September is my month. I love it and dislike it at the same time. September is the month when I was born, so I am always looking forward to celebrate my birthday. But it’s also the end of the summer so it makes me a bit sad. However, it is one of the nicest times of the year (except the fact that the days are already quite short) – the heat is over but the cold has not arrived yet.
But the topic of this post is My Birthday! Which also means My Cake and My Cookies!
Many years ago I read somewhere that everyone deserves a cake for their birthday, therefore nobody should miss having one on that day. I took this very seriously and I always make or buy a cake for my birthday – no excuses.
This year the cake was not very big, but there were also cookies. The theme of the decoration was gold and keys. Why keys? Because I had a very nice brand new key mould and I was feeling the need to try it out… And yes, I also had a good quantity of edible golden dust, so nice to paint with. Otherwise I am not a big fan of gold in general… Nevertheless the decoration ended up very pretty – especially the one of the cookies (which I am going to show in another post, dedicating this one solely on The Cake).
Starting from the appearance: it was simple, just butter cream all over. Only the three flowers and the key on top were made of fondant.
The taste of the cake was also related to gold: caramel. I was not completely sure how to make it exactly, so I tried first one Sally’s baking addiction. They became quite nice, but I wanted even more caramel taste in my cake. So eventually I made some changes on the first recipe and it actually worked pretty well: it came to my mind to prepare a caramel butter spread and to add it into the cake and into the frosting. The result was really good, I wasn’t even expecting the cake to become so tasty and pretty at the same time.
The salty caramel butter spread is a very nice thing by itself. It can be used for pancakes, crepes, biscuits, even on bread… and it is quite delicious!
So enough explanation, let’s continue with the recipes.
1. Salted caramel butter spread
250 g sugar
3 tbs water (approximately)
100 g butter, softened and cubed
200 ml heavy cream at room temperature
1 tsp sea salt (if the butter is salted, use 1/2 tsp)
In a large saucepan cook the sugar and water until it turns golden brown. Add the butter little by little and stir (be very careful because the caramel will start bubbling). When the butter melts, carefully add the heavy cream and the salt. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the consistency becomes slightly creamy but still liquid. Remove the caramel from the heat and pour it into jars. Let cool to room temperature before transferring them to the fridge.
This spread can last at least two weeks in the fridge. Before using it heat it for a minute on low power in the microwave.
2. Cake base (inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction):
150 g dark brown sugar
50 g granulated sugar
30 g butter, softened
150 g caramel butter spread at room temperature (see recipe above)
190 g all purpose flour
100 ml milk
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 17-18 cm cake pan and line it with a circle of parchment paper.
In a bowl combine flour and baking powder and set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine butter, caramel spread and the two kinds of sugar. Beat well until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, milk and vanilla. Whisk until homogeneous. At the end add the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let cool completely on a wire rack before assembling it.
3. Heavy cream frosting:
200 ml heavy cream, cooled on the top rack of the fridge for at least 4 hours
3 tbs confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Before preparing the frosting insert the mixing bowl in the freezer to cool for about 15 minutes.
Beat the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until it makes stiffer peaks. For best results use the frosting immediately.
4. Salted caramel buttercream frosting:
100 g butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
40 g salted caramel butter spread, at room temperature (see recipe above)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, caramel spread and vanilla. Add in the sugar little by little, beating well after each addition. Continue mixing until light and fluffy.
Assembling the cake:
When the cake base is completely cold, use a serrated knife to cut it horizontally in 3 equal layers. Place one layer on a serving plate or a cake stand. Spread on top half of the Heavy cream frosting. Cover with a second layer and spread the rest of the heavy cream frosting on top. Place the third layer over the frosting. Wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
When the cake is cold, frost it all around with the caramel buttercream frosting. Decorate as desired.
– If you want to make a bigger cake, double the ingredients for the batter and for the two kinds of frosting and use a 24-26 cm pan.
– The recipe for the salty caramel spread makes double of the quantity required for the cake. You can use the rest as a spread, or simply halve the ingredients.