Yep, it’s a mouthful. But what a delicious mouthful it is. And is there any better way to celebrate Valentine’s day or a Thursday or just any day than with a cake of this magnitude? I think not.
As always, I don’t really feel like doing much over V-day but something has happened to the twins this year. Instead of not really caring much, they now want to send cards and give heart-shaped lollipops. They want to know what we’re doing on the day and most importantly, what I’m buying them. !!! Nothing, was the answer. But I still felt like since they are so into it, I should make a little bit of an effort. So tomorrow they are taking a very red and festive picnic basket to school and will both be adorning red outfits, Abi’s even has hearts on it, and I have promised them a picnic in the garden on Sunday. This will probably result in us getting a pizza or two but still. Oh, and it will definitely involve this cake. Because Valentine’s day is only good for one thing and that thing is chocolate.
So this cake, let me tell you about it. Layers of deep, dark, rich (but not too sweet) chocolate cake are sandwiched with salted praline cream and drippy, decadent dulce de leche. The whole thing is covered in a coffee-infused chocolate buttercream and topped with more of that dulce de leche. If you were to write me a love song, those would be the words.
And I’m going to be honest with you. This isn’t a dump in a bowl and bake kinda cake. It takes a little work and more than one bowl but it is sooo worth it. To make it easier, I used my lovely new Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer (shameless brag) to mix pretty much every component of this cake. The batter, the cream filling and the buttercream were all done in this bad boy and it made the process a dream. However, if you don’t have one, don’t despair. All the steps are completely do-able by hand. But whichever way you make this, just do. Believe me, you won’t be sorry. This cake makes for a smashing showstopper of a dessert and will have people ooh-ing and aah-ing all over the place.
for the cake
- 2 cups 400g sugar
- 2 1/4 cups 300g all purpose/ cake flour
- 1/2 cup 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 250ml milk
- 2 eggs
- 0.4 cup 100ml vegetable oil
- 1 cup 250ml hot coffee
for the cream filling
- 2 cups 500ml fresh whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 g 1 large bar peanut brittle, crushed until it resembles rough sand
- pinch of salt
- 5 leaves gelatin
- 50 ml boiling water
- 1 cup dulce de leche / tinned caramel
for the frosting
- 2 sticks 250g butter, room temperature
- 4 cups 500g icing/powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup 50g cocoa powder, sifted
- 4-5 tablespoons hot coffee
- pinch of salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg Celsius and grease and line 3 x 20cm cake pans.
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine all the dry ingredients and mix.
- In a mixing jug, mix together the eggs, milk and oil then pour into the dry ingredients and mix.
- Slowly pour in the hot coffee and mix until well combined, scraping the bowl regularly. At this stage, the batter will be very runny, it's supposed to be. This is why the cake is so moist.
- Distribute the batter between the prepared cake pans and place in the oven.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- To make the praline cream, whip the cream to stiff peaks.
- Place the gelatin leaves in a large, flat dish filled with ice cold water. Once they have become soft and jelly-like, squeeze out any excess water then place them in a dish with 50ml boiling water. Stir to dissolve.
- With the mixer running, pour the gelatin into the cream and mix well.
- Stir in the crushed peanut brittle and salt.
- Cover two of the cooled cake layers with the cream and place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, spread 2 tablespoons of dulce de leche on top of each cream-covered layer then stack the layers, topping with the plain cake layer.
- To make the buttercream, whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and whip for another minute before adding the coffee.
- Cover the cake with the buttercream then top with the remaining dulce de leche.
- Cut and serve.