Caramel

NICE TO KNOW

What to expect from this cake: as the title indicates, this cake is very much about caramel. But it offers more than just a conventional caramel experience, as the caramel tastes different in each layer of the cake and the tonka beans give a unique and exotic aftertaste. Enjoy it with a cup of coffee or tea
Cake is for 8 slices

CRÈME CARAMEL

  • Milk – 140 g
  • Whipping cream – 140 g
  • Powdered milk – 10 g
  • Vanilla bean – 1 pc
  • Sugar – 115 g
  • Egg yolks – 100 g
  • Gelatin powder – 4 g
  • Water for gelatin – 24 ml
  • Grand Marnier Liqueur – 35 g

PREPARATION

Makes 473 g
1. Prepare your mold for caramel crème, it should be 2 cm smaller in diameter than the main mold for the cake, as crème will be inside layer
2. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over 24 ml of cold water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until gelatin is fully soaked
3. Split vanilla bean lengthways and scrape seeds Combine the milk, cream and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 min
4. Place sugar into a heavy pan and melt it. Cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the sugar caramel reaches a dark amber color

5. Bring the milk mixture to the boil again and gradually add to the caramel, stir until fully incorporated
6. Place the egg yolks into a saucepan and shortly whisk them. Strain the caramel through a fine sieve into the egg yolks while whisking Stir over low heat until custard thickens and reach 80-83C – do not boil
7. Add drained gelatin and liqueur and stir until fully incorporated
8. Pour 120 g of crème into the mold and place it on an even surface in a freezer until its set

CRUNCH LAYER WITH STREUSEL

  • Butter – 20 g
  • Sugar – 20 g
  • Hazelnut flour – 20 g
  • Chopped roasted almonds – 15 g
  • Milk chocolate – 35 g
  • Praline paste – 40 g

PREPARATION

Makes 145 g
1. Place hazelnut flour, cubed butter, sugar and almond into a food processor. Process using a flat beater until the mixture sticks together
2. Flatten the dough slightly, wrap in plastic and chill until firm
3. Preheat oven to 160C. Cut the streusel dough into cubes and bake for 15 min, until dark color

4. Mix together milk chocolate, praline, and hot streusel until even using a spatula

CARAMEL SPONGE

  • Sugar (A) – 55 g
  • Butter – 15 g
  • Water – 20 g
  • Egg whites – 55 g
  • Sugar (B) – 55 g
  • Eggs – 20 g
  • Egg yolks – 45 g
  • Flour – 35 g
  • Almond flour – 65 g

PREPARATION

Makes 330 g
1. Preheat the oven to 160C
2. Place sugar A into a heavy pan and melt it. Cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the sugar caramel reaches dark-amber color. Add 20 g of hot water, mix caramel, add cubed butter and cook until butter is fully melted
3. Weigh the prepared caramel and add hot water until you reach 90 g
4. Meanwhile, beat egg whites with sugar B in a mixing bowl until firm peaks
5. Add eggs, egg yolks, sifted flour and almond flour to the meringue and mix until even using a spatula

6. Gradually add meringue into caramel and stir until fully incorporated – do not overdo, the dough should be airy
7. Pour 140 g of the dough into a cake pan or a mold (2 cm smaller in diameter than the main mold for the cake) even out using a spatula. Bake for 15 min
8. Leave to cool

9. Spread 145 g of streusel crunch on top of cooled caramel sponge. Level off and leave it to set in a cool area

SOFT CARAMEL 

  • Sugar – 50 g
  • Liquid glucose syrup – 40 g
  • Whipping cream – 50 g
  • Condensed milk – 30 g
  • Vanilla bean – 1 pc
  • Butter – 80 g
  • Fleur de sel – 0,5 g

PREPARATION

Makes 250 g. You will need soft caramel for the tonka beans mousse
1. Split vanilla bean lengthways and scrape seeds
2. Caramelize sugar with glucose until dark amber color. Gradually add whipping cream, condensed milk and vanilla seeds to the caramel, stir until fully incorporated
3. Weigh the prepared caramel and add hot water, until you reach 155 g, add butter and process with an immersion blender until smooth
4. Cover caramel with food wrap and keep it warm

TONKA BEANS & VANILLA MOUSSE 

  • Whipping cream (A) – 175 g 
  • Grated Tonka beans – 0,5 g
  • Soft caramel – 115 g
  • Gelatin powder – 9 g
  • Water for gelatin – 54 g
  • Whipping cream (B) – 260 g

PREPARATION

Makes 600 g
1. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over cold water, allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until gelatin is fully
soaked
2. Pour whipping cream A into a saucepan, warm up and add Tonka beans, cover saucepan with plastic wrap and leave it to infuse for 15-20 min
3. Bring whipping cream to the boil, add soaked gelatin and stir until fully dissolved. Strain cream through a fine sieve into a large bowl, add warm soft caramel, mix together using a hand whisk. Leave to cool to 25C
4. Pour whipping cream B in a mixing bowl and whisk until it forms soft peaks (always use cooled whipping cream) and mix it together with a cooled caramel cream

CARAMEL MIRROR GLAZE Step 1

  • Sugar – 200 g
  • Liquid glucose syrup – 20 g
  • Whipping cream – 195 g

PREPARATION

1. Caramelize sugar with glucose until dark amber color. Gradually add whipping cream, stir until fully incorporated

CARAMEL MIRROR GLAZE Step 2

  • Gelatin powder – 11 g
  • Water for gelatin – 66 g
  • White chocolate – 80 g
  • Water – 30 g
  • Sugar – 95 g
  • Whipping cream – 80 g
  • Liquid glucose syrup – 65 g

PREPARATION

Makes 840 g
1. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over cold water, allow to sit for 10-15 minutes until gelatin is fully soaked
2. Mix water, sugar, whipping cream and glucose in a saucepan and bring it to the boil
3. Pour hot mixture into a tall plastic glass, add soaked gelatin, milk chocolate, and caramel. Using the immersion blender process until its smooth. Be careful not to let too many bubbles since every minor imperfection will show on the surface
4. Cover with a plastic wrap over the surface, leave to set overnight in a cool area
All the excess glaze you can store in a freezer for up to 1 month and re-use it

TO ASSEMBLE

1. De-mould the frozen caramel crème and place it back into the freezer
2. Prepare your mold 18 cm in diameter and place it on an even surface (If you are using mousse ring you will have to cover one side with a plastic wrap, leave other side unwrapped. The inner surface of the ring you will have to cover with cake collar)
3. Pour 1/3 of the tonka beans mousse into the mold Place caramel crème on top of the mousse in the center

4. Pour the rest of the chocolate mousse on top of the crème
5. Place caramel sponge (with crunch layer up) on top of the mousse and gently press it down
6. Level off with a palette knife Transfer to the freezer until frozen (preferably overnight)

TO FINISH

1. De-mould the cake and return into the freezer
2. Melt the caramel glaze gently to 27-28C and process it with an immersion blender one more time (watch out for air bubbles) If your glaze is warmer than 35-36C – leave it to cool Take the cake from the freezer and place it onto a wire rack with a tray below Pour the glaze over the cake, ensuring all the sides are covered
3. Leave it to set for about 5-10 minutes and using a palette knife remove the cake from the wire rack, cut the excess glaze from the bottom of the cake with a warm knife
4. Place it on a serving dish and leave to defreeze in a cool area

For decoration, I used chocolate flower and streusel cake collar.
You can find the recipe for streusel collar here –
If you are interested in a technique how to make chocolate decorations – leave a comment!

Hope you liked the recipe and will enjoy the cake as well!

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