I was always more of a Hostess cupcake girl. I just loved that creamy white filling surprise in the middle! However, with two rich chocolate cake layers covered in salted caramel ganache and stuffed with a vanilla bean filling? I could convert.......
A couple weeks ago my daughter-in-law, Eva turned 39. I wanted to make her something special, as she is a special kind gal. She is always trying help out in any way she can and is fun person. She loves salted caramel, so when I ran into this recipe in a old Bon Appetit, I knew this was a cake she would love.
There is not one thing I would change about this cake. It’s that good! The cake is filled with a salted caramel dark chocolate ganache. Yes, salted caramel dark chocolate ganache! Chocolate ganache is amazing, but chocolate ganache, with salted caramel? It’s amazing!! Are you asking what makes it a ding dong? The creamy vanilla bean filling over the chocolate. Then the cake is covered with the same salted caramel chocolate ganache. This cake is over the top! No more words.......except, make it!
Salted Caramel "Ding Dong" Cake
from Bon Appetit 2012
non stick vegetable oil spray
1 c. natural unsweetened cocoa powder
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. hot strong coffee
3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 c. sugar
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
9 ounces mixed semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate ( you can do it how you like it)
1 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Filling and assembly
1 1/4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 c. chilled heavy cream
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
*special equipment: Two 9 " diameter cake pans with 2" high sides; a 9" spring form pan.
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat the pans with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper rounds; coat paper with spray. Place cocoa powder and chocolate in a medium metal bowl. Pour hot coffee over. Let stand for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Stir in buttermilk and vanilla; set aside.
Whisk cake flour and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with chocolate mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Divide batter evenly between pans; smooth tops.
Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake, comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes(cakes will deflate slightly). Run a knife around pans to loosen cakes; invert cakes onto racks. Peel off paper and let cakes cool completely. Turn cakes over.
At this point you may need to use a serrated knife to cut off bumps or trim dome from top of each cake to create a flat, even surface.
For Caramel Ganache
Place chocolate and salt in a medium bowl. Stir sugar and 1/4 cup water in a water in a medium deep saucepan over medium/low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and cook without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, until sugar is deep amber, about 9 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually add cream(mixture will boil up). Stir over medieum heat until caramel bits dissolve. Pour over chocolate in bowl. Add vanilla; stir until mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.
Place 1 cake layer in a spring form pan. Pour 1 cup ganache over.. Chill until set, about 30 minutes. Cover remaining ganache and let stand at room temperature.
For filling and assembly
Place 2 tablespoons cold water in a small heatproof glass or metal bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over, let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.
Pour water to a depth of 1/2" into a small skillet set over medium heat. Transfer bowl with gelatin to skillet; stir until gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes. Remove bowl from skillet. Set aside.
Place cream and powder sugar in a large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean. Using and electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add gelatin, beat filling until firm peaks form.
Spoon filling over chilled ganache on cake layer in spring form pan; smooth top. Gently place second cake layer on top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill until cream layer is set, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Remove sides from spring form pan. Using a knife or offset spatula, scrape off any filling that may have leaked out from between the cakes, to form smooth sides. Transfer the cake to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.
Rewarm remaining ganache until just pourable. (Microwave in a microwave-safe-bowl, or set a metal bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water until just warm, not hot.)Pour ganache over cake, tilting cake as needed to allow ganache to drip down the sides and using an offset spatula to help spread the ganache, if needed, to cover sides of cake. Chill until ganache is set, about an hour.
Sprinkle with flaky Sea salt, just before serving.
~I did this cake in stages over 3 days, cover the cake with a dome or wrap in plastic wrap between stages and chill. If made ahead, let stand for 1 hour before serving.
Happy Birthday Eva! My grand daughter and I recently went to the Seattle Torchlight parade! Olivia had her first "Shirley Temple" and had a ball watching the parade with her Mom, Eva, Dad, Grandpa and Grandma Eva!