“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
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