If you want the caramel equivalent of a "death by chocolate" experience, this is the cake for you. In fact, this may be the BEST cake I have ever made! (chocoholics may disagree) I may have to make it again for the Desert GTG. (That's DESERT, not Dessert...)
This is one of those cakes that is even better after a couple of days as the flavors continue to intensify in the fridge. I combined several recipes to come up with it.
The cake itself, the marscapone buttercream, and the BEST salted butter caramel sauce are from Caramel, by Trish Deseine. The toffee on top is a variation of my Christmas toffee I have made for over 30 years, without the chocolate.
3 ½ c. flour
1 ½ c. less 2 T brown sugar
1 c. plus 2T white superfine sugar
2 c. salted butter, softened
2 T. baking powder
Preheat oven to 350. Spray and flour 2 9” cake pans. Put all cake ingredients into bowl of mixer, mix until you have a smooth, creamy batter. Divide mixture equally into two cake pans. Smooth with spatula and bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Toothpick or tester should come out clean.
Caramel Buttercream with Marscapone
1 ½ lb. powdered sugar
1 ½ c. butter, softened
5 T caramel sauce
4 T. marscapone
Beat powdered sugar and butter until smooth. Add caramel sauce and marscapone, and beat together. Allow to set up for a few minutes in the fridge. Save about 1/3 of butter cream for top layer of cake. Use remaining buttercream to frost the other 3 layers.
Salted Butter Caramel Sauce (the BEST you will ever taste)
1 cup sugar
¼ c. water
½ c. salted butter (1 stick)
4-5 T. marscapone
Make a caramel: Put water and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir together before placing on medium high heat. Let it boil. Do NOT stir or touch it. It will bubble and boil for a few minutes, then begin to turn golden. Don’t stir! When it is beginning to turn amber (the color of honey), take it off the heat and whisk in butter. Then whisk in the marscapone. Store (up to 2 weeks) in a glass jar in fridge. May be served hot or cold.
1 c. sliced blanched toasted almonds
1 stick butter (salted)
1 c. sugar
Spread almonds on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8 minutes until they start to turn golden. Let cool. When almonds are cool, scoot them into a circle on the center of the baking sheet in a single layer.
Stir together butter and sugar in a skillet over medium heat. Continue to stir until mixture thickens, and then turns a caramel color (10-15 minutes). Pour hot toffee over almonds, and immediately press down and flatten with a spatula, covering circle of almonds. Let cool in fridge for at least an hour. Then break toffee into small pieces. This can be stored in the fridge for 2 months.
Cut two cake layers in half horizontally to make 4 layers.
Spread buttercream on tops only, of first three cake layers, stacking them, and saving 1/3 of buttercream for top of fourth layer. Let frosted cake chill.
Before serving, heat caramel sauce, and srizzle over top, letting it run down the sides.
OR, do this ahead, and let cake chill again.
Top with sliced toasted almonds, or small pieces of toffee crunch.
Now if you REALLY want to die happy, pair this with Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream.
Just don't think about it! One of my guests ate TWO pieces of cake with ice cream. He is still happy. Since getting my ice cream machine last month, I have made 11 batches of ice cream or sorbet. This is hands down the best. I can't imagine anything better.
Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream (from Caramel, by Trish Deseine (I doubled this for 10 guests)
5 egg yolks
2 T. super fine sugar (for the ice cream)
2 c. whipping cream
1/2 c. sugar, less 1 T. (for the caramel)
2 T. water
1/4 c. salted butter
In a heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks with the 2 T. of super fine sugar until thick and pale yellow, and doubled in volume.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring 1 1/4 c. cream to a boil and pour over the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Return this to the saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it is thick and coats the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and let cool.
In another heavy-bottomed saucepan, make a caramel with the 1/2 c. less 1 T. granulated sugar and the 2 T. water. Remember: DON'T STIR. Let it boil and turn honey-colored. Remove from heat, and immediately add the butter and remaining cream. Return to heat if necessary to melt any sugar crystals that have formed.
Combine the cooled custard, and warm caramel mixtures. Chill completely, and freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze until ready to serve.