Sponge Cake Layers
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 cup (162g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (112g) sifted cake flour (SUBSTITUTE 95g plain flour + 17g cornflour (cornstarch) sifted together
pinch of salt
1. Position the racks in the middle of the oven and set it at 400 F (200 C).
2. Cut off a piece of baking paper, long enough to cover the entire area of the baking tray.
3. Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup (81g), confectioner’s (icing) sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted a few inches above the batter, about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don’t have a mixer.)
4. In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/3 cup (81g) of confectioner’s (icing)sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large rubber spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.
5. Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet, using a spatula to spread evenly. The mixture is adequate for covering 4 large rectangular baking trays. Don’t be concerned if the mixture is not spread out 100% evenly.
6. Bake sponge layer for approximately 5 minutes, or until the top starts to puff up and adopt a golden brown colour. Remove from the oven, place another piece of baking paper to cover the top of the layer and flatten with another baking tray. This ensures that the layer is even. Allow to cool and repeat above processes for the remaining mixture.
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) superfine sugar
4oz (110g) 72% cocoa bakers chocolate, finely chopped
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (250g) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1. Prepare a double-boiler: quarter-fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.
3. Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken a bit. Whisk in the finely chopped chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes. (For this process, I would recommend getting someone to help. By the time I was done, my arm felt as if it was going to fall off)
4. Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.
5. When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece (about 2 tablespoons/30g) at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.
1 cup (200g) superfine Sugar
Stir the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat without stirring
Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel, about 160°C/320°F
Tip: Don't let it leave your sight, it changes to caramel very quickly and becomes dark and bitter even faster
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly so it thickens a bit
Using a teaspoon, drizzle or pour the caramel onto the parchment or silicon mat, making patterns within each of the circles
Allow to harden
Recipe adapted from www.eatshowandtell.com