In a cookbook I read a little while ago, there was a cake called “The winning hearts and minds cake”, so called because it, well, won hearts and minds. This cake is like that- except more. I’m talking 10,000 times more. Normally, I attempt to hide my narcissism, but I’m not even going to try. This cake is amazing. This cake will change your life. Want to make a good impression on your boss? Make this cake. Want to show off to relatives? Make this cake. Trying not to get deported for refusing to be brainwashed by a Twitter-happy, unstable, fake tan obsessed psycho? Make. This. Cake. It’s a little lengthy, but you won’t care once you taste it. You won’t care how many calories it has. You’ll never be the same. You’ll be everyone’s favorite. People will never leave your house! Which could be a bad thing, but that’s your business.
There are three parts to the recipe: The cake, frosting, and caramel.
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
3 oz dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have any, just add a splash of vinegar to a cup of milk)
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
⅓ cup melted chocolate
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup heavy cream (You can use half and half too. Use whole milk, though, and a little elf will show up out of nowhere and throw pesto in your caramel. Not that there’s anything wrong with pesto, it just doesn’t belong in caramel)
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 F
Right! First things first, the cake. The base. The heart, if you will. This is amazing on it’s own, by the way! You don’t even need frosting- which is usually blasphemy in my house, but rules don’t apply to this cake. You’ll need a few bowls. Three, to be exact. A big one, a medium one, and a little one. Reminds you of Goldilocks and the three bears, eh? I always had so many questions about that story. I still do! First of all, did they have three versions of everything in their house? Where did they get their stuff? Did everything match? What happened when the little bear grew up, and moved on to bigger chairs, beds, and bowls of porridge? Did the mom and dad bear change their stuff too? Did they have bear friends? Was there a whole bear community? Did they ever press charges against Goldilocks? What was Goldilocks doing in the woods, anyways? What kind of child just wanders into someone’s house? And, WHAT KIND OF CHILD TAKES A NAP IN A STRANGER’S HOUSE?! Was she going to visit her grandmother? I bet that was it. Why are there so many grandmothers-in-the-woods in children’s stories? Is it safe for elderly women to live alone in woods full of wolves and bears? Is there a wood somewhere in FairyTale land (you know it exists) just filled with grandmothers? Is there a grandmothers-in-the-woods community? They should unionize, and demand better representation! The time is gone where they are portrayed as weak and helpless! By this time, you’re probably feeling a bit betrayed. You came to this blog, and bless you for it. You read the intro. You saw how much I hyped up this recipe. You expected a stunning cake, decadent and legendary. And then you got sucked into a debate beginning at Goldilocks and ending with fairytale grandmothers (not to be confused with fairy godmothers) unionizing.
Let’s get back to the recipe- I promise it’s worth all the tangents! Pour the flour, ½ the white sugar, and all the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon into the bigger bowl.
Mix that up with a wooden spoon,
and break the chocolate into the smallest, microwave safe bowl.
Fleck a bit of water onto the chocolate,
and microwave it at 30 second intervals, stirring in between to melt it completely.
Set that aside,
while you get cracking on the medium bowl. Throw in the brown sugar, the other half of the white sugar,
and the eggs.
Now grab an electric mixer, and start beating. You need to beat this for 3 minutes- and it’s 3 minutes on the highest setting, it’ll take longer the lower you set the mixer. I’m impatient, in case you couldn’t tell. Once it’s nicely thickened,
pour in the oil.
Beat that in for 2 minutes,
then pour in the vanilla, and beat that in for another minute. If you can get your hands on some good Mexican vanilla, use that! I love the stuff. It is now the most important time of all. It’s chocolate time. Other than free time and bedtime, it’s my favorite time. Pour the chocolate in,
and beat it! You need to move fast, otherwise the hot chocolate will cook the eggs. You don’t want that. Trust me. Once that’s mixed in,
pour in the vanilla, and beat that in for another minute. If you can get your hands on some good Mexican vanilla, use that! I love the stuff.
Once that’s mixed in, grab the buttermilk, and pour that in. Buttermilk makes chocoolate cake delightfully spongy and delicious!
Beat that in,
then pour this lovely mess
into the dry ingredients
Use a wooden spoon to mix it all together. It’s okay if it has a few lumps, you just want to get everything incorporated.
Now grab a baking pan- in hindsight, I’d recommend a sheet pan. Also, in more recent hindsight, don’t grease the pan, use parchment paper. I realized as soon as I greased it. It’s fine. It’s all good. Just keep telling yourself that.
Pour the cake batter in,
and bake it for 25 minutes. This is how it looked after it came out of the oven (And after I poked it with a fork to see if it was done. I didn’t have any toothpicks on hand). Let it cool while you make the next thing- the caramel!
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Pour in the sugar, and start whisking!
At first it’ll look all lumpy and weird, but then it’ll start to bubble like mad. That’s the reason I have no picture of me pouring the heavy cream in. Once you mix that in, it’ll start looking a lot like caramel.
Pour in the vanilla, salt, and cayenne, and then let it come to a bubble.
et it go crazy for about a minute,
then turn off the heat and mix it. It’ll reduce and thicken as it cools, so just let it live it’s life while you make the buttercream.
Throw the butter into a bowl
and mix in the sugar.
Use a wooden spoon, not a whisk. I ended up with so many failed, runny buttercreams due to whisking them. And the last thing I want is for that to happen to you. Unless you’re part of the sicko carrot administration. Then I wish many failed buttercreams on you. A pox of runny frosting on your house! You have to be patient with the buttercream, it’ll take a while, but it’ll be worth it in the end. Once it’s all nice and thick and creamy,
pour in the vanilla,
and then chocolate.
Mix that up, and give it a taste. If it’s so amazing you nearly faint, it’s ready.
Now you have the cake, the frosting, and the caramel.
You might be curious as to how I make a layer cake out of a rectangular cake. I just cut circles out! To ensure all the circles are uniform, I put the first circle on top of where I’m cutting, and slice around it. Plus, the leftover cake I cut circles out of makes for great snacking! Once you’ve extracted all the circles you can,
smear a bit of buttercream on whatever plate you’re putting the cake on, just to anchor the cake.
epeat as many times as is necessary.
Once the layers are stacked, spread the final bit of buttercream on top.
And then pour the caramel all over it. I wouldn’t recommend simply upending the pot,
use a ladle to drizzle it all over the place. And you’re done! Stand back and gaze in awe at what you have created. And then cut yourself a slice- you deserve it! I may be melodramatic, but this is the best cake ever, honest!