Chocolate, Honey, Whiskey Cake with Figs and Salted Caramel

Oh! Sweet Citrus turns one! I’m almost as excited as I was when Baby boy turned one. I’m also super excited about this cake, the only thing I’m not so excited about is these pictures; it was a cloudy, rainy day and I was feeling surprisingly uninspired, just one of those days I guess. At some point in the near future I will make this cake again and update this post with better pictures but this cake is so so good I absolutely had to share it now.

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So yeah, one year! Exactly a year ago today, I published my first recipe. I thought my blog would basically be a collection of my recipes, the food I like to eat and cook and it definitely is that but it means so much more than just a recipe book to me, it has become a part of me, my food, my life, my craziness, my thoughts and experiences, it also has my heart and I’ve pretty much laid bare my soul here and of course none of it has been easy. I’m not a very confident person by nature, over the years I’ve learnt to pretend to be confident but I’m really not, I’m also not very good at voicing and sharing my feelings so the thought of putting myself out there for the world to see, comment and pass judgment on was terrifying to say the least. To add to that I’m pretty tech challenged and lack photography skills, both of which are imperative to starting a blog and especially a food blog. But I did it anyway because sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and thankfully a year later I don’t regret any of it, I’m glad I did it. I’m not where I would’ve liked to be a year on and that’s all on me, I’ve been inconsistent at best and apparently even the blogosphere requires major social skills, which I’m so desperately lacking in but I’m also not where I was a year ago and that’s a good thing.  So the goal for this year is to try (definitely) to be more consistent and also try (maybe) to be a little more social. Oh! Sweet Citrus also needs a new updated look so if any of you have ideas, can guide me or better yet just do it for me, I promise you free food for an entire year.

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Although my blog is only a year old, I’ve been cooking for much longer and all experiments require a subject(s). Over the years I’ve made many of family and friends guinea pigs and each one of them has been such a sport. For every recipe that looks and tastes good, there’s been a whole lot that has had to be trashed because it was just that inedible and all these people still had to taste it so I knew what I was doing wrong. So a big big thanks to all of you starting with my brother in law who lived with us in Bombay after I got married; he probably had it the worst as that was the time I actually took my first steps in the kitchen and yet the poor boy never once complained. Rishi bana, I’m sorry you had to go through that; I can only hope my cooking in the recent past has made up for it. Then came Dubai and we were so lucky that our closest friends Judy and Mohsen stayed on the same floor as us. They were part of a lot of my experiments and I will always be grateful for the honest and constructive feedback I got from them, I should also mention my neighbor and friend Geetali from whom I was constantly borrowing ingredients that I would just randomly think of.  And finally our lifeline in Jakarta, our dearest friends Mamta and Neeraj who lived just two floors away from us; I treated their kitchen and their home as mine and these two had to put up with sooo many of my food experiments, thank you guys and I wish you guys were still around, there’s no one I would rather celebrate this milestone with. I have a long list of people I would like to thank for constantly encouraging me, my sister Pink, tops the list; but also all my friends, some of whom I haven’t met since school which was 15 years ago, they always like and comment on my food through social media and messages and I want to thank each one of them, please know that every like and comment of yours means something and I truly appreciate it. I’m also amused that my family is proud of me for putting up a few recipes, but it’s also sweet and I love all of them for it. Finally my boys, the husband and Baby boy for putting up with my food, my madness, my meltdowns and my tantrums 24×7 and still encouraging me; they are my biggest and harshest critics and my strongest supporters.

OK let’s talk cake; it’s all that matters anyway. I feel, for any celebration to be complete it requires three things – cake, chocolate and alcohol, not necessarily in that order; this cake (recipe courtesy this fabulous blog)not only has all three, it also has honey, coffee, figs and caramel, not just caramel – salted caramel and believe me when I tell you, IT IS THE BOMB! This is the cake you want for your birthday or anniversary or just because you’re having an exceptionally good day or bad day or just any day. The cake itself is not the usual sponge, its dark, dense and fudgy and yet quite easy on the palette; it has a few more ingredients than usual but fear not the super simple process more than makes up for it, also your kitchen will smell like a dream, aromas that are a heady mix of dark chocolate, amber whiskey, bitter cocoa and coffee, poetic really. Although I’m not a fan of buttercream, it just works so well here as the cake is not too sweet and the salted caramel buttercream flavoured with more whiskey is just the perfect coating for this cake.

Thanks to all your love and support, it’s been a good birthday for Oh! Sweet Citrus.

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Ingredients

For the Cake

  • All purpose flour/maida – 2 cups
  • Unsalted butter – 225 grams (softened)
  • Caster sugar – 1 cup
  • Honey – ½ cup
  • Eggs – 3 (large)
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Whiskey – 1 cup
  • Dark chocolate – 150 grams
  • Cocoa powder – 4 tbsp
  • Coffee – 4 tbsp
  • Boiling water – ½ cup
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
  • Fresh figs – 3-4 for garnish (optional)

 For the Salted Caramel

  • Brown sugar- 1 cup
  • Salted butter- 75 grams
  • Heavy cream/whipping cream- 250ml
  • Salt- ¼ – ¾ tsp

 For the Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted butter – 250 grams (softened)
  • Powdered sugar/icing sugar – 2 cups (sifted)
  • Salted caramel – 1/3 cup
  • Whiskey – 2-3 tbsp (optional)

 Instructions

  1. Grease and line two 7 inch round cake tins. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Melt the chocolate, in a microwave or over a double boiler, let cool. To the boiling water, add the coffee and cocoa, stir to dissolve, keep aside to cool.  In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, stir to mix and keep aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if using a hand mixer,
  • add butter and beat till smooth
  • add the eggs and vanilla; beat again
  • add the sugar and honey; beat to incorporate
  • add the melted chocolate; beat to mix
  • add the whiskey, cocoa-coffee mix and the flour mix and beat till you have a smooth batter.
  1. Divide the batter equally between the two cake tins. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the baked cakes rest for 5-10 minutes before removing from the tin. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.

 For the Salted Caramel

  1. Heat brown sugar and butter in a medium pan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture starts to bubble, cook for a minute. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream until smooth. Add ¼ tsp salt and stir to mix. Let the caramel cool, taste and add more salt if required.

 For the Salted Buttercream Frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if using a hand mixer, whip the softened butter till fluffy and creamy. Add the salted caramel and mix; slowly add the sugar and beat till smooth and creamy, add the whiskey and mix. Add more sugar if required to get a thick but spreadable consistency

 To assemble – cut each of the cooled cakes lengthwise to get 4 layers. Spread butter cream on one layer, drizzle about 2 tbsp of the caramel on the frosting, place the next layer of cake on top and repeat till all four layers are frosted. Spread buttercream on the top and sides of the cake. Drizzle some caramel on the finished cake and top with fresh figs. Serve the remaining caramel to pour over slices of cake.

Notes

*Have all the ingredients measured out and ready to go to make the process easier.

*The cakes can be made ahead of time. Wrap the cooled cakes tightly in plastic wrap and store     in a cool room or in the refrigerator.

*The frosting can also be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Let the frosting thaw at room temperature. Whip again to make it nice and fluffy before using.

*Add salt to the caramel a little at a time. Depending on the salt in the butter, you might need a little more or less. Let the caramel cool before tasting, sugar can get seriously hot and burn you.

*If melting chocolate in the microwave, do it on the lowest setting and in 30-40 second bursts.

*Use any whiskey you like, it doesn’t have to be an expensive one since you’re cooking with it. The whiskey can be replaced with dark rum.

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