Monthly Archives: June 2013

Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie-Cake-Candy- Delicious Thing

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It was Alan’s birthday and i wanted to make a cake. i did. i wanted to make the best cake ever, but i was soooo jetlagged, stumbling around the kitchen, the house, my life, blindly, wondering once again, how the hell did i get from san francisco and new york city to waterlooville. how did it happen? i asked the dogs. they were so happy to have me  home, but understood my question. suggested a nice long walkies to cheer up.

But when we got back i still couldn’t decide on what kind of birthday cake to make. I opened Amanda Hesser’s New York Times Cookbook, and settled on a salted caramel tart by pastry chef Claudia Fleming which i then proceeded to kind of destroy in forumulation, and yes i did end up with a very different result, totally different result, but i’d like to believe that both Claudia and Amanda would approve. Because truly: it was awesome. AWESOME. so delicious. and so unique that i still can’t figure out if its a pie, cake, candy, or just a big delicious thing. Big delicious BIRTHDAY thing.

(Several things: one, a confession: yes, i–i who do not approve of, i who has been k nown to throw the stuff away even if i find it in other peoples refrigerators, i used about a third of vegetable spread instead of all butter. it was in the fridge (purchased while i was away, i hadn’t gotten around to throwing it out yet) and i figured that by stretching the butter a bit i wouldn’t have to make the trek to the supermarket). two: the coca powder i used was valrhona, i think it is the most chocolatey, deeply darkly delicious of cocoa powders. and i had it on hand. 3. the cream i used was double cream. the creme fraiche was actually fat free. it was what i had, it was fine, i’m sure the regular full-fat version will be good too. or stay with fat free…….or use greek yogurt).

Chocolate Salted Caramel Big Birthday Cake-Pie

Makes 9 inch cake pan (though you will need two pans to make the one cake)


5 tablespoons salted butter

3 tablespoons vegetable spread

1/2 cup plus one tablepoon or two of confectioners sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1-2 teaspoons creme fraiche

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup flour


1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup granulated light brown sugar (muscovado, or similar)

1/4 cup Golden Syrup (gives that buttery caramelly taste)

5 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons vegetable spread

1/2 cup double cream or heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons cream fraiche

Several pinches good sea salt or kosher salt

Chocolate Ganache Topping

4 ounces dark chocolate (65-70%)

1/2 cup heavy whipping or double cream

Dough layer:

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter and vegetable spread (i used a microwave) then beat in the rest of dough ingredients (i used a wooden spoon).

Press into the bottom of 2 cake tins (don’t bother with the sides.). Bake until mixture is no longer liquidy, about 10 minutes; it will be soft but no longer liquidy. Remove from oven and let cool.


In a heavy saucepan ( i used calphalon nonstick) over low to medium heat, melt the sugars together with the golden syrup, stirring until they totally melt, start bubbling, turn a reddish brown. Remove from heat, and add the rest of the ingredients, (it will bubble over) stirring until it is smooth but still has some unmelted sugar lumps. Pour the caramel into the two crust-lined pans and leave to cool.

Put it together.

When the pies are coolish, take one of them, and, using a spatula, remove as much of the pie as you can, crust and caramel from the pan and place it on top of the crust and caramel in the other pan. Repeat until you have ONE pan filled with crust and caramel and ONE empty pan which you will probably find yourself licking for any errant bits of crust and caramel. Chill to firm up a bit.

For the Ganache:

Melt the chocolate and cream in either a microwave or on top of the stove; mix well with a spoon, then pour this chocolatey cream over the top of the fill crust and caramel pan, and spread it in a thick layer. Cover with cling film or parchment paper and chill until ready to serve.

To serve: cut into small wedges, and if you like, sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt.