The biggest challenge was going to be the buttercream. How to achieve that caramel flavour without being too sickly? My first approach was a classic salted caramel buttercream based on a Fiona Cairns recipe. This worked and was pretty delicious but it still wasn’t quite hitting the spot for me.
Onto buttercream number two and the inspiration here came from posh choccy… At work I am lucky enough to get to use (and taste!) very good quality Valrhona chocolate and have noticed the caramel notes in the different milk chocolate blends. Unfortunately Valrhona chocolate is not affordable to use in everyday home-baking, but it gave me the idea for this buttercream. I believe that the combination of a good quality Belgian milk chocolate and my toffee caramel sauce as an addition to a plain vanilla buttercream results in a smooth caramel flavour without being overly sweet. Give it a go and I promise you’ll see what I mean!
- Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.
- In a free-standing mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla for a good 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
- Add a tablespoon of flour before slowly adding the eggs, mixing all the time until fully incorporated.
- Now fold in the flour until just incorporated.
- Finally, gradually add the milk
- Divide the cake batter between the two tins and place them in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until well risen, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, start by making the caramel toffee sauce by placing the brown sugar, cream and 20g butter into a small saucepan.
- Boil together for 5 minutes before removing from the heat and leaving to cool completely.
- Once the sauce has cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bain-marie before putting to one side to cool slightly
- Cream together 100g butter, the vanilla and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the chocolate and continue to beat until glossy.
- Add two tablespoons of the sauce to the buttercream and beat until incorporated. Now taste the buttercream and if desired add a further tablespoon of the sauce.
- Once the desired taste is achieved, spread half of the buttercream onto one of the sponges. Place the other sponge on top before spreading the other half of buttercream on top.