Chocolate Cake with Fleur De Sel Caramel Filling – Recipe
Another cake challenge proposed to me by my daughter, for her Birthday cake. I love trying out new recipes, so I was ready to tackle this one as well.
This sinfully rich chocolate cake consists of 4 layers of cake, with rich chocolate ganache, smooth and creamy, lightly salted caramel, and toasted almonds. If this doesn’t make your mouth water, I don’t know what will!
This time the challenge was to find the special salt, Fleur De Sel, needed in this recipe. I checked all the grocery stores in our area, but to no avail. Finally I visited Williams- Sonoma at our local mall, and was lucky enough to find it there.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey Cocoa)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 Tbs instant coffee powder
- 1 1/4 cups almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Grease bottom and sides of two 9 inch cake pans.
- Line the bottoms of each pan with parchment paper, grease well, and dust with flour.
- In a large bowl, sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add milk, eggs, and melted butter.
- Beat at low speed until blended.
- Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
- In a small bowl, stir 1 cup of hot water, and dissolve the instant coffee powder.
- Add to batter, and beat until blended.
- Divide batter between the two cake pans (about 3 cups each).
- Bake cakes, on the middle oven rack, for 32 minutes, or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.
- Remove cakes from oven, and cool in pans on a wire rack, for 10 minutes.
- Loosen around the cake; turn out on cake racks.
- Peel off parchment paper, and cool completely.
Caramel Filling Ingredients:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tbs light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, diced
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Large pinch (I used 1/4 tsp) of fine Fleur De Sel ( plus additional for assembly)
Caramel Filling Directions:
- Use a deep medium saucepan, and stir in sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water.
- Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.
- Increase heat to medium, cover pan, and cook for 4 minutes.
- Uncover, increase heat to high, and boil without stirring, until syrup is deep amber in color; about 5 minutes (this does not take very long, so keep an eye on it as not to burn it).
- Remove from heat.
- Add heavy cream (this will create a very frothy mixture).
- Whisk in butter, then sour cream, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp of Fleur De Sel.
- Cool completely.
- Cover and chill.
- Bring to room temperature before using.
- (this filling can be prepared even 3 days ahead).
Ganache Filling and Frosting Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 lbs semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
Ganache Filling and Frosting Directions:
- In a large bowl, place chopped chocolate.
- In a medium sauce pan, pour in the heavy cream and bring to simmer.
- Pour hot cream over chocolate.
- Let soften for 1 minute.
- Whisk until chocolate and cream form a smooth paste.
- Cover and chill overnight.
- Bring to room temperature before using.
- Ganache can be made even 3 days in advance.
Cake Assembly Directions:
- Cut each cake, horizontally in half, forming 4 cake rounds.
- Place one layer on a cake plate (I place two pieces of wax paper on the plate first, so they meet in the middle of the plate, under the first cake layer, as shown below. This helps the cake plate stay free from dripping icing, during assembly).
- Prepare 1/2 cup of water with 1 tsp of vanilla extract, to be used for moisturizing the cake layers.
- Gently sprinkle the cake with above water/extract mixture.
- Spread with 1/2 cup ganache, at room temperature.
- Spoon 3/4 cup ganache into a pastry bag fitted with 1/4 inch plain round tip.
- Pipe ring of ganache around the edge of the cake layer (see above).
- Spread 1/4 cup, room temperature, caramel filling, evenly inside the ring (see above).
- Sprinkle caramel filling with 1/4 tsp of Fleur De Sel, then 1-2 Tbs of toasted almonds (see above). I used 1 Tbs of toasted almonds on the 1st and 3rd layer, but used 2 Tbs on the middle layer.
- Top with second cake layer, and repeat the above steps of moisturizing, piping, ganache, caramel, Fleur De Sel and toasted almonds.
- Repeat the layering process until the last layer of cake.
- Place the last cake layer with the cut side, down, and the nice smooth cake bottom side up, for easier frosting.
- Spread the ganache frosting on the top and sides of the cake, and smooth it out
- Place some ganache in a cake decorating bag, and use your imagination to decorate the cake. (I piped some ganache to form a design, and used the remaining toasted almonds to decorate the top and sides of the cake).
- Cover with cake dome or loose foil paper, and chill.
- Let the cake stand at room temperature for an hours, before serving.
- This cake can be made 2 days ahead.