I’ve been a bad girl. It’s exactly three months and four days since I last devoted an ounce of love or attention to my beautiful little blog.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a year and the past few months have been no different — but the wonderful worth-it-all high point has been the finding and buying of my first ever home: a beautiful, ivy-covered cottage built in 1850, and bursting at the seams with good vibes and exciting possibilities.
When I get my hands on the keys (and the amazing double oven that the lovely vendors are so kindly leaving behind), it will be all systems go with baking, cooking, kneading, pickling, roasting and creating all manner of lovingly made treats for family and friends to enjoy when they come a-knocking. It also means I’ll be devoting far more time to sharing it all with you through White Rabbits, so stay tuned.
I thought it only right to kick things off with the recipe I have been promising my friends for weeks now: salted caramel cake with a rich chocolate sponge. This cake was not only enjoyed by one of the most special people in my life for his 30th birthday this summer, it also bagged me the coveted ‘Star Baker’ award at this year’s Macmillan coffee morning.
The salted caramel is incredibly easy to whip up yourself, and the amazing colour, texture and taste is guaranteed to leave you feeling more than a little pleased with yourself.
To recreate the magic you’ll need:
For the sponge
- 8oz self-raising flour
- 8oz caster sugar
- 8oz stork
- 4 free-range eggs
- ½ tsp organic vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp coco powder
- ¾ cup Guinness or coke
For the salted caramel
For the buttercream
- 8oz icing sugar
- 4oz butter
Making the magic happen
- Preheat your oven to 180c and grease and line two wobbly-bottomed round cake tins
- Beat together the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then add one add one egg at a time, along with the vanilla extract. As always, keep whisking until your arms feel sure to drop off: the success of your cake is largely dependant on how much air you work into the mixture at this stage
- When you can whisk no more, sieve in your flour and coco powder and very gently fold. When combined, stir in a glug of the Guinness or coke, being careful not to make it too liquid
- Split your mixture between the two cake tins (using the scales to weigh out the mixture evenly), then bake for around 30 minutes. Test with a skewer — if it comes out clean, turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool
- Using a separate bowl beat your butter until soft, then sieve in your icing sugar — along with a few drops of vanilla extract and a few drops of water. Whisk until luscious and creamy
- To make the salted caramel, heat your caster sugar and four tablespoons of water in a saucepan over a gentle heat. When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes (without stirring), or until golden and slightly thickened. At this point you need to remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream. (WARNING: the caramel will spit and splutter when you add the cream, so stand back.) Stir in the salt and vanilla extract then leave to cool before adding to your buttercream, leaving a spoonful back for decoration
- Spread half of the salted caramel buttercream between the two layers of sponge, then top the cake with the other half. Put the pan back on the heat until the last of your caramel loses its stiffness, then drizzle over the top of the cake using a spoon. And if you’re glitter mad like me, finish off with a sprinkling of edible gold glitter
Enjoy with a hot cuppa and five minutes of peace and quiet*.
Love from Emma xx
*Unlikely for my lovely friend Laura who has been requesting this recipe for weeks — she currently has her hands full with a toddler, a newborn, two dogs, a cat, and a top to bottom house refurb. But cakes like this were made for wonderwomen like her.