I'll start out by admitting, like I did on Instagram, that only 2 out of the 3 elements of this cake turned out successfully. I'm not really sure what went wrong because everything went as it was supposed to, but my quest to cook sugar successfully every time (and without mild fear) will continue. But let's focus on the good parts. I was so excited to make this because it seemed like a fun challenge and I've never baked something FOR someone's birthday. My friend was hosting a birthday party and she loves Twix, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try this out. She also happens to love Seinfeld and there's a hilarious Twix moment in that show, and I had my pairing. Sure, this is a little bit of a cheat by interpreting the real thing, but for a birthday, the rules are bendable. Plus, I made the rules, so...
inspired by Seinfeld season 9, episode 11
should serve 4-6
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes (heaped)
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp butter at room temp, cubed
- 7 oz good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- optional crushed Twix bars to layer between caramel and cake
Grease and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. I didn't line it and it definitely would have helped. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine flour baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup. Cream sugar and butter then increase the speed of the mixer until the mixture is pale and creamy. Reduce speed, add egg and beat well until mixed. Add flour and milk mixtures, alternating, starting and ending with the flour. Beat until combined. Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean and it's golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from tin and finish cooling on wire racks.
Clean loaf pan and prepare it again with cooking spray and parchment paper, otherwise it will be almost impossible to get the caramel out of the pan (I know this from experience). To make the caramel, bring cream, vanilla, salt and butter to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it just reaches a boil, remove from heat and cover, making sure it stays warm while the sugar cooks. In a large pot with a candy thermometer heat corn syrup and sugar over medium heat, stirring every now and then until the sugar dissolves. At this point, only stir occasionally to keep the sugar from burning. Remove from heat once the sugar reaches 300ºF. According to this very helpful caramel tutorial I followed after letting my first batch burn from second guessing myself, caramel is perfectly cooked when it's a dark amber color and has started smoking. It should smell "right" (the blog post I used for the recipe also recommended this caramel tutorial from the same site).
ANYWAY, you've just removed your perfect caramel from the heat. Now add the cream mixture, carefully because it will bubble up a lot. Stir until it's smooth. Return it to heat and cook it until it reaches 245ºF. Remove from heat again and pour it into the loaf pan and let chill. This is where I think I ran into problems. I chilled it in the fridge, and I think I should have just let it cool completely at room temperature. At a certain point I took it out of the fridge soon after I had put it in while it was still hot. It hardened and in my freezing apartment never softened. It was relatively soft when I was able to cut it and layer it onto the cake, but it never truly softened again.
Put chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it just boils, remove from heat and pour it over the chocolate in the bowl and let sit for 5 minutes so the chocolate softens. Whisk the mixture until it's smooth. Put the bowl over a pot full of simmering water if there are chunks that won't smooth out. I had to do this. Let the ganache cool. Once it's cooled and thick but can still be poured.
Assemble the cake: You might need to shave off the top of the cake with a bread knife to flatten it out or even hollow it out a little if you want to layer Twix in between. Add the caramel layer, cutting it to fit if you need. Then pour the ganache on top, using a spatula if needed so the cake is covered in a thin, even layer. Pipe or drizzle a little extra ganache once it has set a bit on the cake to add the ripple effect on top. Chill finished cake in fridge to set the icing if needed. Make sure to let the cake return to room temperature before serving so the caramel can soften (like it should and like mine didn't).
Serve and enjoy! I made Twix ice cream to go with the cake using this recipe from a few weeks ago and adding in the leftover crushed Twix. We had to destroy the cake a bit to get to the cake part under the brick of caramel but the parts we were able to eat were good!
recipe from Raspberri Cupcakes.
[made while watching Seinfeld (season 3).]