Cheat Day [cheet dey] – noun: The one day of the week where diet minded fitness freaks throw caution to the wind and indulge only on the most tantalizing, ridiculously calorie dense foods known to man. Often associated with the term, “carb hangover,” which occurs the morning after a particularly fruitful cheat day. Synonyms: Free Day, Fun Day, Fat Day

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Caramel Chocolate Cake (a.k.a. Milky Way Cake)

So I'm really bad at remembering things.  Like birthdays.... especially birthdays.  Thank god for Outlook.

Several months ago I was talking with my husbands awesome Aunt, and she mentioned how much her daughter would LOVE a birthday cake made by me.  Of course I said yes.... and then promptly forgot about this conversation until Monday.

So Monday rolls along, and I'm reviewing my work week, and after getting awfully excited when I see that I’m taking part of the day off on Friday (To go to my very first triathlon!)  I see that darned little birthday reminder on Wednesday.  And then I realize I totally forgot about her cake.

Bad wife!  I fail my husbands family!

So I immediately email her, and let her know that despite me not bringing it up for the last several months, I can so totally still do this.  So now I'm left to make a cake by Wednesday.  Leaving me only Tuesday and Monday to bake it.  Good thing I'm busy Tuesday.

Monday it is!

And since I'm an idiot, I decide I'm still going to do that bike ride I had planned.  I was going to bike to the pool to meet a friend and bike back.  Sounds innocent enough, no?  Husband even offered to whip up the 8 inch rounds so they'd be cool by the time I got home.  He rocks!

So I'm biking along merrily, and I see the giant hill of death and hatred and doom and despair that leads to the pool.  Stupid freaking hill.  I hate you.  So I think to myself "gee, I've never used the lowest gear on my bike before!  I bet THAT'S my problem!  This hill is going to be SUPER EASY and I'm going to be so excited to try out that new gear!  Yay ideas!  Smart me!"

I switch to this low gear mid way up the hill, immediately drop the chain on my bike, and swerve to the side of the road.  Fantastic.

Still being optimistic, (which I had to hold on to at this point given the fact I was alone without a cell phone... Cause, you know, that's how I roll) I decide that I CAN FIX THIS.  I automatically picture myself heroically flipping my bike over, diagnosing the problem, untangling and resetting my gears all by myself, with my husband and friend none the wiser.

Cut to me, in a swimsuit and shorts, covered up to her elbows in bike grease, panicking and sweating by the side of the road.


So nice man in a pretty car sees this, undoubtedly laughs to himself and pulls over.  He flips my bike over and starts explaining what's going on with it (using all the wicked awesome bike terminology.  I think he used the word "sprocket" but I can't be sure.) And he said I'll need to take my bike apart to fix this.

I didn’t have to take it apart to BREAK it, so why should I have to do that to FIX it.  Hmph.

So nice man let's greasy, disheveled girl use his fancy cell phone to call husband.  Who is of course 30 minutes away from being able to get me.  I tell him where I am and quickly give the man his phone back.  I proceed to wait... and braid grass... until my husband gets there.

Oh no- friend.  Friend is at pool waiting for me.  She is going to think I died.  Crap.

So finally husband comes to get me, fixes the bike in about 10 seconds because he's Superman, and takes me to the pool.  Just as friend is running out of the pool in a frenzy, assuming I've been hit by a car or I booked it to Mexico to avoid actually competing in the tri this weekend.  I felt awful.

So this is why I got home late and the cake was haphazardly assembled and kind of ugly.  Happy Birthday!  I'm sorry about your cake.

Caramel Chocolate Cake
First, make two 8 inch chocolate round cakes and cool them.  Since I've done that about nine billion times on this blog already, we can just leave well enough alone.

Ok- caramel buttercream time.  I was super worried about this.  One- because I've never made it and I was sending this cake along to my family and it could taste icky and Two- I had no clue how difficult it was going to be to frost with a icing that has caramel added.  If you haven't heard, caramel makes things sticky and tacky.  And while this buttercream was slightly more tacky than normal, it was perfectly spreadable and happy.

So whip it up (recipe follows) and stack your cake (on a cardboard round that fits the bottom of the cake if you can.)  Don't worry, you'll add another layer.  Sticky frosting plus chocolate crumbs = crumb coat necessary.  Let it set in your fridge for about 20 min.... or like, 4 if you are in a rush. 

Add another layer and smooth it out.  Yum...

Now it's time for your ganache.  I made my go-to-ganache recipe BUT I did it with cheapo store brand semisweet chocolate chips.  Don't do that.  It turned out lumpy and unhappy.  Use nice chocolate- it makes a difference.

So this worked out great- if your cake is on a round that is fitted to the bottom of it, like mine, you can put it on top of bowl or some cups or something.  Then, when you drip the ganache on it, it will fall off instead of puddling up looking all icky at the bottom.  

See how awesome this is!

Then, transfer your cake to where ever it will end up (for me, a cake carrier.)  And decorate it up!  

Mine ended up like this:

A little rushed- but it'll do!

I didn't try this (sad) but I heard resounding positive reviews on the recipe!  I'd say it's a do again recipe!

The Chocolate Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant devils food (or chocolate of any kind) pudding mix
1 (8 oz) container of Daisy sour cream (full fat)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees  
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, or your trusty stand mixer.
Pour batter into two greased 8 inch rounds 
Bake as directed on your box mix.

Caramel Buttercream (This is for a double recipe which is enough to stack, frost, decorate and eat a lot of frosting.)

1 1/3 cup butter
16 ounce container of ice cream caramel topping 
2 tsp vanilla
2 lbs plus 1 cup (or 9 cups) powdered sugar 
4 tbsp milk (I used whole)

Cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add ice cream topping and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

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