salted caramel cake

Dearest mama, happy birthday to you!

Thank you, for your wonderful love and support. You endured plenty of my nonsense! Whenever I get moody and kept quiet…when my mad baking frenzy starts..when I ask you rubbish questions like: “How do you endure living so many years when all I want to do now is go back to the Maker?”

You totally understand my heartaches and the reasons behind my moods. And you’d just support me, in your way. Eat whatever I baked. Listen to my complaints. Laugh with me.

Mama, I don’t say this to you often enough: I love you very much.

I know you didn’t request any cake. I just wanted to make you one. I hope you like this.

Salted Caramel Cake

For the salted caramel sauce

  • 220 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 200 ml heavy cream
  • 2 – 2 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 170 grams unsalted butter
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, pour in sugar and water. Let this mixture come to a boil and swirl the pan once a while. Watch the sugar mixture closely to prevent burning. Once mixture turns to golden brown color, turn off the heat and add in the butter. Be careful as the mixture will sizzle and spit.
  2. Whisk the butter into the mixture. Then add  in heavy cream and salt. I added 2 1/2 tsp of sea salt. If you don’t like it that salty, then just add in 2 tsp.
  3. Let the salted caramel cool for 10 minutes then place it in the fridge to thicken up. Store unused salted caramel in an airtight container. It will last for 2 weeks in the fridge.

For the cake (largely adapted from The Frosted Cupcakes)

  • 220 grams all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams cake flour
  • 210 grams granulated sugar
  • 113 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 200 ml buttermilk, room temperature
  • 100 ml whole milk, room temperature
  • 120 ml salted caramel, room temperature
  1. Grease two 6-inches by 3-inches round removable-base pans. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C (350 F).
  2. Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine buttermilk and milk.
  4. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes.
  5. Add in eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl.
  6. Add in 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Gradually add in half of the buttermilk/milk mixture. Add in another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the remaining buttermilk/milk mixture. Add in final 1/3 of the flour mixture.
  7. Scrape down the mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the caramel and lightly swirl the caramel into the mixture as evenly as possible. No need to combine well.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Cool completely before cutting.

Note: I didn’t make the cake very sweet since it is to be coated in buttercream.

For the buttercream

Swiss meringue salted caramel buttercream

  • 2 cups swiss meringue buttercream (see recipe below)
  • 3 tbsp salted caramel sauce

Beat swiss meringue buttercream until light and fluffy. Gradually add in salted caramel sauce and food coloring.

For this cake, I used 3 squeezes of Americolor soft gel paste mauve in 1 cup of buttercream. The remaining buttercream was left as it was.

I only used 2 cups of buttercream because my family don’t really fancy cakes coated with lots of buttercream. If you like buttercream, increase accordingly.

Swiss meringue buttercream (makes about 3 1/2 cups)

  • 452 grams unsalted butter (cut into cubes), softened but cool
  • 5 egg whites
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. In a large heatproof bowl, combine egg white and sugar and place over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  2. Whisk egg white mixture until temperature reaches 160 degrees Farenheit.
  3. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer and whisk at high speed until it reaches room temperature. This should take about 10 minutes.
  4. Gradually add butter, about a tablespoon at a time. Should the mixture curdle halfway or resemble a watery pool of mess, do not panic. Continue adding butter and it should firm up. The trick is to use cool but softened butter.
  5. Add in vanilla extract and salt. Beat on high speed until smooth. If the buttercream at this point is still a bit too soft, place the entire mixing bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, then beat again.

Store unused buttercream in an airtight container in the freezer. It will keep for 3 months at least.  

To use, thaw buttercream to room temperature, then beat again until light and fluffy.

To assemble

  1. Slice cake into 4 layers. Place bottom layer on serving plate. Spread on buttercream evenly. Repeat for the other layers.
  2. Coat the entire cake with buttercream. At this point you can chill the cake in the fridge before proceeding with the rose piping.
  3. It was late at night when I got to this step so I placed the cake in the fridge overnight, then got the cake out early the next morning and left it for 1.5 hours before proceeding to piping. The good part is you can even out the uneven (if any) frosting done in step 2 easily since it is semi-hard.
  4. Use mauve buttercream and Wilton tip 1M to pipe roses on top and around the bottom of the cake.
  5. Swirl a heartshape in the centre of the cake with salted caramel sauce. It is easier to do this with cold salted caramel sauce.

My mama liked the cake very much. But then again, she pretty much likes the stuff I make. Nah, it is not because I don’t make nasty stuff. I do. But so far, even if I make something not that nice, she will still eat it (and most times proclaim it nice) and give suggestions. And she hates it if I throw away anything I make because I feel it is not good enough. 🙂

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