Always Choose Chocolate!

Dark Chocolate Caramel Cake“If in doubt, choose chocolate,” has always been my mantra. So when my husband and I host a supper at our house next week for his class at Amherst College, guess what the the dessert will be!  Definitely a chocolate creation, and in this case a rich dark chocolate caramel cake.

What makes this luscious single-layered confection unique is that the batter is studded with caramel candies that soften and blend into the dark chocolate mixture while baking.The recipe is based on one I spotted several years ago in a French magazine, but in the original version the candies were laid atop the batter. After baking the cake several times, I discovered that submerging the caramels so that they are completely covered produced a richer, more interesting texture.

Although this dessert is best served warm, you can still bake it several days ahead. You’ll just need to reheat it in the oven for a few minutes at serving time. When wrapped tightly in plastic and then in foil, it can also be frozen.

Oh, and for those of you still pondering the finale for your Easter meal, why not choose chocolate and include this blissful sweet pleasure!

 

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Dark Chocolate Caramel Cake

7 oz (1 stick plus 6 tbsp) unsalted butter, diced plus extra for greasing the baking pan
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (Ghiaradelli Bittersweet 60% works well.)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fleur de sel or sea salt
8 caramels (such as Kraft’s), halved
Confectioner’s sugar
1 qt good quality purchased vanilla ice cream, optional

1. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment cut to fit.

2. In a heatproof bowl set over but not touching a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes.

3. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture lightens in color and thickens, about 5 minutes.

4. Reduce the speed to low and gradually, add the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Then beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Tuck the caramel pieces into the batter, and using a metal spatula smooth the batter over them.

5. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and cool 20 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan, and then remove the rim. (You can bake the cake 2 days ahead,  Cool completely,  cover with plastic wrap, then with foil, and refrigerate. To reheat, remove foil and plastic and bring cake to room temperature. Place cake on a baking sheet and reheat in a preheated  350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. )

6. Remove the cake from the bottom of the soringform pan and discard the parchment paper. Transfer to a serving plate and dust with confectioner’s sugar. If desired, serve each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serves 8.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017

16 thoughts on “Always Choose Chocolate!

  1. This is my next cake, making it for company in 3 days. Question: can I get away with my 9″ springform pan? Or can I make it in a square cake pan, either 8″ or 9″? I know the latter wouldn’t win any presentation prize, but still delish, right? Just squares cut from the pan (forgive me!)

    • Hi Ellie,
      It’s best to use an 8-inch pan even if is square. If the latter doesn’t have a removable bottom, then line the bottom of the cake pan with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit. If you use a 9-inch pan, the cake won’t be as high and might not cover the caramels. Also the cooking time would be less.

      Here’s my chance to tell you that I LOVED your newest book, On Turpentine Lane, and recommended it to my book club! Bravo for such a clever story and as always such a great way with words!

        • Hi Mari,
          I think you’ll have better luck with an 8-inch spring form pan with its removable sides. If you don’t have the latter, and you try it with the glass pyrex, line the bottom with parchment so that it the cake is easier to remove from the dish. Hope this helps. Betty

  2. Making this next week for a birthday party….. I saw this recipe reprinted in the Chicago Tribune and i have a few questions:
    •it called for “fine” sugar, is that necessary?
    • coarse or fine sea salt?
    • would softer caramels, more like candy store style, work or are the firmer Kraft caramels needed?

    Can’t wait to serve this to my chocoholic friends!

    • Hi Judith,
      Regular sugar works fine, and you can use fine or coarse sea salt (I used fleur de sel which is coarse with good results). I tried some softer caramels candies from my local Whole Food,s but the Kraft caramels when halved worked better for me.

      Hope you and your friends enjoy this cake! Betty Rosbottom

    • In the recipe for this cake on my blog 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (not baking soda) is called for. I’m not sure why it was left out, but thank you for pointing out this omission.

  3. You were so kind to answer my questions from 2/1/18 I wanted to tell you the best sign of success is when the dining room conversation stops when the guests take their first bite………and silent it was! Followed by numerous “Oh’s” and “Mmmm’s”.
    Everyone loved this cake, even the guest who always pretends she doesn’t like dessert!! I caught her swiping her finger over her empty plate to get the last remnant of cake!!!!.

    My friends requested it be placed on the “Make it again real soon” list for our dinner parties.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Judith,
      Thank you so much for your note which made my day! I’m so thrilled to hear that your guests were eating every last crumb of that special cake.
      It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate and caramel in the same dessert! Hope you’ll have the chance to make and enjoy it again! Warmly, Betty

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