To get into the spirit of Hallowe’en I decided to bake a tremendous triple-layered caramel cake, with a ‘spiderweb’ on top, from my Great British Bake Off cookbook! It took a very long time to do, so I wouldn’t recommend trying this unless you have the entire morning free, but oh my God it was worth it. When I cut into it and revealed gorgeous layers of caramel, chocolate and soft, squidgy cake I let out a sigh of utter contentment – I absolutely love it when a bake turns out really well, and my flatmates both said it tasted amazing (and me! I drafted this post just after I made it, so my flatmates were the only ones who had tasted it, but I had a slice after lunch and it was incredible! So proud of myself for eating cake!), so I feel like it was a morning well spent!
Besides that, we’re having a house party tonight to celebrate Hallowe’en (we couldn’t have it on actual Hallowe’en due to early morning lectures the next day), and I was thinking that a cake would be a really nice thing to have hanging around for people to try, especially as it’s decorated for the season with a little chocolate spiderweb! I’ve never ‘feathered’ icing before (where you make the spirals look like webs with a toothpick), and I’m really proud of how the whole thing turned out!
I will, of course, post a photo of my Hallowe’en outfit as well, I made the mouse ears myself :)
Also, there’s only a month left before I announce the winner of my competition to raise money for B-eat! Make sure you’re in with a chance to win some awesome prizes by entering here: http://www.justgiving.com/emilycooksvegan
For the sponge
300g of caster sugar
300g of self-raising flour
A good pinch of salt
250g of butter, very soft but not runny
One teaspoon of vanilla extract
4 tablespoons of buttermilk
For the toffee filling
450g of muskavado sugar
100g of dark chocolate
275ml of double cream
225g of butter
300g of icing sugar
Quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt
It’s very important to have all of your ingredients at room temperature when baking a cake, so leave your butter and eggs out of the fridge for a few hours before baking (don’t try and soften the butter in a microwave like I once, stupidly did).
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line three 20cm sandwich tins.
- Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl, then break up the butter and put that in too. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla and buttermilk, then add that into the first bowl as well. Whisk with an electric mixer on a low setting (or lots of man-power and a normal whisk like me!) until thick, smooth and light.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the 3 tins and spread level. Bake for 25 minutes until springy and shrinking away from the sides of the tins. Leave to cool for 2 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the caramel filling. Put 175g of the butter into a pan with the muskavado sugar and cream. Heat gently until the butter is melted, bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Pour into a mixing bowl and gradually sift the icing sugar in. Beat until fluffy and barely warm. Gradually beat in the rest of the butter and the salt (salted caramel tastes gorgeous, so add in a little more if you think it’s needed).
- Gently melt the chocolate. Spoon half of it into another bowl and mix in slightly less than a quarter of the caramel mixture.
- To assemble the cake, set one sponge layer onto a serving plate, and spread over one third of the remaining caramel mixture. Spread a second sponge layer with the chocolate caramel, then set on the first layer. Place the third sponge layer on top, and leave to completely cool.
- Cover the top and sides with the rest of the caramel, and smooth off with a palate knife.
- Spoon the chocolate into a piping bag (reheat if it’s got a little too solid, mine got all clogged up because it wasn’t runny enough). Pipe a spiral of chocolate on top of the cake, and feather a spiderweb over the top by carefully drawing a toothpick through the chocolate and caramel in criss-crosses from the centre.
Serves about 10