Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake 8 Steps
Butter two 9 x 2 inch cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper rounds, dust entire cake pans with cocoa powder, shaking off excess and set aside.
Sift the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, skim milk powder, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, slowly mix the dry ingredients until even.
In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, sunflower oil, whole eggs, vanilla extract, as well as espresso and whisk until even. Slowly add this buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients in the stand mixer and mix until even, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepped cake pans and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cook in the pans for 30 minutes after baking before removing and peeling off the parchment.
Make the caramel: in a medium-sized heavy bottomed pot, combine the granulated sugar, corn syrup as well as water and stir. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, brush around the edges of sugar up on the inside of the pot (this should be done regularly when bringing to caramel stage to prevent crystallization). Cook the sugar mixture on high heat until a deep amber colour is reached, this should take about 9-10 minutes to occur. Remove from the heat and very carefully and slowly stream in the heavy cream. Once all of the cream is incorporated, whisk until even and put back onto the heat. Insert a candy thermometer and cook until the caramel reaches just above soft ball stage or 238°F, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Begin adding the butter, 1 cube at a time, whisking and ensuring that each cube of butter has melted before adding in another. Allow the caramel to cool entirely before assembling the cake.
Make the frosting: in a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chopped chocolate at high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until most of the chocolate is melted. Stir until completely melted, then set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the side of the bowl. At low speed, slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar, about 1 minute. Slowly beat the cooled chocolate into the butter mixture until just combined.
Assemble the cake: prep the cake bases by levelling off using a serrated knife. Place one cake on a serving platter or cake stand. Carefully spread the caramel sauce on top of the first cake leaving about 1/2 cm distance from the edge of the cake. Top with the second cake and using a flat spatula, evenly spread the icing over the entire surface of the cake layers, making swoops and swooshes as desired. Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.
Note: the cake can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days and should be taken out of the fridge for 1 hour prior to serving.