When deciding which cake to make for the chocolate layers, I was flipping through Baking Illustrated and it was no longer a decision once I saw Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake. I adapted the filling from Salted Caramel Icing I had seen on Sprinkle Bakes blog and I used a Chocolate Icing recipe from Martha Stewart. With a sprinkle of sea salt a top the chocolate icing, this cake has it all, salty and sweet (and rich- so don't cut a big piece). I'm thinking Dave will be trained and ready to make it for my birthday next year!
Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake:
1 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder (says non-Dutch processed)- I used Hersey's
2 tsp instant espresso or coffee powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, almost at room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Salted Caramel Layer:
1/8 c salted butter (1/4 stick)
1/8 c unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3-1/2 c salted caramel sauce
Dark Chocolate Frosting:
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Sour Cream Fudge Cake
1) Cut out parchment paper rounds and place them in the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Lightly grease and flour the sides. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350.
2) Mix cocoa and instant espresso powder in a small bowl, add boiling water, and whisk until smooth, set aside.
3) Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl, set aside for later.
4) Beat butter in mixer with paddle attachment, about 30 seconds. Add in sugar, beat until fluffy and light. This can take 3-5 minutes, be sure to scrape down sides.
5) Add eggs to butter/sugar mixture, one at a time, be sure to scrape down sides.
6) Once cocoa mixture is cooled, whisk in vanilla and sour cream until smooth.
7) Add 1/3 of dry ingredient mixture to mixer bowl, mix on low, immediately add 1/3 cocoa mixture. Mix another 1/3 of dry ingredients, followed by more cocoa mixture. Repeat one more time so that all of the flour ingredients and cocoa mixture have been added. Scrape down sides of bowl, mix about 15 seconds more to make sure all ingredients have been incorporated.
8) Add batter evenly to the two prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake 23-30 minutes (depending on the type of oven you have). After 12 minutes, rotate the cakes 180'. Cook another 11 minutes, and insert toothpick or skewer into the center. If it comes out clean, or with a few crumbs, take the cakes out, otherwise, check again every 5 minutes.
9) Let cakes cool ten minutes, run a knife around the edges, flip the pan and let the cakes sit on a wire rack. Remove the parchment paper and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
Salted Caramel Layer
1) While cakes are cooling, make the salted caramel sauce (if you don't have any sitting in your fridge)- you can use store bought caramel sauce in a pinch.
to make the salted caramel sauce, in small sauce pan, mix 1 TBSP corn syrup, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, swirling pan gently, let cook at simmer until it turns an amber color. Remove from heat, add 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, 2 TBSP unsalted butter, 1/2 cup heavy cream. It will foam a bit, so beware. Let sit and cool.
2) Beat butters and salt in mixer, fitted with paddle attachment. Add in confectioner's sugar, scrape down sides. Add in cooled caramel sauce until you reach desired consistency. You want this to be slightly thick, but spreadable, because it's going between two cake layers.
Dark Chocolate Frosting
1) In heat proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water, melt chocolate, stirring often. Once melted, set aside to cool.
2) Stir cocoa and boiling water in a small bowl until cocoa has dissolved, set aside.
3) In a large bowl, beat butter, confectioner's sugar, and salt until fluffy and light, using hand electric mixer.
4) Turn speed to low, add in melted chocolate, beating until combined, scrape down sides.
5) Beat in cocoa mixture, scrape down sides, beat again.
To assemble the cake: Place one cake round on a cake stand or plate. Put all the caramel filling on the cake and evenly spread it across the top. (Optional: drizzle caramel sauce on top of the caramel filling after its spread out). Place the second cake on top. Spread chocolate frosting on the sides of the cakes into a smooth even layer, using a spatula. Scoop frosting onto the top of the cake and spread into a smooth, even layer. If you need to set it, you can refrigerate it, mine seemed to harden pretty quickly and didn't need refrigeration. Sprinkle sea salt on top for garnish.