Wednesday 28 August 2013

Salted caramel chocolate torte

It's a bit of a long post this time, so grab a cup of tea!

The lovely Maxine from 'why I am not skinny' invited me to join the Buttles Great Bake Challenge this month, to raise some money for charity. The theme was chocolate. How could I refuse?

First up, what to bake? I hesitated over brownies (delicious, but not show-off enough), Black Forest gateau and chocolate and salted caramel cake before finally settling on this chocolate and salted caramel torte from the BBC Good Food site.

Plain sailing, right?

Wrong! What followed involved chemistry and engineering of a nearly industrial scale.
This all centered around a can of caramel. I couldn’t find any in the supermarkets in my vicinity, and I wasn’t able to get to any of the British shops. I decided to make the sticky toffee pudding sauce and let it chill and solidify to get it to the right consistency. 

However, the chilled sauce didn’t solidify enough for my liking, so I put another three dessertspoons of brown sugar into a saucepan and two dessertspoons of the sauce (I added the rest of the sauce once the smaller quantity was ready). The extra sugar made the sauce go a much darker colour, but the good news was that it worked and the sauce was thicker.

Onto the engineering/construction of the cake.

I whipped about 100ml of the cream until it was medium-thick. I then took about 100g of the melted chocolate and folded the whipped cream through the chocolate until it was a bit mousse-like. I lined the outside of the cake with this, constructing a ring for the caramel to sit in, and made a ganache as described in the recipe and poured this on top.
I couldn’t find any salted caramel truffles to decorate, so next best thing (in my head), was to slice up a Lindt crème brulee  bar and put the shards in the cake.

This is the recipe I used.

175g of digestive biscuits
85g of butter, melted

another 100g of butter
200g of brown sugar
200ml of cream
1 teaspoon of sea salt

300g of plain chocolate (70% solids), broken into chunks
600ml of double cream
25g of icing sugar
2 tsp of vanilla extract

salted caramel chocolates or a bar of salted caramel chocolate, to decorate
single cream, to serve (optional).

Some of the shopping

Line the base of a deep, round 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with a circle of baking paper. Line the sides with one long strip that comes just above the sides of the tin – staple or paper clip where the strip overlaps to hold it in place.

Crush the biscuits in a plastic bag or bowl with the end of a rolling pin (food processor). Stir into the melted butter, then evenly press into the bottom of the tin. Chill for 10 mins.
The biscuit base

To make the caramel, melt the 100g of butter and the brown sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Take it off the heat and stir the cream through it.

Reserve 2 dessertspoons of the caramel. Stir the sea salt into the remainder and chill it. I thought the sauce was very salty, but I guessed that this would be toned down when eaten with the rest of the cake, so I didn’t worry about it.

Gently melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, turn off the heat but leave the bowl where it is. Whip about 100ml of the cream and make the chocolate mousse as I described above and line the outside of the cake with this. Chill this for a few minutes and then fill the centre with the caramel and chill it again while you make the ganache.
The chocolate mousse ring to house the caramel
Stir the rest of the cream through the remainder of the melted chocolate until you have a smooth, shiny, thick chocolate sauce. Sift in the icing sugar and stir in with the vanilla extract. Lift off the heat and let the mixture cool for 10 mins.
The caramel sauce
Gently ladle or pour in the ganache over the chocolate mousse and caramel. Chill for at least 5 hrs or up to 24 hours until firm.
The ganache!
Remove the torte from the tin, then carefully peel off the strip of paper and transfer to a serving plate. Dot the chocolates on top (or use a knife to make slits and slot the chocolate shard in). Spoon the reserved caramel-cream mixture into a small food or freezer bag. Snip off the tiniest tip of the corner to make a very small opening, then squiggle lines of caramel over the top. Chill until ready to serve. Scatter with a pinch or two of sea salt before serving, then thinly slice. Eat with a drizzle of single cream, if you like.
The finished cake
And the tasting? Well, overnight, the caramel layer soaked into the biscuit layer. You could still taste the caramel though. However, despite my reservations over the caramel being too salty, you couldn’t taste the salt at all! Saying that, it is delicious. It’s very chocolately, so if you are looking for something for chocoholics, this could be it! It is extremely rich, so while it says in the recipe that you can get 8-10 slices from this, I think that you can serve smaller slices to more people. This isn’t something I’d make for us at home; it really is something for an occasion and for a large number of people. 
The inside of the cake - caramel disappeared!

I'll just add a little word about the Buttles Bake Off Challenge too, if I may. It was brilliant! It was my first time meeting people from the blogosphere and everyone was really friendly and sweet and so nice! M was the hostess with the mostess, greeting us at her home with a huge smile and a glass of bubbles! The craic was mighty. I'm already looking forward to the next meeting (22 September; scones and jam. See here for more

1 comment:

  1. Hello!
    It was lovely to meet you on Sunday and your cake was absolutely DELICIOUS (and I don't usually like anything caramely) I didn't realise you wrote this blog - I'm a big fan!