Rich chocolate and salted caramel cake

Salted caramel

I detest dry chocolate cake. The sugary sponge desserts found in some supermarkets or school canteens would put anyone off it for life. Yet chocolate mousse and elegant souffles are difficult to make, and often require lots of equipment. I found this recipe to be a perfect middle ground: it incorporates some of the stickiness of a Swedish kladdkaka, yet with all the richness of French chocolate creations. For all this, it’s still very easy to make.

Crushed chocolate

The ingredient list is rather simple, although the golden rule with chocolate-based desserts mustn’t be forgotten: the better the chocolate in the base, the richer the cake. Having the luxury of living in Brussels, I brought several slabs of almost smoky dark, as well as milk chocolate with me home to Sweden this winter (or, they were a gift for my stepmother, but she didn’t mind them being used this way… at least not once she got to try the result). I used light and nutty milk chocolate for the cake itself, and a dark, almost bitter chocolate for the topping.

Chocolate cake ingredients

For the cake, you’ll need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 2,5 dl Sugar
  • 60 g flour
  • 250 g milk or dark chocolate, depending on taste

For the dark chocolate cover:

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 50 g honey
  • 100 g dark chocolate

And for the salted caramel topping:

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 1 dl Muscovado/brown sugar
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 50 g unsalted butter

Melting butter and chocolateStarting with the cake ingredients, melt the butter, and mix it with the chocolate until the chocolate has melted entirely and you have a smooth mix. Put the oven to 200 degrees, and use some of the butter to grease the spring form tin.

Chocolate and whisked eggsIn a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until fluffy (you can use an electric whisk if needed), and then fold it into the chocolate-butter mixture.

Sifted flourFinish making the base for the chocolate cake by sifting the flour into the chocolate mixture, folding it carefully so not to lose the fluffiness.

Cake in tin

Pour the mixture into the spring form, and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes, but be careful not to overbake it. The cake should have just started to settle when you take it out, and sway lightly if you move the tin around. Leave it to cool uncovered. Once it has cooled to room temperature, put it into the freezer for a couple of hours, but remember to remove it from the freezer at least two hours before you plan on serving it.

Making caramel

When the cake is in the freezer, you can start making the chocolate topping, which is pretty easy: melt the butter and pour it into the dark chocolate, and mix around until you have a smooth cream. Add the honey into the mix, and put to the side to cool.

Then start making the salted caramel.

Melt the muscovado sugar in a dash of water on the stove. Be careful: just swirl it with large sweeps of the pan, and don’t use any tools in the pan with the sugar. Add the butter, and let it melt, again just swirling the pan. Once the butter has melted, add the cream, and let it bubble away for 5 minutes until it has thickened slightly. It will thicken more once it cools down, so you don’t want to thin it down too much. Finish by adding half a teaspoon of sea salt into it. Put to the side to cool.

Salted caramel sauce

Just before serving, spread the dark chocolate sauce evenly across the cake. Then add the caramel in long streaks across the cake, spreading it as elegantly as you can (as you can see below, artistry is not my strong side). Top off with a small dusting of sea salt flakes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. It will be dark, creamy and deliciously over-the-top, with a perfectly balanced saltiness in the topping.

Salted caramel cake