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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Caramel Mocha Cake

For the people I love and care about, birthdays are nearly always preceded with a wide-eyed me desperately and timidly asking "so, do you need a birthday cake?" I try to act like it's no big deal, but I'm really jumping up and down on the inside screaming "LET ME BAKE YOU SOMETHING."  But when one of my besties moved across the Midwest to the desolate, cold, altogether too damn far away land known as "Minneapolis," I hadn't yet formed this obsession with baking.  So I've never really gotten to bake for her!  Except her bridal shower.   And several parties I've thrown and she's attended.  And a few showers we threw together.  Hell, the last time I saw her she was forced into washing dishes for me as I filled heath cupcakes in a fit of baby-shower-themed-food insanity.

But she lives far away and she's never gotten a birthday cake from me, so her spring break visit was my opportunity!  I even spent an evening forming fondant flowers for the top of the cake.  Mainly because I don't think anyone has ever really made fondant decorations for her, and I felt she deserved something extra special.

So the week before she came and I set out for the grocery store on foot, husband/grocery bag carrier by my side.  I had absolutely no idea what I was going to make her, and pinterest is too slow on my phone (Thank you very much, Verizon.) So I had to go back to my roots- brainstorming things up all on my very own without the help of the world wide interwebs.  She and I had pretty much spent half of our friendship across the table from one another at a coffee shop, so I decided to go with a cappuccino themed cake.  With chocolate.  And caramel.  Caramel swirled with ganache. And butter cream- oh god- COFFEE butter cream. 

This is what happens when I have too much time on my hands.

Chocolate Coffee 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 coffee extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees  
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl, or your trusty stand mixer. 
Pour batter into two nine inch rounds.
Bake as directed on your box mix.
When completely cool, you may wrap and freeze the layers until you are ready.

Coffee Butter Cream
Make a double recipe of my favorite butter cream but replace the vanilla with coffee extract. If you want to decorate the cake with a different color, make sure to set aside a cup of frosting before you add the coffee.

Caramel Mocha Cake Assemble
2 nine inch rounds Chocolate Coffee Cake, ideally frozen, recipe above
Double Recipe Coffee Butter ream, recipe above
1 can dulce de leche (I used nestle)
1 recipe dark chocolate ganache, prepared fresh, recipe found here 

Split 9 inch rounds in half and place the three bottom layers on plates.
Make your ganache.
Pipe a large bead of butter cream around the diameter of these three layers.
Place 1/3 of the dulce de leche in the middle of each cake layer.  Carefully spread the caramel over the cake.  You may not cover the entire surface and that is ok.

Pour 1/3 of the hot ganache over each of the cakes, on top of the caramel.
Set the cakes in the fridge until the ganache is set. 

When the layers are ready, stack the cake and frost with the remaining butter cream (a double recipe is enough for a crumb coat, a final coat, and all accents.

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