In April 2014, at a clandestine location in Leeds, a very special CCC event took place. I and several other bakers welcomed guest of honour Nigel Slater, who’d come with a film crew to take part in a Cake Club gathering for a documentary called The Icing on the Cake.
This magnificent cake, topped and filled with caramel sauce and crowned with caramel buttercream, was the one that I chose to bake for the occasion. Clearly, it hit the spot for Nigel and his crew – by the end of the event, not even a crumb remained!
So it seems the perfect tribute with which to toast national treasure Nigel on his birthday.
Publication: ‘A Year of Cake’ page 64
Sea Salted Caramel Cake
- 250 g unsalted butter softened
- 250 g soft light muscovado sugar
- 60 g salted caramel sauce see recipe below or use ready-made
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 250 g self-raising flour sifted
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 200 g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 level teaspoon sea salt plus a little extra to finish
- 200 ml double cream
- 20 g dark chocolate 70 per cent cocoa solids, broken into pieces
- 250 g unsalted butter softened
- 500 g icing sugar sifted
- 60 g salted caramel sauce that you made earlier of use ready-made
- 2 tbsp double cream
- Start by making the salted caramel sauce. Melt the butter, sugar and salt over a low heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and leave for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and add the chocolate and then the cream. Mix until well combined, then set aside to thicken and cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180oC/gas 6. Grease and line two 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins.
- Beat the butter and sugar using a wooden spoon or electric whisk, until light and fluffy. Measure out 60g of the cooled salted caramel sauce (or the ready-made version, if using). Mix until well combined.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs with a little flour to help prevent curdling. Mix until well combined, then fold in the remaining flour.
- Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 20–25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the tins to cool for a few minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the buttercream.
- Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the salted caramel sauce and cream then mix until well combined.
- Sandwich the cakes together with a thin layer of the salted caramel sauce. Using a palette knife, cover the sides of the cakes with a very thin layer of the buttercream – a ‘crumb coat’. The crumb coat gives you a good base on which to decorate your cake, catching any crumbs that may spoil the overall appearance of the cake. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
- Remove the cake from the fridge. Place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle or star-shaped nozzle according to preference, then pipe swirls and whirls around the sides of the cake, finishing with two rings of swirls around the top of your cake.
- Place the remaining salted caramel sauce into a disposable piping bag with the end snipped off to make a small hole. Pipe the caramel into the round in the centre of the top of the cake to create a pool and finish with a scattering of sea salt.
- Leave to set a little in the fridge before serving.