Pie Day 12 – Birthday Cake! Salted Caramel Chocolate Ding Dong Cake

Happy birthday to me! This Friday was my birthday, and since I had already spent the week re-trying the Crack pie and because I really wanted birthday cake, this Friday’s “pie” was actually a ridiculously delicious salted caramel chocolate and cream cake adorably named “Salted Caramel Ding Dong Cake” or, as I like to call it “Salted Caramel if-you-don’t-like-it-you’re- a-ding-dong Cake.” Haha, I’m a dork.

It’s actually called that because it has some passing resemblance to a hostess ding dong cake.

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I was super worried about making this cake because my last two cake attempts were super dry and I didn’t like the frosting. But I guess some of this pie baking has rubbed off on my general baking skills because this cake was amazing. No joke, while we were eating it my little sister said with complete seriousness, “I hope you are going to blog about this cake because people need to know about it.”

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And she was right.  You need to know about this cake. It would be evil not to share.

So here you go!

First things first, make this cake early in the day or the day before. It’s supposed to sit in the fridge for 6 hours (or 3 if you are like me and didn’t leave enough time for 6 hours in the fridge- it was fine after 3)

I used this cake recipe called “the best chocolate cake” by My Baking Addiction because it had the most wet ingredients of all the recipes for chocolate cake that I found. It was very good. Although I will take it out 3-5 minutes earlier if I make it again. It said to bake for 30-35 minutes and I pulled them out at 30 minutes and they were totally done. Super clean knife.

I used this recipe for the chocolate/caramel ganache and the stiff whipped cream filling from the blog Eats Well With Others.

First things first, make the cakes. They were so easy to make it was kind of ridiculous.

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional (I didn’t use this) 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine your dry ingredients first.

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2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons King Arthur Flour Black Cocoa, optional (I didn’t use this) 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Mix them in a stand mixer or bowl with a whisk.

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They will come out looking, basically, like a box cake mix.

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Then add all your wet ingredients.

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup freshly brewed (hot) strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix until fully incorporated and pour evenly into two oiled and floured pans (you don’t want your cake to rip when you take them out of the pans, so I highly suggest greasing and flouring)

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Bake at 350 F oven for 25 to 35 minutes for round pans, 30 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick or butter knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

If you don’t cool them completely you will melt your filling and then cry.

The Chocolate Caramel Ganache (Also know as “the stuff dreams are made of”)

  • 9 oz (a little more than a cup) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I just used chocolate chips)
  • 1 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Put chocolate and salt in a heat proof bowl.

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In a heavy sauce pan over medium low heat mix the 1/3 c of water and 1 cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved.

Raise heat  to medium high and continue to heat until the sugar mix is a deep amber. The liquid will bubble quite a bit and sugar will harden on the edges of the pan.

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Remove from heat and pour in the 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. The caramel in the pot will turn into a HARD clump when the cool cream is poured on it.

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That’s ok.

Put the pan back on the heat and continue to stir the caramel and cream, slowly melting the caramel into the cream.

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Stir until all the caramel is melted into the cream. This mixture will bubble a lot. So be prepared by using a large pan or being ready to pull it off the burner before it bubbles over.

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Once the mixture is a smooth even consistency with no more caramel chunks remove from heat and pour over your chocolate and salt.

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Mix the caramel and chocolate until all the chocolate is melted, then add the teaspoon of vanilla and mix that in.

You now have your chocolate caramel ganache!

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Let the ganache cool slightly for 10 minutes or so.

The recipe I used said at this point you should put one of your cold cake layers in a springform pan and pour 1 cup of the ganache over it to cool. I didn’t have a springform pan so I just poured the ganache over and let it drip a little down the edges. The center layer of ganache wasn’t as thick as it could have been, but it was still very good. either way is fine.

Let this cool for about 30 minutes while you make the whipped cream filling.

Cream Filling:

  • 1 1/4 tsp unflavored (kosher/vegan) gelatin
  • 2 T cold water
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • flaky sea salt

Put 2 T cold water in a small microwave safe bowl and add the gelatin. Let stand until soft and incorporated, about 10 minutes.

Place the 1 1/2 c heavy cream, 1/2 c powdered sugar, and vanilla into a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form.

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Microwave the gelatin mix for about a minute until a runny liquid. Mix it into the whipped cream. Mine was very hot coming out of the microwave so I poured it into a cold cup before pouring it into the whipped cream. It was still hot but it incorporated well.

Smooth a layer of whipped cream over the bottom layer of the cake (still in the springform if you are using one)

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Gently place the second layer of cake on top of the whipped filling.

Pour the ganache over the top of the cake letting it drip down the sides. I started in the center and whirled my way out to the edge.

WARNING! I had WAY more ganache than necessary and mine ended up pouring everywhere and spilling over the edges of the plate and I didn’t even use it all! Go slow and pour on as much as you want.

See how crazy mine looked?

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Also, mine was kind of bumpy looking because I didn’t use a springform. If I was to do it again without a springform I would cut and smooth the edges a little better and then put less ganache on.

But whatever, it was super delicious and I have no complaints!

Let sit in the refrigerator for 6 hours (I only left it for 3 and it was fine) to give the cream center time to stiffen up so it doesn’t just smuch out when you cut it.

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Cut, serve, drool, enjoy, then eat another slice. It’s so good everyone will love it, and they will love you for giving it to them.

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Yum.

 

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