A buttery malt sponge sandwiched together with layers of caramel and toffee buttercream with just a touch of sea salt. Can I get an ‘Amen?’ THIS cake is what I think of New Year’s resolutions that involve exercising and dieting. Caramel on top of caramel, on top of more caramel – this, can never be a bad thing.

I’ve written about my affinity for salted caramel before (although not to be confused with my infatuated love affair with chocolate) and while the world may move on from the salted caramel obsession. I refuse. And there is a very good reason why.

I’m going to quote myself (can one even do that?! oh well here goes…) from a post I did 2 years ago but only because at the time, in my caramel-induced coma,  I (unknowingly) solved one of the world’s greatest problems: Salted Caramel Cake Guilt

“Add a pinch of salt to caramel and you have an earth-shattering combination that is basically the crack cocaine of the culinary world. The reason for this? Consuming fat, sugar and salt all together is a serious sensory overdrive for our brains – it releases dopamine and adrenaline and totally gets our neurons fired up. Exactly the way drugs do. But before you feel guilty about shovelling another spoonful of caramel straight out the jar, don’t, because genetically we’re supposed to be attracted to foods with this tantalising trifector. It’s a matter of survival, people! We need salt because we can’t produce our own. We need fat for energy and our sugar cravings are linked to being able to tell which foods are edible (cave-man days).” So, the lesson here is, make this caramel cake and while you drift into a blissful toffee coma, do not feel one pang of guilt, because… you can’t fight genetics.

Salted Caramel Coma Cake

Serves 6-8

260g butter, softened

100g golden syrup

200g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs

250g cake flour

2 tsp (10ml) baking powder

60g malted milk powder (aka Horlicks)

40ml milk

 

Toffee buttercream

120g white sugar

1/2 cup (125ml) water

3/4 cup (180ml) cream

250g butter, softened

 

200g (1/2 tin) tinned caramel or dulce de leche spread

Sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

Caramel popcorn, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius. Line the bottoms of 2 x 15cm springform cake tins and set aside. Cream together the butter, syrup and brown sugar until very light and creamy (about 8-10 minutes). Beat in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Sift in the cake flour, baking powder and milk powder and fold together, adding the milk to form a thick batter. Divide the batter between the two cake tins and spread evenly. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake has pulled away from the sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely, upside down, on a cooling rack. To make the buttercream, place the sugar and water in a pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer, without stirring, until the mixture begins caramelising. Once the syrup reaches a toffee-colour, pour in the cream and swirl to combine. Allow to cool completely. Cream the butter until very white and fluffy (about 8-10 minutes) then add the toffee sauce and whip to combine. To assemble, slice each cake in half to create 4 layers. Spread the first layer with tinned caramel then a layer of buttercream and top with the next cake layer. Continue until 4 layers are formed. Frost the entire cake using the buttercream (I used some tinned caramel along the bottom of the cake to achieve an ombre affect). Place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag (to create a swirled effect, simply smear stripes of caramel in the piping bag before adding the buttercream) then pipe blobs onto the top of the cake. Place in the refrigerator to set. To serve, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and top with caramel popcorn (if desired).

 

TIP To make a 25cm cake with 4 layers, double the recipe above.