Candy Bar Cake
If you are what you eat, I'm Candy Bar Cake.
I've had this blog for 2 years and in that time 10 extra pounds have taken up residency on my booty. That's right, 10 pounds, entirely made up of flour, butter and sugar. I wouldn't be complaining if winter were coming; I'd simply have an extra layer to stay warm. But summer is coming... so not ideal. I lack all self control when it comes to sweets so I should have seen this coming. I see chocolate cake, I eat chocolate cake. Life is short and denial is a river in Egypt.
You know you've hit rock bottom when you're waking up in the middle of the night, hiding behind the refrigerator door, stuffing cake in your mouth with your fingers, oh so blissful, praying no one walks in on you... cause then you'd have to share. I can share a lot of things, the remote, blankets, even my dinner. But dessert? Nope. Every single luscious bite is mine. Shameful? Yes. Time for an intervention? Probably. But let me finish this cake first. And don't ask for a bite, cause that would mean we can't be friends.
I made this mind blowing cake for a cookbook party with some girlfriends. We get together every couple of months to feast, drink wine, and share recipes. Everyone makes a dish from a cookbook that has inspired us. No surprise, I always bring a dessert. It's expected. But you should have seen their faces when I walked in with this spectacular, crave-worthy, layered chocolate and candy bar creation. They were wishing they had worn their stretchy pants. We all agreed then and there that whatever happened to our booties after devouring this cake was well worth it.
My book of choice for this month's party was Layered, by Tessa Huff. Tessa is a layered cake genius. Not only are her recipes incredibly creative, colorful, innovative, but her styling is an inspiration. Her cakes are rustic and artistic, full of surprises and intoxicating flavors. And while they're masterfully assembled, she manages to make the process look easy. If you're looking for an addition to your library, I highly recommend this book. But be warned...it may come with an additional 10 pounds.
This classic chocolate cake filled with salted caramel nougat, covered in bittersweet chocolate ganache, and topped with crushed candy bars is appropriately named the Ultimate Candy Bar Cake. And it is the ultimate. It's the cake dreams are made of.
I loved making it. I felt like a kid; chopping up Twix candy bars, my oldest son's favorite. Whisking the egg whites into a beautiful meringue, coating it in bitter sweet chocolate. It was a good day. I was a little worried about pulling it off, being at high altitude. I'll admit my cake was drier than I'd like. A fix would be to add more water next time. But it was a hit. My friends gushed over the nougat filling, they loved the chunks of candy bars. They couldn't believe it wasn't from a bakery. No sharing involved, a group of healthy, salad eating, yoga practicing women licked their plates clean. We were all Candy Bar cake. And quite happy about it.
Classic Chocolate Cake
Makes two 8" layers
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (at high altitude decrease by 1/2-1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda (at high altitude decrease by 1/4 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 cups granulated sugar (at high altitude decrease by 2 tablespoons)
2 large eggs (at high altitude add 1 egg), at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup hot strong coffee
1 cup chopped candy bars of your choice (for assembly)
Extra candy bars for decorating
Preheat your oven to 350° F (at high altitude 375°F). Butter and flour two 8" cake pans and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In an electric mixer, beat together the oil and sugar on medium speed till light and fluffy, about two minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract, one at a time. Scrape the bowl as needed.
Continue mixing on low speed and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Scrape the bowl as needed.
With the mixer on low, add the coffee in a slow stream. Continue to mix for 30 seconds.
Divide the batter evenly between two pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing them from their pans.
* Baker's Note: For instruction on high altitude adjustments see here.
Caramel Nougat Filling
1/2 cup egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup marshmallow cream
3 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand. Create a double broiler by placing the bowl over a sauce pan filled with a few inches of water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Over medium high heat, whisk the egg and sugar mixture till it becomes hot to the touch, or reaches a temperature of 160°F with a thermometer.
Remove from heat and fit the bowl to the electric mixer.
With the whisk attachment, beat the egg and sugar mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes. The mixer should hold medium-stiff peaks and should have cooled down to room temperature.
Replace the whisk with the paddle attachment. On low speed add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Add the vanilla.
Once combined, mix on medium high speed for 3 to 5 minutes till silky and smooth.
Add the marshmallow cream and caramel sauce. Mix till combined.
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
2 1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate in a heat safe bowl. Set aside.
In a sauce pan bring the cream to a simmer.
Remove the cream from heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then whisk till smooth. Let the ganache cool, stirring occasionally, till it reaches a smooth, spreadable consistency.
Assembling the Cake
Place a cooled cake layer on a plate or stand.
Spread half of the caramel nougat filling over the top. Top with 1 cup of crushed candy bars. Cover with the remaining caramel nougat filling.
Top with the second layer of cake.
Frost the top and sides with chocolate ganache.
Decorate with crushed candy bars if desired.