I have recently had a culinary triumph. You may recall that we have a rather elaborate way of celebrating birthdays in our office. We have quite a few foodies on our staff, and we always like to go all out for a celebration. No supermarket cakes for us! Our office has got quite a reputation throughout the organization for slap up feasts and parties.
We recently had a special birthday. Anything that ends with a 5 or a 0 is special. This was 30, so a BIG DEAL! I volunteered to make the cake.
The birthday girl is our regular in-house pastry chef. She is a lover of fancy deserts and cakes and routinely brings in delectable treats for the office to enjoy. I knew I had to make her something special.
I will admit to a certain amount of pride at stake. Several staff members asked if Annette could make her own cake, because they enjoy her creations so much. I knew I had to show them I could make a cake just as delicious!
One of Annette's favorite things to bake is a Salted Caramel tart. I will be frank. I do not like it. I am not a huge fan of caramel at the best of times. Give me chocolate all the way. I also do not get the salty / sweet combo. It is like my mouth does not understand it!
Despite my personal feelings I searched out a salty caramel birthday cake for Annette. I tried Pioneer Woman and Bakearella, to no avail. I scanned the web and found a few possibilities. Then it dawned on me. Martha. Of Course!
I used the Martha Stewart Sweet and Salty cake as my basic staring point and played around some.
I had never, ever made caramel before. Daunting! If it is not just right it will not work. More science than cooking. Also, we do not use corn syrup in Australia. After much internet-substitution searching Hubs found me a bottle in a specialist baking store. It. Was. Expensive. Please email me other recipes I can use this in.
I kept Martha right with me the whole time. She encouraged and cheered me from the iPad!
I had to slice two cakes to get the four layers I wanted. I cooked one at a time to ensure optimal cooking temperature for both cakes (..... and because I only have one springform pan in that size.... but the first bit sounded better). Please ignore the smear of cake batter on the oven door. Nobody is perfect.
Making the caramel ganache was amazing. I am not sure what I would have done without my trust Robot Mixer (KitchenAid)! I turned out so silky and shiny and gorgeous. I did then understand why liquid corn syrup is used rather than a course solid sweetening option.
I made a crumb layer! I had to research this. When I first saw it referred to on a blog I thought it was actually a layer of crumbs..... I went to Law School not Culinary School!
Anyway! An additional layer of buttercream never hurt anyone!
Then it was time for the ganache. The wonderful, smooth, creamy, salty, ganache. Remember when I said I didn't like caramel? Or sweet salty things?
This was like a party in my mouth. I wanted to have this on toast and on sandwiches and to squeeze it on my toothbrush to brush my teeth with it. It was AMAZING.
I topped the cake with caramel Hershey's Kisses.
I know I have pictures of it cut open to see the cross section but I cannot find them. It was four layers of wonderful cake and in between was frosting and caramel. It was so rich and decadent.
The cake was a huge hit with the birthday girl. Hubs feasted on left over ganache and did not sleep for several days.
Thanks for the help Martha!