March 4, 2015

Icing on the Cake

March 4, 2015
Thank goodness this post isn't about our sweet baby pup, Tess, that briefly ran away to a neighbors home over yonder.  Be glad I'm not boring you with the frigid details of my search in a bad boy buggy taking on sleet at 30mph while wiping tears from my eyes before they froze to my cheeks.  Instead, let us read about chocolate and how to ice a cake on this frosty day.

Nothing like being safe and found!
I set out to make a delicious salted caramel chocolate cake and show you not only how easy it was but how beautiful it was.  Delicious? Yes. Beautiful? Not by the recipe book's photographic standards anyway.  The problem?  I don't own DEEP cake pans.  I don't believe in effort going to waste either.   Besides, I ignored the original recipe and resorted to an old friend, Betty Crocker. The result was learning that deep pans would have been helpful but Betty makes a darn fine chocolate cake mix...and frosting.  I cheated again by adding  store bought caramel sauce instead of dealing with the mess of a double boiler and other things I don't have time for.  Big Dog was turning 40 and dinner was in just a few hours.  So here it goes...a chocolaty improvisation and a lesson in frosting a cake.

This book is filled with day dreams of beautiful yumminess. You can get it on Amazon.
I used two boxes of Betty Crocker's super moist dark chocolate cake mix.  You will also need 3 containers of Betty's whipped chocolate frosting, a jar of salted caramel sauce (Smucker's makes a fancy version) and flaky sea salt.  

Begin by mixing both boxes of the cake mix.  Want to know a secret?  Instead of using cold water use HOT water when mixing the eggs and oil.  The hot water brings to life the chocolate flavor.  It's true!  The Oompa Loompas from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory told me so.  Want to know another secret?  Add the six eggs the box (three per box) recipe calls for but throw in an extra yolk for a boost of flavor.  Pour the batter as equally as possible in three cake pans and bake as directed.

After your cakes are baked and cooled carefully loosen the sides and remove from pans.

My cakes "domed" a bit if you will.

Must have cake loosening and frosting tools.
If you have the handy dandy tool that allows you to cut the top off of cakes making them level, go for it.  I own one myself but truth be told, I ended up using my tops to add height and layers.  Deep cake pans are on my short list.

Mix half a jar of Smucker's fancy salted caramel sauce with one container of whipped chocolate frosting.  Frost the first layer. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and repeat with remaining layers.

Whoa, cowgirl. Drop your fork.  One must resist temptation.
A drippy drip of the chocolate caramel sauce tempts the taste buds.
Once upon a time, long, long, ago, like in a former life long time ago, me and my best friend owned a cafe and bakery.  I owe all I learned in the kitchen and more to her.  She taught me to boldly empty a large glop or container of frosting on top of the cake (as seen above) and work to frost the edges and sides from there like so...

Remember to breathe while patiently working the frosting down the sides of the cake in a light pressure back and forth motion.  Deep breaths.  Slow down.  Nice and easy.  

Dipping into the two other containers of frosting, slowly add frosting while turning your cake stand or plate with your other hand to complete the frosting process until you cover the cake and end up with something like this...

You can continue to work the frosting until you get the look you want.  Whipped frosting is quite forgiving and generous.  We can learn a lot from whipped frosting.

Using your frosting tool, gently continue to frost to create the look you want.  Smooth as smooth can be or speckled or textured.  When you are happy with the way it looks take a damp paper towel(s) to clean up the edges.  Warm water works best.

I ran out of camo paper and had to use chevron.  It was that or princess paper.
Sprinkle with sea salt flakes (lots of sea salt) and add some flair.  Now I warned you at the start that this cake did not turn out like the picture in the book...

See?  But I didn't have those deep pans and my cake baked lopsided and my sea salt flakes weren't as big and Big Dog doesn't like ribbon flags  and did I mention the deep cake pans and... and... and.  It was delicious nonetheless and Big Dog approved.  I'm going to go buy deep pans now.   Oh, and bake cookies for the nice neighbor that kept Tess safe and warm until he saw a crazy woman hollering out up and down the road in the freezing rain! 

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