Our fabulous recipe this week is the exquisite Chocolate Salted Caramel Dream Cake from the famed Cutter & Squidge Bakery in London.
Emily and Annabel Lui, the dynamic duo behind the bakery, have produced a gem of a book, Afternoon Tea at the Cutter & Squidge Bakery: Delicious Recipes for Dream Cakes, Biskies, Savouries and More. It’s one of the most exciting collection of recipes for the finest bakes and irresistible pastries that Cake Geek has come across.
With recipes for scrumptious savouries and delectable desserts, as well as a collection of some of the most beautiful beverages you could imagine, you have all the ingredients you need to host an afternoon tea that would be quite simply, the last word in elegance.
As for the name Cutter & Squidge and where it came from, here’s a cute story: When sisters Annabel and Emily were looking to make their mark on London’s pastry scene and developing recipes in their tiny kitchen, Annabel would cut the dough and Emily “squidged” it together – and that is how Cutter & Squidge was born!
The sisters set out on a mission to create a baking business using only natural colours and flavourings and pioneering the creation of imaginative new treats. Customers now flock to their flagship store in London to sample their cool creations.
To make the Chocolate Salted Caramel Dream Cake you will need:
- 3 x 6-inch (15cm) springform cake pans, bases lined with greaseproof baking parchment
- piping/pastry bag with a plain round 2-cm/¾-inch nozzle/tip
- cake board or cake stand
- cake scraper
- baking sheet, lined with greaseproof baking parchment
Chocolate Cake Recipe (6-inch/15cm cake)
- 175 g/1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 175 g/¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons caster/granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 200 g/1½ cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 40 g/½ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 85 ml/⅓ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C (350°F) Gas 4.
- Put the softened butter, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl. Sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder and mix with a hand-held electric whisk (or use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment), starting slow and then at a medium speed, for about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
- In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda together until foamy and quickly add to the cake batter. Mix at a medium-high speed until combined; do not overmix or the sponge will be tough.
- Divide the cake batter into the pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes for three pans (or for 35–40 minutes for two pans) until springy to the touch.
- Leave to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool fully.
- 350 ml/1½ cups double/heavy cream
- 200 g/7 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
For the ganache, put the cream into a saucepan over a medium heat until simmering. Turn off the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.
Light as a Feather Cake Buttercream
Yields about 900g/2 lb
- 6 egg whites
- 260 g/1¼ cups caster/granulated sugar 430 g/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- Stir together the egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Place over a pan of gently simmering water (making sure that the base of the bowl does not touch the water). Heat gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. You can check this by rubbing some between your fingertips – it should not be grainy.
- Remove the bowl from the pan and use a hand-held electric whisk (or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment) to whisk for about 10–15 minutes until cool with stiff peaks.
- Add the softened butter and whisk for a further 5–7 minutes until light cream in color. Stir in the vanilla paste. It should have the consistency of medium-soft whipped cream, and be very easy to pipe and spread. (TIP: If your buttercream splits, freeze it until frozen solid. Melt a quarter in the microwave until liquid, then whisk back into the frozen buttercream until it comes back together.)
- Prepare the buttercream, then add 175 g/6 oz. of the cooled chocolate ganache (reserve the rest for the drip) and the cocoa powder. Slowly mix until combined; do not overmix. Set aside.
Yields about 400mls (scant 1 3/4 cups)
- 200 g/1 cup caster/granulated sugar
- 20 g/scant ¼ cup cocoa powder
Stir together the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan with 200 ml/generous ¾ cup water. Bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat. Use the syrup warm.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Yields about 500g/180z
- 250 g/1¼ cups caster/ granulated sugar
- 250 g/generous 1 cup double/heavy cream
- 25 g/1¼ tablespoons golden/light corn syrup
- 15 g/1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 8 g/2 teaspoons Maldon sea salt flakes
- Add the sugar to a warmed saucepan and melt over a medium heat until liquid and a light caramel color.
- Whisk in the cream and then the golden/light corn syrup; it will bubble so be careful and whisk quickly until combined.
- Finally, add the butter and salt and stir until melted.
- Once cool, it is ready to use. Store in an airtight container or a jar in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 2 months.
For the Decoration
- 200 g/7 oz. dark/bittersweet chocolate, melted to make chocolate “sails”
- fresh raspberries
- 1–2 sheets gold leaf
Assembling the Cake
- To assemble, cut each sponge in half horizontally to give six even, thin layers.
- Line the sides of one of the pans that you baked the sponges in with a double layer of greaseproof baking parchment, about 15 cm/6 inches high.
- Put the first sponge in the pan and drizzle over 50 ml/3½ tablespoons of the chocolate syrup.
- Pipe a layer of buttercream and smooth over.
- Drizzle over 25 g/1 oz. of the salted caramel.
- Repeat the process for the remaining sponges but smooth only 1 tablespoon of buttercream over the top sponge.
- Freeze the cake for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 40 minutes to set.
- Remove the pan and paper and transfer the cake to a stand or board with buttercream underneath.
- Pipe buttercream rings around the cake.
- Use a cake scraper to smooth the buttercream around the cake, scraping any overspill onto the top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Warm the reserved ganache in the microwave until just melted and cool to room temperature. Spoon half over the cake, using a spoon to make it drip over the edges.
- Finally, to make the chocolate “sails”, spread the melted chocolate over the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes, then break into shards.
- Push the shards into the cake.
- Decorate with raspberries and gold leaf.
From Afternoon Tea at the Cutter & Squidge Bakery: Delicious Recipes for Dream Cakes, Biskies, Savouries & More by Annabel Lui and Emily Lui. Photography by Clare Winfield. © Ryland Peters & Small, 2019
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