There are so many good things about this cake.
Chocolate = excellent.
Caramel = awesome.
I knew this cake would be perfect for my friend Jeremy’s birthday as soon as I saw it. It is a thing of absolute beauty. The salty bacon picks out the sweetness of the caramel perfectly, and the coffee in the chocolate cake makes it even more intense. It’s the first time I’ve used bacon in a baking recipe, but I was pretty sure it would work after many Sundays of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. It turns out to be pretty much a winning combination and proved very popular! I’ve used the same sponge recipe from my Peanut Butter // Chocolate cake. You need to be pretty careful when removing the cakes from the tins and assembling the cake, as the sponge is very moist.
Inspired by De La Casa
You will need:
For the cake:
120g cocoa powder
260g hot decaf coffee (You don’t have to use decaf for this, but after trying it both ways a few times, this seems to have more flavour *shrugs*)
15g vanilla essence
430g plain flour
1 tbsp bicarbinate of soda
425g unsalted butter
3x round 8″ tins, greased
For the caramel:
1 tin (397g) sweetened condensed milk
For the candied bacon:
9 rashers smoked streaky bacon
9 tbsp brown sugar
For the chocolate buttercream:
250g of dark chocolate
3 tbsp Dutch processed cocoa powder
3 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup butter, soft
1/4 cup icing sugar
Start by making the caramel the day before you intend to make the cake.
Peel the label off the tin of unsweetened condensed milk and place in a saucepan. Completely submerge the tins in water and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 hours. You need to make sure the cans are completely covered with water for the entire time they are submerged, or risk the cans exploding. Once the 3 hours is up, leave the cans to cool completely in the water over night.
When you’re ready to use it, open the can and scrape into a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and give it a stir so it’s nice and spreadable. You can add a few drops of milk if you’d like it to be a little runnier, but I decided to leave it gloopy.
For the cake, preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
Put the cocoa powder into a bowl and pour the hot coffee over the top. Whisk until combined, then set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla. Once cooled, add a 1/4 of the cooled coffee mixture.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and butter using an electric mixer, until gravel like. Add the remaining cocoa/coffee mixture, scraping the bottom of the bowl well. Add the eggs and coffee mixture in three parts, scraping well each time to ensure everything is incorporated. Make sure there are no yellow flecks of butter, as these will show once the cake is baked.
Scrape the mixture into the tins. They should weigh around 900-1000g each.
Bake in the oven until a skewer comes out clean- around 45 minutes.
Once removed, leave in the tins until completely cool, then gently remove and leave on a wire rack. Remember, these cakes are extremely moist so try not to be too rough with them.
To make the candied bacon, spread the bacon over a piece of tin foil on a baking tray. Sprinkle with half the sugar and bake for 15 minutes at 170 degrees. Take it out, flip the slices and sprinkle the other side with sugar, and bake again for 15 minutes. Once removed, leave to cool so that the bacon becomes hard. Then you can either chop it up with scissors or cut it with a knife, or bash it to pieces!
To make the buttercream, melt the chocolate and set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, mix the water and cocoa, and set that aside to cool too. In a large bowl, cream together the soft butter and icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled melted chocolate and then the cocoa mixture, and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes before use.
To assemble the cake, cut the tops off so that the cakes are flat. Place the bottom layer on your serving dish and top with about 4 tbsp of the caramel and spread across using a small palette knife so it’s flat. Sprinkle with some of the candied bacon (see picture). Add the next layer and repeat. Top with third and final layer, then ice with the buttercream and pour the remaining caramel on top. Push to the edges so that it dribbles down the sides, then sprinkle with the remaining bacon.
Enjoy it, I know you will!!