Salted Caramel and Brownie Layer Cake

Layers of rich chocolate brownie, and light caramel sponge, filled with a salted caramel buttercream, and covered in a dark ganache. Finished off with a stack of little fudgy brownie squares, and a generous pour of salted caramel sauce. 

 Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 5 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

Growing up in a little village on the Surrey/Hampshire border, I’m a Southern girl at heart. Born and bred in the home counties, home is the rolling of the Surrey hills, the cliffs and downs of the South coast, and the cobbled streets of Guildford, Winchester and Farnham. Andy, on the other hand, brought up in Hull, is a Yorkshire lad through and through. For him its the sight of the Humber Bridge that signifies home, York is the city that pulls on his heart strings, and an unexplained rivalry with Lancashire is in his blood.

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 2 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 4 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

You wouldn’t think such a little country could be so divided, and yet it is. Important debates reign. The proper pronunciation of  ‘bath’ and ‘grass’ for example (its obviously bar-th, incase you were wondering!), and what to call various bakery products. In the early days of our relationship Andy confused me with the notion of bread cakes. Far less exciting than they sound, they are just your humble bread roll. Then he had me completely stumped with pikelets, something we don’t have in the South. Although, as it happens, it turns out we do, its just we call them crumpets (clearly their proper name!). The fish and chip shop order is another baffling area when I’m up North. A mysterious item called a pattie is a necessary order. This, it turns out, is a disc of deep fried mash potato. Deep fried potato product to go alongside your deep fried potato product, the carb lover’s dream!

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 7 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

On a more practical level, now we’re back in the UK, this means families at opposite ends of the country, and many a trip up and down the M1. Last week Andy disappeared back up to the motherland, leaving me all alone down South. Unsupervised I have a tendency to head into the kitchen, and bake up ridiculous things we really don’t need. Recipes like this layer cake. I didn’t bake it for any particular celebration, it wasn’t anybodies birthday, there weren’t anniversaries to celebrate, no-one was getting married. No, I just fancied making it and, as no-one was there to be the voice of reason, I did.

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake 6 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

Two layers of thick, decadent brownie are stacked up with a light, caramel sponge. They’re filled with a salted caramel buttercream, and then covered with my favourite dark chocolate ganache.

The brownie is made with cocoa powder, sugar and lots of butter, and is fudgy and rich. Its a little more cakey than my regular brownies as a little more structure was needed to support the layers of the cake. It tastes divine with the salted caramel buttercream. Dark chocolate and salted caramel, a perfect combination.

I think though, the thing I love most about this cake, are the salted caramel drizzled brownies stacked up on top. A slice of cake AND a brownie all in one. No need to choose. The dream!

Brownie and Salted Caramel Layer Cake :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

notes//

- the caramel sauce and the ganache take a little time to cool and set up. Bear this in mind when making your cake. You may wish to make the caramel sauce and ganache early in the process so they have plenty of time to cool.  

- the buttercream is made with the salted caramel sauce. Take one and a half tablespoons of the sauce to mix into the buttercream, and reserve the rest for the top of the cake. 

 

Salted Caramel and Brownie Layer Cake

 Ingredients 

for the brownies 

150g cocoa powder

370g unsalted butter

500g caster sugar

6 medium eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

150g self raising flour

 

for the caramel cake 

170g unsalted butter

85g dark brown sugar

85g caster sugar

3 tablespoons golden syrup

3 medium eggs

170g self raising flour

2 tablespoons milk

 

for the salted caramel sauce 

125g caster sugar

100ml water

2 tablespoons golden syrup

25g unsalted butter

150ml double cream

 

for the buttercream

250g butter

330g icing sugar

1 tablespoon milk

1 1/2 tablespoons caramel sauce

 

for the ganache 

165ml double cream

200g dark chocolate

dark chocolate chips, to decorate

 

Method

Begin by making the brownie layers.

Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan / 350F.

Grease and line 2 20cm round tins, and one 2lb loaf tin.

Put the cocoa powder, butter and caster sugar in a large pan. Heat together over a low heat, stirring regularly, until the butter and sugar are all melted together. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. Finally, fold through the flour until all the ingredients are just combined.

Put about 260g of batter into each of the round tins. Pour the remaining batter into the loaf tin.

Put into your pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until firm on the top, and starting to pull away from the edge of the tin.

Cool for about 15 minutes in the tins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, cut the brownie cooked into the loaf tin into 10 small squares, these will be used to top your cake.

Next, make the caramel cake.

Wash, dry and re line your 20cm round tins.

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Stir through the golden syrup.

Add one of the eggs, along with a tablespoon of flour and mix.

Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Fold in the remainder of the flour, followed by the milk.

Divide the batter between the 2 tins.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack.

To make your caramel, heat the sugar, water and golden syrup in a heavy based pan. Bring it to the boil and let everything bubble away until all of the sugar has melted, much of the water has evaporated, and its just turning a deep, rich amber colour. Its fine to stir the mixture occasionally if you think it might be sticking to the pan. Remove from the heat, and melt in the butter. Whisk in the double cream. If the sugar has solidified, pop the pan back on the heat to melt again. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

To make your buttercream, cream together the butter and sugar. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Sift in the icing sugar and beat to combine. Fold in the milk. Stir through one and half tablespoons of your cooled caramel sauce. Set aside.

To make the ganache, break the chocolate into very fine pieces in a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and pour over the dark chocolate. Stir together until all the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool for about 2 hours until it has reached a spreadable constancy.

Construct the cake. Begin by placing a layer of brownie cake onto your cake stand or plate. Cover with buttercream, then top with a layer of caramel cake. Repeat.

Cover the entire cake in a crumb coat of buttercream. Put in the fridge to chill for about half an hour.

Cover with ganache.

Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the cooled caramel sauce onto the top of the cake. Reserve a small amount to drizzle over the brownies.

Pile the brownies on top of the caramel, then drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce.

Shortbread Whisky Dodgers

shortbread whisky dodgers 2 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

Buttery, light shortbread biscuits, sandwiched together with lashings of smooth and creamy white chocolate and whisky ganache. A perfect end to a Burns Night supper! 

A very Happy Burns Night to all my Scottish readers!

Although, as far as I know, I don’t have a drop of Scottish blood in me, Burns Night is something I really enjoy marking and celebrating.

Its a night that celebrates good literature, good food, good company and good drink. Its night full of traditions; a feast of haggis, neeps and tatties washed down with whisky; the ceremonial piping of the haggis; an honoured guest entertaining the audience with the address; a rousing chorus of Auld Lang Syne to round off the night. There are few events that call for such ceremony, and such theatricality.

shortbread whisky dodgers 6 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

Last year we celebrated in Hong Kong, with a huge meal, very good friends squeezed around our tiny table, and a ludicrously over priced imported haggis. A big, rowdy night, with a few brave souls volunteering to grapple with the old Scots and perform the traditional poems. Youtube provided the bagpipes, and our friend Becca superbly addressed the haggis, bringing her knife down to stab it at the required moment, spilling out the “warm-reeking, rich’ spiced meat.

This year we’re having a little Burns supper as a family. There’s a lovely piece of beef waiting for the oven to go alongside the haggis, potatoes and swede ready to be mashed, and rather more whisky than is probably advisable for a Sunday evening.

shortbread whisky dodgers 5 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

These little biscuits are the perfect way to end your Burns Night.

Light, buttery, ever so slightly crumbly shortbread biscuits, sandwiched together with a generous layer of white chocolate and whisky ganache. A grown up version of one of my childhood favourites, the jammy dodger.

They absolutely melt in your mouth, and would be perfect alongside a coffee at the end of the night, or, as Andy heroically taste tested, with a wee dram of whisky. I can imagine them making an equally fabulous dessert, served with a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream, and a handful of fresh raspberries. A splash of hot whisky sauce could work beautifully too.

shortbread whisky dodgers 7 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

The white chocolate pairs so well with the whisky. The whisky taste is there, but its not over powering, and not at all harsh. With the white chocolate the smooth, mellow tones of the whisky are really able to shine through.  A really delicious combination, and absolutely irresistible with the shortbread.

shortbread whisky dodgers 4 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

shortbread whisky dodgers 3 :: www.scarletscorchdroppers.com

ps – malt whisky lovers, don’t worry.  I would have been lynched had good whisky been ‘wasted’ in baking – no malts were harmed in the making of these biscuits!

 

notes// 

- If your cut out biscuits have spread in the oven, you can save them by recutting the shapes immediately when you bring them out of the oven. They will cool very quickly and become too brittle to cut so it is important to work as quickly as possible. 

- Do try and keep to the hour chill time. Any less and the dough will be too soft to work with, any longer and the butter with chill to the point where the dough is too hard to roll. 

 

Shortbread Whisky Dodgers

(recipe from Paul Hollywood’s Pies & Puds)

Ingredients 

(makes 12)

for the biscuits 

225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

100g caster sugar, plus an additional tablespoon for sprinkling

225g plain flour

100g semolina

 

for the whisky ganache 

200g white chocolate

100ml double cream

1 1/2 tablespoons whisky

 

Method 

Begin by making your ganache.

Break your white chocolate into small chunks and place in a heatproof bowl. Add the cream.

Place over a small pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally.

When all the white chocolate has melted, stir through the whisky.

Set aside and leave to cool and set for two to three hours. I made mine the night before and allowed it to set up over night (outside the fridge).

Next make your biscuit dough.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the semolina and plain flour. Begin to mix in with a wooden spoon, then use your hands to bring everything together in a dough.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 170C/ 150C fan / 340F.

Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 3mm.

Using a 7.5cm round cutter, cut 24 rounds from the dough, placing the cut discs onto your prepared baking sheets.  Press the off cuts together and re-roll as necessary.

Using small cutters, cut shapes from the centre of 12 of the biscuits.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are just beginning to turn golden. Keep a close eye on them, they will burn quickly.

Sprinkle caster sugar immediately over the cut out biscuits while they are still warm.

Leave to cool completely on the trays.

Spread ganache over the uncut biscuits. Lightly press down the cut biscuits on top.

They are best eaten as soon as possible, as they filling will start to make them soft quite quickly.