Birthday Quickie: Caramel Lava Chocolate Cake


This one is actually from last weekend – it’s a bit of a cheat’s birthday cake as it’s based on a packet mix and you’re really only making the salted caramel sauce and ganache. I found it in the July Good Taste magazine (from where this photo is sourced; my dodgy photograph is after the jump) and it looked like the best quick and easy option for a family birthday dinner. It’s super rich though, and the dark chocolate never goes down that well with the littlies … so in this case we had the rich dark chocolate cake for the adults, and a variation Mixed Berry version I threw together for the kids.

Unfortunately it was such a rush to get it done that the photography didn’t happen until we got to my brother’s place, and given the nine hungry faces around the table I couldn’t take that much time over it. Let me just say that the chocolate cake, in all it’s gloriously gooey richness, tasted and looked much better than it does in this pic. The “recipes” for both variations follow after the jump.

Caramel Lava Chocolate Cake

  • 2 x Betty Crocker Super Moist Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • Sea Salt flakes, to sprinkle
  • Grated dark chocolate, to decorate

Salted Caramel

  • 1-and-a-half cups caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup pouring cream
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes

Chocolate Ganache

  • 750g dark chocolate (70%), finely chopped
  • 2 cups pouring cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare and bake cakes in two 22cm cake pans following packet directions. Discard the frosting included in the box (or save it for something else). Cool cakes completely.
  2. Meanwhile, to make salted caramel, put the sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat for 3-5 minutes until the sugar dissolved. Bring to the boil, and boil for 3-5 minutes or until the caramel becomes a rich golden colour. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in cream and golden syrup. Stir in butter and sea salt until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Cool completely.
  4. To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream just to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Pour over the chocolate and let stand one minute, before stirring until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  6. Set the ganache aside until it is thick and spreadable.
  7. Trim the tops from the cakes, and halve horizontally. I use this cake leveller– it’s lifesaver as my spatial ability is (ahem) less than stellar, and without it I end up with completely crooked cake layers.
  8. Place one cake base on your serving plate. Drizzle with one-quarter of the caramel.
  9. Put the next layer on; top with one-quarter of ganache and spread. Sprinkle with a little sea salt.
  10. Repeat for the next two layers, then top with grated chocolate.

Mixed Berry Variation

This recipe is much the same, but replaces the chocolate cake mix with Betty Crocker’s Super Moist Strawberry Cake Mix, the chocolate ganache with white chocolate ganache tinted pink, and the salted caramel with a berry coulis … although you could probably substitute jam if you didn’t want to sticky moisture. I also baked it in a high top tin and while I knocked the rounded top of the cake, I only split it into two layers.

  • 2 x Betty Crocker Super Moist Strawberry Cake Mix
  • Sugarcraft roses, to decorate

Mixed Berry Coulis

  • 250g fresh or frozen berries – I had frozen blueberries, raspberries and cranberries in the freezer so used a mixture of those
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 25g cornflour
  • extra 25ml water

White Chocolate Ganache

  • 750g white cooking chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups pouring cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • few drops pink food colouring
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare the two cake mixes as one and bake according to packet directions, dropping the temperature by 10 or 20°C and allowing for an increased baking time given the bigger tin. Cool cake completely.
  2. Meanwhile, to make berry coulis, place the berries, caster sugar and water in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil.
  3. Mix the cornflour with extra water and pour into the berries quickly, while stirring. Check the consistency – you may prefer a thicker coulis, in which case you’ll need to repeat this step.
  4. Technically you should probably pass the coulis through a fine sieve to remove the seeds or skins … but I just throw mine into a blender, which i think is perfectly sufficient for this recipe.
  5. To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream just to the boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Pour over the chocolate and let stand one minute, before stirring until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla and then the food colouring, drop by drop, until the desired shade of pink is achieved..
  7. Set the ganache aside until it is thick and spreadable.
  8. Trim the tops from the cake, and halve horizontally.
  9. Place the cake base on your serving plate and drizzle with the appropriate amount of coulis.
  10. Top with the other layer, inverted so you have a smooth base for spreading the ganache.
  11. Top with sugar craft roses, or decorate as you wish.
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~ by swalloworspit on July 8, 2012.

2 Responses to “Birthday Quickie: Caramel Lava Chocolate Cake”

  1. Yum, the caramel lava cake looks fantastic! I’ll have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Blimey – there are about a million food and cooking blogs all over the young person’s interweb … a few good ones are recommended through my various posts. Thanks for reading!

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