Do you ever have an idea for a dessert just pop into your head out of nowhere? That's what happened with this dessert. Well, I can't say it popped out of nowhere, but it was close. I heard about the Dixie Crystals Chocolate Dessert Contest, a recipe contest which is part of the Food and Wine Conference, and when I sat down to think about desserts my first thought was brownies. As I started thinking of brownie flavor combinations all of a sudden an idea popped into my head....Chocolate Ombre Cake.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought it should have 3 delicious layers. There would be a white chocolate layer, a milk chocolate layer, and a dark chocolate layer. I thought it would look really pretty to go from white, to light brown, to dark brown in color. I was also thinking of a buttercream in between the layers and chocolate ganache on top.
However, salted caramel kept coming to mind. I wasn't sure what I could do with salted caramel but having it paired with three types of chocolate sounded amazing. I finally realized that the layers could be separated by salted caramel buttercream and I'd cover the cake with chocolate buttercream.
I know what you are thinking; three different types of cake and two types of frosting? Who has time for that? You do. The great thing about this cake is that all three layers are made from the same base. I made one large batch of cake batter, divided it into three bowls, then added the chocolate that flavored the layers. The same thing was true with the frosting. I made a basic buttercream, divided it into two bowls, added chocolate to one batch and salted caramel to the other.
After baking the three layers of cake I stacked them to see how it looked and was really surprised by how huge the cake was! It was a tall cake, but with three generous layers of chocolate cake, it should be. The salted caramel buttercream that went in between the chocolate layers was the perfect compliment to the chocolate. Have you tried salted caramel and chocolate? It's the perfect pair.
After layering the cake I frosted it with the chocolate buttercream. I didn't want to do anything too fancy in the way of decorating because it was such a decadent cake and the inside is the show stopper. I simply put 16 swirls of the salted caramel buttercream on top and placed a raspberry on top of each one. Simple, elegant, and totally delicious.
I served the cake to my family over Easter. Everyone gobbled it up! This is a great cake for chocolate lovers and those that love salted caramel. It may be the ultimate chocolate dessert.
Do you want to enter the Dixie Crystals Chocolate Dessert Contest? Entries are due April 17, 2015 and there are some great prizes like a ticket to the Food & Wine Conference in Orlando, Florida July 17-19! I'm going and would love to see you there too!
For the Cakes:
- 3 ½ c. flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ c. (3 sticks) butter, softened
- 2 ¼ c.Dixie Crystal granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ c. milk + 3 T. milk
- 4 oz. good quality white chocolate
- 4 oz. good quality milk chocolate
- 4 oz. good quality dark chocolate
- 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
For the Frosting Base:
- 1 ½ c. (3 sticks) butter, softened
- 4-5 c. Dixie Crystals powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 3-4 Tablespoons milk
- ¼ c. cocoa powder
For the Salted Caramel:
- ½ c. Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
- ¼ c. water
- 2 Tablespoons corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9" cake pans by placing a parchment paper round in the bottom of the pan and spraying the sides with baking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix and set aside.
- In a large bowl cream together the butter and Dixie Crystals sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in 1 ½ cups of milk and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and stir until you have a thick batter.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between three mixing bowls.
- Place each of the chocolate types in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until completely melted.
- Pour the white chocolate into one of the batters and mix well. The dough will thicken up a bit.
- Pour the milk chocolate into a second bowl of batter and mix well.
- Pour the dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and remaining milk in the third batter bowl and mix well until combined.
- Pour each batter into one of the prepared cake pans. Place 2 pans on the top oven rack and one on the bottom rack.
- Bake for 33-38 minutes, switching the pans from the top to the bottom and bottom to the top halfway through the cooking, and remove from the oven when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool 5 minutes then run a knife around the edge of each cake and remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting base by placing the butter in a large mixing bowl and using a mixer, beat on medium speed until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached. Stir in the vanilla.
- Put ⅓ of the frosting in one bowl and leave the remaining ⅔ in the large bowl.
- Add the cocoa powder to the larger bowl of frosting and mix well. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- To make the salted caramel, place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and stir well. Heat over medium high heat. Do not stir!
- Keep an eye on the mixture and watch as it begins to turn brown (it will do so quickly).
- Once it has turned a golden brown color remove from heat and add the cream, vanilla, and sea salt quickly. The mixture will bubble up and spit but stir quickly to combine. Allow the caramel to cool completely.
- Add ¾ of the salted caramel to the remaining frosting and mix well. If it's too thin add additional powdered sugar as needed.
- To assemble the cake place the dark chocolate cake on a cake board. Spread ⅔ cup salted caramel frosting on top and smooth. Place the milk chocolate layer on top and spread ⅔ cup salted caramel frosting on top and smooth. Top with the white chocolate layer.
- Cover the sides and top of the cake with the chocolate frosting. Smooth with a butter knife.
- Place remaining caramel frosting in a bag, snip of the end, and put 16 dollops of frosting on the top of the cake around the edge.
- Before serving place one raspberry on top of each caramel dollop.
A Hezzi-D Original Recipe
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