Last night I made this cake. I wish I had pictures of the kitchen. From the state of things, it appeared that I had never baked before, and that I was a complete mess when it came to doing anything in the kitchen. There were dry ingredients everywhere (everywhere!), on the counters, on the floor, on the dog - she was almost white at one point - and all over me. I was spilling everything, from cake flour (both before and after sifting) and cocoa powder to dropping eggs (at least one) on the floor. I also added powder instead of soda, then removed the powder, only to discover I needed it as well. Disaster, and ridiculously messy kitchen to clean up at around 10:00 last night. Groan. But the cakes baked just fine, and were nice and fluffy once they cooled.
Frosting the cake this morning was equally as challenging. It's a very tasty frosting, but between the hardness of the frosting and the softness of the cakes, I had lots of difficulties and in several places removed the top layer of the cake.
Anyway, here is the recipe (adapted from Bon Appetit)
Chocolate Cake with Caramel-Milk Chocolate Frosting
24 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (I used milk chocolate chips and did not finely chop them)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/4 whipping cream
Combine chocolates in large bowl. Combine water and sugar in saucepan and make caramel, stir sugar into water over medium heat until dissolved, then swirl pan and brush down sides until mixture darkens and turns golden. Add the whipping cream SLOWLY (it will boil and fizz A LOT) and then stir until the caramel dissolves (it will take some time and it's hard to do). Once it is all nicely dissolved, pour the caramel cream over the chocolate and stir the chocolate mixture until the chocolate is all dissolved and the mixture is very smooth. At this point, you can either chill it in the refrigerator or you can let it sit out at room temperature if you plan to frost the cakes as soon as the cake portions cool.
Nonstick vegetable oil spray and parchment paper
2 cups sifted cake flour (sift, then measure)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups golden brown sugar (packed)
1 cup plus 2 T room temperature butter
3 large eggs (more if you drop one on the floor)
1 T vanilla
1 cup plus 2 T buttermilk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
First, preheat the oven to 350 and prepare your pans. You will need between 2 and 3 springform cake pans. I used 2, the original recipe calls for 3. Spray pans with cooking spray, then cut parchment paper circles and line the bottom of each pan with one circle. Set them aside.
Sift and measure the flour into a medium bowl. Add the rest of the dry ingredients (through the salt) to the flour. In the mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar and butter and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine between each addition. Add a third of the flour mixture, then a third of the buttermilk, and repeat until all ingredients are incorporated, beating after every new addition. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Distribute the batter equally among pans. Tap the sides of the pan to smooth the tops of the batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let them cool in their pans until they are entirely cool, then pop them out of their pans.
Once the frosting is at room temperature, beat it until smooth and light brown, about 1 minute. Do not over stir it, you want it smooth not grainy. Spread frosting on the lowest level, then stack the next level on top. If you are using two layers, place the layer upside down so the top is flat. Frost all around and on top of the cake. It works best if you use a frosting spatula thing and not a butter knife. Be patient. It takes some time.