Sunday, 1 January 2012

Chocolate Cake with Nutty Caramel Icing

This is what I did with my winter break, which I didn't actually have. Christmas was on a Sunday, new year's day was on a Sunday, and I didn't even have Saturdays off this month. Actually, we never have Saturdays off at this place. We're that dedicated. Weekends? What weekends? Phooey.

This cake was first lovingly administered to my tastebuds by P., and it single-handedly salvaged peanuts for me. I can't say I think glowingly of peanuts even now, but put a handful of them in home-made caramel sauce, and I'll take the first bottle off you at double the price. And I'm not that fond of caramel sauce either.

In short, this is a cake you need to try. Now. And you need to particularly bake it for yourself if you've never baked by yourself before. There'll be nothing simpler and more delicious than this basic choc. cake and its nutty caramel icing, and you'll think no end of your baking skills for the rest of your life. Nifty new year's gift to yourself, eh?

Here's the picturebook.
Take three eggs. Don't just stare at them, break them in a bowl. Go on.

Run 100gms of everyday sugar through the mixie. Et voila!, caster sugar.

Pour it on the stiffly-beaten eggs.

And whisk them together till all of the sugar disappears. Yes, yes, I should get a whisk. Whatever.

Now, pour 50gms of drinking chocolate into the mix. One could substitute with flour, if one prefers, or divvy 50gms into 25 of this and 25 of that. Blend it in.

Then, introduce about 60gms of sunflower/canola oil to the mix. No butter. Oil. And be thorough with it.

And now, for the chocolate.

Take about 170-200gms (depending on your preference) of dark cooking chocolate. Melt it in an improvised double-boiler: one bowl of rough-hewn chunks of chocolate, floating in a saucepan half-full of water.

Chocolate sauce! Well, not quite. But lip-smacking melted chocolate, anyway.

Pour it into the cake mix. Add a pinch of baking powder. Blend blend blend!

Pour it into a greased and flour-dusted cake tin. I borrowed a square from my great-uncle, but I have a predilection for round cakes. Lend me a round tin, someone?

Put this tin in a pre-heated oven (P. says preheat at 180C while you make the batter), and bake for thirty at 180C, then for fifteen at 200C, and then, if it still isn't done, at 180C till it's done. But don't take my word for the timings. I've encountered ovens which take both longer and far shorter to bake this cake, and if you followed my prescription on them, you'd end up with either charred lumps, of gloop.

Raw peanuts are bloody hard to peel. So, when you've got yourself 75gms of nuts-in-husk, what do you do?
You put it on a skillet or a tawa, and dry-roast it over a stove.

Which gives you a plateful of fresh-toasted nuts, with crinkly, papery shells.

Which you then separate them from, palmful by rubbing palmful.

And you get this. Which, by the way, is yum! with lemon juice, flavoured salt, and chopped onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro. Or just lemon juice and salt.

Now, use the day's paper (or the previous day's, I'm not picky) to fold the roasted peanuts in.

Crush the wrapped peanuts with a pestle, or a rolling-pin, or whatever's handy.

Now, caramelise 100gms of sugar with a quarter cup of water. I let it go on for too long -- take it off the flame before the amber of your caramel is this dark. Unless you enjoy a smoky aftertaste of sugary bitterness, of course.

Then, take a standard teacup full of heavy or fresh cream.

Warm it over a low flame.

And pour it into your bowl of caramelised sugar-water.

Whisk whisk whisk, this time with a wooden spatula. (I'm allergic to appropriate kitchen equipment).

And then, because the damn caramel sauce will begin to semi-solidify, put it back on the flame and add 25gms of butter. Fold it in well.

Then, when it's perfectly smooth, liquid, and rescued from bitterness, add the peanuts.

The cake! It's a soft, spongy, melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey cake, with a deliciously smoky caramel icing with crushed roasted peanuts in it.

Can you say "Oh dear god in heaven!!!"?

Well, be my guest.

Off to finish the cake with some vanilla ice-cream, folks. Have yourselves a scrumptious new year!


Sachinky said...

Christ in a hand basket! I am going to have to give this one a go! Maybe, even today. I have everything needed -- even the peanuts!

Quick question - is this castor sugar the same thing as icing sugar/confectioner's sugar we get here?

dipali said...

This looks utterly sinful, utterly delicious. Please make some and bring it over! I will make chai and some good cutlets or something:)

Rimi said...

Chinky, it's plain all-purpose sugar. Caster sugar isn't really ground sugar, but I've never noticed the difference in flavour when using one for the other. I've never baked myself while in the US, but I didn't notice my friends or my ex use icing sugar for desserts either. They just went with the all-purpose white.

Dipali, gladly. You all right with the eggs? I haven't a good substitute for it yet. Actually, let's you me and Sue catch up soon? It's been what, another year? :D

dipali said...

Eggs in desserts are fine!!!

Lisa said...

OMG that cake looks awesome. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your cake up.

Dea-chan said...

Haha I love how it saved peanuts for you. I'm pretty sure honey roasted peanuts are the only reason why they're not verboten in my house. :-P

I'll have to try this gooey looking monstrosity.

Rimi said...

Lisa--thanks a tonne for that kind invitation, Lisa. I'm a little late for the Saturday Sweets, but I love your blog anyway :-)

D-c -- I've never ever had honey-roasted peanuts, but they sound delicious. I have some peanuts left over -- must try this honey-roasted thing. And up next, a dish that IS totally verboten in your household. Ta-da!

Cyrus Summy said...

Heheh, you can definitely say "dear god in heaven!" with something like that. It's remarkable to transform seemingly plain ingredients into something wonderful like that. The chocolate cake looks beautiful - beautiful and tasty-looking!

Rimi said...

Thanks, Cyrus :-)

Vemula Madhu said...

wow great one
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