Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chocolate Cake Present with Dulce de Leche Cream Filling

Last weekend my family threw a party for my grandmothers 80ths birthday. They wanted to order one vanilla cake for the celebration and asked if I would do a chocolate cake to supplement. So after browsing through some of my favorite cake books, I decided I would do a chocolate cake from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. I choose to use the chocolate butter cake. But I wasn't set for sure on the filling. After several experiments with white chocolate mousse, chocolate pudding, chocolate bavarian cream and dulce de leche cream I choose the dulce de leche cream. The recipe is also from the same book, but from another recipe for the Dulce de Leche Cake.

I baked the 3 10 inch square layers earlier in the week and froze them. The dulce de leche I made the night before and refrigerated until was ready to make the dulce de leche cream. (Pull out and bring to room temperature before use.)

Chocolate Butter Cake from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes (makes 3 10 inch square cakes)

4 cups cake flour

4 cups sugar

2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch process

4 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound unsalted butter, at room temp

2 cups buttermilk

4 eggs

2 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 10 inch square cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. With electric mixer on low speed, blend for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and buttermilk and blend on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. About 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk the eggs and coffee together, and add to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating only until blended after each addition. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans, each 10 inch pan will take about 4 1/2 cups of batter.

Bake the layers for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 15 mins. Carefully turn them onto wire racks and allow to cool completely. Remove the paper liners only when they are cool.

Dulce de Leche Cream from Sky High

1 1/3 cups whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cups light corn syrup

1 small cinnamon stick

1 one inch piece of vanilla bean, split lengthwise

3 cups heavy whipping cream

Place the milk, sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon stick in a heavy medium size saucepan. With the tip of a knife scrape the tiny seeds from the inside of the vanilla bean into the pot; toss in the pod as well. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat; stirring to dissolve sugar. Continue to simmer; stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden or silicone spatula, until the liquid turns a light amber color, about 45 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring more frequently as the milk darkens and the mixture reduces and thickens, until the color reaches a rich milk caramel, 45-60 minutes. Watch carefully and stir often near the end, because the milk caramel can burn quickly.

Remove and discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla pod and pour the caramel into a heatproof bowl. Let the dulce de leche cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and let cool completely.

In large chilled mixer bowl with chilled beaters, combine the cream with the dulce de leche. Beat on low to combine and dissolve the dulce de leche. Raise the mixer to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form.

(I reserved a little dulce de leche before the creaming process to coat the layers before adding the cream. Although I am not really sure you could taste the difference)

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting from Bakerella ( I doubled this recipe)

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa)

1 box (1 lb) confectioner's sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1-3 Tbsp milk

Cream the butter and cream cheese with a mixer.
Add the cocoa and vanilla.
Add the confectioner's sugar in small batches and blend on low until combined. Scrape down sides with each addition.
Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until you get the consistency you desire.

When you are ready to assemble your cake, take the layers from the freezer and level any layers necessary. I put a little frosting on the cake board before placing the first layer down just to secure the cake. On top of the first layer I used a layer of dulce de leche, then the dulce de leche cream, next cake layer, dulce de leche, dulce de leche cream and then the final layer. I crumb coated the cake and let it sit in the freezer over night. This helped the next day when I was icing the cake everything stayed in place and wasn't moving around.

One of the 3 layers cooling before I triple wrapped them and put them in the freezer.

The cake was going to be a cake present with white fondant loop bow. This was the first time I have made this type of bow, so I was a little nervous. But a few days before the party I rolled out the fondant to 1/8 inch thick and cut strips 1 inch by 6 inches and formed the loops below. I left them out to dry for a few days and assembled the bow the morning of the party.

A shot of the bow loops drying.

My pretty bow all put together! I used white candy melts to "glue" it together.

Frosting the cake....Notice the wax paper pieces under the cake so I didn't mess up the cake board.

All put together....

After seeing a few places missing frosting after removing the wax paper, I decided to pipe some dots around the bottom of the cake.

A picture of the dessert tables. My chocolate cake on the left and the beautiful cake from Cakes by Gina on the right.

A little closer up!

Let me know what you think. All in all I think the bow turned out great but the icing was definitely not what I wanted. I wanted a smooth finish frosting and this was a little more whipped than I was going for. Anyone have a great chocolate frosting recipe?

Oh and the cake was awesome, I got tons of compliments on it and I think the dulce de leche cream was a perfect pairing with the chocolate cake. I need to work on my leveling cake skills cause this one was far from perfect but a pretty decent start. :)
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  1. I think it looks beautiful! And it sounds delicious. I've been thinking about getting that book for a while now.

  2. I absolutely love that cake book. It's fantastic! I really like the instant fudge frosting from that same book. It's the same frosting I just posted a recipe for on my "rose" cake. It was very tasty and so simple to make.

    I think your cake turned out great. I'm sure your grandmother loved it. So special that you made it for her too. And I love your bow- very impressive!

    BTW, have you considered joining the Cake Slice Bakers? We baked from Sky High for a year, though I have only been a part of the group for the last 6 months. We're switching cookbooks next month, but I think you'd like it. If you're interested email me :-)

  3. I think your cake looks lovely, beautiful job!!

    As far as frosting, I love the frosting on the back of the hersheys cocoa powder can, dont know how good it is for decorating purpose however.

  4. Smitten you're really doing an impressive job on everything. And so daring, too!

  5. Wow, you are really getting good!!!! Watch out Ace of Cakes!

  6. I'd order your bow cake! I find cream cheese frostings really good to work with when decorating cakes. There are a few good chocolate versions around too.

  7. It looks beautiful. I love the big bow on top. Bet it tasted delicious

  8. This cake sounds yummy. I could try whipping some cream into the 5 kilo bucket of dulce de leche that still hasn't been completely used yet. I'm getting sick of using straight ddl. Thanks for a great recipe!

  9. Oh, I adore that book, but I have had such rare occasions where I need a sky high cake! Great job making this delicious cake for your grandma. I bet yours was her favorite. : )