Lashings of salted caramel, cream and milk chocolate – now this is our kind of cake
For the salted caramel ice cream:
• 185ml thickened cream
• 225g caster sugar
• 4 eggs
• 2 gold-strength gelatine leaves, soaked and drained
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 165g unsalted butter
For the salted caramel & milk chocolate cake:
• 160g caster sugar
• 120ml thickened cream
• 120g cold unsalted butter, diced
• 1 tablespoon liquid glucose
• 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 210g plain flour, (cake or soft flour if you can find it)
• 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• 2 eggs
• 120ml full-cream milk
• 120g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
• dutch cocoa powder, for dusting
1 To make the salted caramel cream, place the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
2 Place a larger saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute until hot. Gradually add the sugar to the pan in three stages.
3 Stir with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula to dissolve the sugar, and cook each addition until it is a deep amber colour before you add the next batch.
4 Once all the sugar is in and you have a golden caramel, add half the hot cream. BE CAREFUL! This mixture will expand furiously and the steam is extremely hot. Whisk the mixture and gradually add the remaining cream until everything is combined.
5 Once the mixture has settled, whisk the eggs in a bowl by hand. Pour over one-third of the cream mixture and continue to mix well.
6 Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and again stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 82°C. Use a sugar or digital thermometer for accuracy. Remove the pan from the heat.
7 Whisk the gelatine into the pan, along with the salt and butter, until you have a smooth cream. Pour the cream into a container and cool for a minimum of 4 hours before using.
8 For the cake, preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease an 18 cm non-stick cake tin with a removable base.
9 Place a large saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute until hot. Gradually add the sugar to the pan in three stages.
10 Stir with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula to dissolve the sugar and cook each addition until it is a deep amber colour before you add the next batch.
11 Once all the sugar is in and you have a golden caramel, add the cream, butter, glucose, vanilla seeds and salt. Stir well until you have a thick, golden, even-coloured caramel.
12 Turn off the heat and leave to cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
13 Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer then mix in the cooled caramel.
14 Attach the paddle and mix on medium speed to remove any lumps and gradually add the eggs, one at a time, until both are incorporated.
15 Mix well for 1 minute. Add the milk and chocolate and mix well to incorporate.
16 Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30–40 minutes, or until the cake is cooked. To test to see if the cake is cooked, insert a skewer into the centre and pull it out. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked through.
17 Allow the cake to cool in the tin then turn it out.
18 To assemble, transfer the cooled caramel cream to a mixing bowl and smooth out using a spatula.
19 Using a serrated knife, trim off any uneven bits on the surface of the cooled cake.
20 Cut the cake in half, horizontally, and spread about 300 g of the smooth salted caramel cream onto the bottom half leaving a 5 mm gap from the edge of the cake.
21 Place the top sponge, trimmed side down, on the caramel and press down gently. Dust with cocoa powder.
Tip: This cake freezes well. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Recipe courtesy of Darren Purchese, extracted from Lamingtons & Lemon Tart. Photography by Patricia Niven © Hardie Grant