Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sea-Salted Butter Pecan & Caramel Milk Chocolate Cake (Flourless/Gluten-Free)

Buttery, rich and delicious. That is the best way to describe this melt-in-your mouth masterpiece. I made mine without added sugar, for a more European-style dessert, but you can add sugar to the recipe to make it a bit sweeter (see ingredients list below).

So how did this creamy caramel sensation come about?  Well, I was perusing the chocolate section in Bulk Barn the other day, and found that they had a new bin of caramel-flavoured milk chocolate pieces. Click on this link to find out where to buy these and the ingredients, as well as my review of the taste.

You can also use Valrhona's Caramelia chocolate couverture for this recipe. Learn more about this chocolate product here.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Sea-Salted Butter Pecan Caramel Milk Chocolate Cake (Flourless)

You need:
  • An 8-inch springform cake pan, lined with parchment paper (or regular cake pan, but be sure to line with parchment paper) and buttered across the bottom and up the sides.
  • 10 ounces of caramel-flavoured milk chocolate
  • 1/2 lb of butter (2 sticks) chopped into 1" pieces + an extra tsp for greasing the pan
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (optional)

For the topping:
  • 5 ounces caramel-flavoured milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Dulce de leche caramel sauce (I used the Canadian President's Choice brand from the grocery store because it is thick enough to decorate with)
  • Roasted pecans (roasted in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes, sprinkled with a little salt and olive oil)
  • A pinch of chunky sea salt

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Melt together the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler (a pot with 1" of nearly simmering water), while stirring constantly.  Or in a microwave-safe dish for 1 minute.  Stir until fully melted.
  3. If you are adding sugar, add the 1/2 and stir before adding the eggs.
  4. Add all four eggs at once and mix with a hand mixer or immersion (handheld) blender.
  5. Add the salt and mix again for just a few seconds.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan.
  7. If using a springform pan, you may want to place your cake pan on a cookie or pizza pan prior to baking. Bake on the middle rack for about 25 minutes.  The middle should look less cooked than the outside edges, for a nice smooth centre, although not jiggly. Let cool in the oven for 15 minutes with the door open.
  8. Let cool on the counter for 1 to 2 hours, then refrigerate until cooled. (about 2 hours in the fridge)
  9. Once chilled, invert onto a serving plate and prepare your topping.

To prepare the caramel-flavoured milk chocolate ganache topping: 
  1. Place your 5 ounces of chocolate and the cream into a microwave safe bowl. 
  2. Melt together for 55 seconds in the microwave.  Remove and stir until smooth.  Microwave for 5 second intervals until it can stir smooth. 
  3. Pour the mixture over the cake and spread to the edges.  Either push it so it drips over a little all around the cake, or push more over the edges and use a small offset spatula to smooth out the sides.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes until cooled and set.
  5. Top the cake with your roasted pecans and sprinkle lightly with chunky sea salt. Place your caramel sauce in a small plastic snack bag or decorator bag and cut just the tip off.  With swirling motions, decorate the top of the cake as you please.

Chill completely before serving.  Slice cold with a hot knife (heat under hot water, but dry with a paper towel before cutting).

Enjoy the buttery goodness!

Top with extra ganache set at room temperature for 8 hours and squeezed through the corner of a plastic bag. Sprinkle sea salt and pecans and add caramel sauce for delicious sweetness!

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