20 April 2013

NIgella Challenge: Butterscotch Layer Cake

"This is the sort of cake that people label 'very rich' but then go on to have three slices with langerous ease. Yes, it is rich, but the gorgeousness is never palate-cluttering or cloying. It makes a comforting pudding after a wintry kitchen supper..." 
~Nigella Lawson~

Does anything else need to be said? Don't you want to run to your kitchen and start right away? I've already made it and I want to!

It is quite a lengthy cake to make, but don't be put off. It is much less complicated than it seems and is well worth it at the end.

P.S. This one is for Jules, a loyal follower and fellow Nigella lover and domestic goddess. 

  • 300g caster sugar
  • 125ml cold water
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 400g cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 225g unsalted butter, soft
  • 125g light muscovado (or brown) sugar
  • 100g golden caster sugar (you can use ordinary)
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2-4 tbsp thickened cream

Preheat oven 190C. Line the base and grease the sides of 2 x 21cm round sandwich tins.

Start with the icing as it needs to cool. Dissolve the sugar in the water over a low heat, remembering not to stir (will crystallise if you do). Once dissolved, turn up heat and bring to boil. Boil (without stirring) until golden. This takes awhile, 10-15 minutes or so, and you'll need to watch it closely. But as Nigella says: "And try not to be faint-hearted: caramel has to be burnt; it wouldn't be caramel otherwise."
Take pan off heat and whisk in cream. Keep whisking until smooth. Put back on heat for a minute, whisking continuously. Set aside to cool.

P.S. I did overcook my caramel, and nobody noticed! Kitchen wisdom #1: if you don't tell them, they probably won't notice.

You can make this cake using a food processor: place all cake ingredients (except cream) into processor and whiz til smooth and combined. Process again while adding 2 tbsp cream. Check mixture and add more if necessary. It should be "dropping consistency" - a little runny, but not liquid.

To make without a processor: cream the butter and sugars in an electric mixer, add eggs one at a time followed by a tbsp of flour. Turn to mixer speed to low and slowly add flour. The consistency should be as above, and you should add cream accordingly.

Divide batter between cake tins and bake for 25 minutes. It's cooked when a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the middle. Cool in tins for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For filling, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth. Add 1 cup of the caramel, beating gently to combine. Place first cake on serving plate and spread over half the icing; top with second cake. Spread over remaining icing, and using a teaspoon drizzle over some of the remaining caramel. Nigella tells us to "think Jackson Pollock". Don't feel you need to use all the caramel, save a little to drizzle over ice-cream later.