Chocolate Cake with Caramel Frosting and Crispy Oreo shortbread

20150404-120830-43710291.jpgIt has been a hectic week for me. I am currently in high school and my national exam is coming in. So… I guess i’m going to graduate soon.
BUT THE TRUTH IS I’M NOT READY!!!
Yes, i’m not ready to go to college and have responsibilities (oh gosh i sound like a spoiled brat).

No, actually the main reason is this; i’ve always wanted to be taking culinary arts major. But the thing is, culinary arts major is not cheap… Yeah in other words, my parents could not afford to pay for me to pursue that major.
So it is either me pursuing another major or me not going to college and work right away.
But i’ve never been interested in any other major because i’ve thought about taking culinary arts since junior high school. And to be honest, i’m never good at any school related subjects.

I’ve always wanted to go to Le Cordon Bleu to pursue my dream. But well.. As i said before, i can’t afford it. So yeah.. That’s that.
So i guess my plan is; graduate-work and save most of salary to Le Cordon Bleu-aaaand achieve my dreams.

20150404-183852-67132229.jpgWhat are my dreams? Whoaa this will be a looooong one. First thing first to know is that i am a dreamer. Like sometimes it does get a bit delusional (but not impossible)… But you know what Walt Disney said;
image
I guess you could think of me like the kind of person who have their “10 years plan” or something. Well.. i never really think my goals should be achieved in a certain amount of time but something like that.
First of my goal is, taking culinary educations at Le Cordon Bleu. Then graduate. Then find a working experience. Then.. my ultimate goal is being able to open my own patisserie where it is well known enough that it is a must have visited place if someone is visiting the country in which i will open my stores (yes, plural) at. Where people would actually travel across town– country even, to eat at my patisserie. I could picture it.. where my stores would be themed more as ‘homey’ with a hint of classy rather than a high end gourmet. Well.. it wouldn’t hurt if my stores are big enough and provitable enough, i shall open a restaurant that could be getting a Michelin Star or rated very good by the food critics.

20150417-110350-39830576.jpg Anyway, wish me luck though.

Enough about me and on to this AMAZING cake. Can you see that caramel dripping? Yep.. That’s the real deal.
But well, to be honest i did made my caramel a bit too thin that it drips all the way to the bottom.. But nevertheless it still is an amazing cake.

I mean talk about chocolate, salted caramel and Oreo right?
Oh yeah, about the oreo shortbread tops, you can just break some oreos and scatter them on top but what so fun about it? Let’s make them into a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth oreo toppings.
Okay, in other words let’s make it fatter..

Okay, more confession here first.. The Oreo shortbread was the reason why i made this cake. Why? It was a failing experiment.
I was going to make a tartlets that got a base of Oreo shortcrust pastry by substituting some of the flour in the shortcrust pastry with crushed Oreos.. But things got a little out of my original plan. I was trying too hard to achieve that black Oreo colour on my shortcrust that I end up putting too much crushed Oreos.. Then i add some more butter fearing the Oreo will make my base too hard and not the shortcrust i wanted. And oh foolish me, i tried to add the butter by eye and i end up putting way too much butter. But i bake them anyway, in tartlet tins.. They came out pretty great.. Until i tried to take them out of the molds. Things get a little bit ugly….. Almost all of the crust breaks.
I tried to “glue” them back together by coating the base with chocolate but it doesn’t works. Most of them still breaks.

Frustrated, i end up eating the broken pieces.
I mean why not? They are really good anyway.

But still there are quite a lot and i decided to store them where maybe I’ll eat it later.

But then….. I got this GREAT idea of this grand cake.
Yes, i am a bit too proud of this cake.

And so.. That’s the story of how this cake was made.

Since i was going to make shortcrust pastry but failed, i decided to call the Oreo thingy a shortbread. So yeah, this isn’t a shortbread recipe but good enough.

Caramel sauce:
• 1 cup sugar
• ½ cup water
• 1 tbsp corn syrup
• ½ cup heavy cream
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 tsp sea salt
How to make caramel sauce:
1) Incorporate the sugar, corn syrup and the water in a pan then put it on a medium-high heat. Brush the sides with water occasionally to prevent crystallizing.
2) Boil the sugar until it reaches 340ºf or 170ºc, or until the sugar is in your desired colour of brown. Remember to watch this like a hawk because once it changes, it will change really quick.
3) Pour in the cream and the salt be careful not to get burn by the steam.
Set aside half of the caramel sauce into another pan for adding flavour to the buttercream.
4) Add the butter to the remaining sauce then stir well.
5) Store the caramel sauce in the fridge until ready to use.

Oreo shortbread
• 1 cup flour (preferably cake flour but all purpose is fine too)
• 3 tbsp sugar
• ½ cup crushed Oreos
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/2 cup/1 stick unsalted butter (cut into small squares)
• ½ cup dark chocolate
How to make shortbread:
1) Mix the flour, sugar, salt and crushed Oreo in a bowl then mix well.
2) Incorporate the cold butter into the flour mixture then use your finger tip to rub the butter and flour until incorporated. Spread the dough in a pan lined with parchment paper then Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
3) Bake them for 20-25 minutes at 350ºf or 180ºc. Once baked, cooled to touch.
4) Melt the dark chocolate then spread them on top of the Oreo shortbread then wait until they are are hardened, snap them into pieces.

Chocolate cake:
• 4 cups flour (preferably cake flour but all purpose will do)
• 3 cups sugar
• 1 cup coco powder
• 3 tsp baking soda
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1 tbsp coffee powder
• 2 tsp salt
• 2 cups milk
• 1 tbsp vinegar
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs
• 1 tbsp vanilla extract
• 2 cups boiling water
How to make the cake:
1) Preheat the oven to 350ºf or 180ºc. Spray with non-stick spray and line 4 round baking pans with parchment paper.
If you don’t have 4 baking pans just use 2 then cut each into 2 layers
2) Combine the flour, sugar, coco powder, baking soda, baking powder, coffee powder and salt in a bowl then whisk them together until incorporated.
3) In another bowl, mix together the milk, vinegar, eggs and vanilla extract.
4) Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix really well then add in the boiling water. The batter should be liquid.
5) Distribute the batter into the 4 (or 2) pans then bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
6) Let cool then once cooled, even out the top, or if you’re just using 2 pans, cut the cakes into 2 evenly cake layers.

Caramel meringue buttercream:
Adapted from Edd Kimber’s meringue buttercream
• 6 large egg whites
• 450g brown sugar
• 675g butter (diced and at room temperature )
• Thick caramel (that was set aside earlier)
How to make the buttercream
1) Incorporate the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl then set the bowl on a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bottom touches the water) then constantly whisk them together until the egg whites started to foam and when you rub the mixture between your finger, it won’t feel gritty.
2) Once it is warm, take them off the pan then whisk it with an electric or stand mixer until stiff peaks form and the egg whites are cooled.
3) Add the diced butter to the egg whites one by one. Don’t worry if the mixture looks too liquidy, just keep mixing until all the butter has gone. If it still looks too liquid, put it in the refrigerator for a while.

Assembling the cake
1) Take a little bit of the buttercream and smear it on the cake plate that you choose to present your cake on then put the first layer of chocolate cake, cover the top layer with about ½ cup of buttercream, continuing with the second layer of cake, them buttercream then cake, and so on until it ended on the fourth cake.
2) Lightly cover the entire cake with buttercream to crumb coat the cake and put in the fridge until the buttercream sets.
This helps to lock down all the crumbs that may come out when we frost the cake
3) Cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream, drizzle with the caramel sauce then put the Oreo shortbread pieces on top.

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