today. just sayin')

Miriam Latour said...

Mmmmm. Seriously mmmm.