You are my calm. That’s the title. Is a line from a beautiful song from La Vida Boheme. Is in spanish, but if you’d like yo hear it, here’s the song. Music is gorgeous in any and all languages, and that is a great band. And it makes me think of this cake…it makes me think of all cakes, all baking, simply because baking is my calm. It makes me so happy no matter what and I’m always looking forward to it.

I know I told you I would show you what I did with that strawberry Jam I made, but this came first and I couldn’t resist. Specially because I LOVE the way it looks. I’m improving a lot in this decorating thing. I had never had such a perfect cake! Anyway, this is for my little cousin’s birthday, and as you would expect from a kid, he wanted nothing more than SUGAR, SUGAR and more SUGAR. This is a Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake. I know, ten year olds have no imagination. But I did love that he gave me specifications, not just “do whatever you like”. hate that.

I made 2 basic yellow cakes (oh.my.god. The batter was the most delicious batter ever, you have to make this) and sandwiched them together with (store-bought, i so easy to find here) dulce de leche and a light sprinkling of coarse salt because, come on, something had to balance all that sweet. Then I covered the entire cake in semi-sweet chocolate ganache and attempted to make whipped cream slightly sweetened with a little leftover dulce de leche, but apparently I did something wrong and it wouldn’t totally set. So I just plop it on top of the cake and let it run down the sides.  Finally, I shaved some chocolate on top. Go, get yourself a huge glass of water. And bring me one.

I think the mothers of my cousin’s friends are going to kill me after the sugar-high this cake is going to give to their kids. I’m sorry, I’m just following orders. Also, I would love to give you a peek at the inside but I won’t be in the first part of his birthday. If there’s any cake left, I’ll take a pic ;).

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake

Recipe: slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated.
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

1 recipe of chocolate ganache (to follow)

1 8-ounce can of dulce de leche.

Whipped cream and chocolate to decorate (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add yolks 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated. In another clean bowl, beat the whites until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the whites into the cake batter and then the rest, making sure not to over mix.

Spread batter evenly in cake pans.  Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of the cakes comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of the pans. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Semi-sweet Chocolate Ganache

By me.

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped.

3/4 cup heavy cream

Heat the cream to a simmer and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for about 2 minutes and then stir to blend everything together until smooth. Let is cool before covering the cake. For this one, I let the ganache harden a little on the fridge so is easier to spread.

Assembly:

Spread the dulce de leche over one of the cake layers. Make sure there isn’t too much of it or it will overflow when you cover it. If you want, lightly sprinkle son coarse or table salt over the dulce de leche. Cover with the other cake layer and now spread the ganache on the sides and top pf the cake. If you want, you can whip some cream with a little sugar and vanilla (make sure everything is very cold). Decorate the cake with the cream and chocolate shavings. Serve at room temperature.

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