Monday, December 5, 2011

Chocolate Mocha Cake with Caramel-Pecan Filling

Secret Recipe Club reveal day is becoming my favorite blogging activity of the month.  It's so nice to have waves of affirmation and sweet words of praise wash over the labor of my hands!  Thanks in advance for your kind comments.  I soak up each one like a loofah sponge. 

This month, I was assigned to Dee of Deelicious Sweets.  More challenging than deciding what to make from her blog was weeding out what not to make.  The girl has some goodies on her site!  

Dee hails from St. Louis, Missouri where she used to have her own bakery/shop. She gave it up because it was taking more of her than she felt she had to give away; her family was deprived of her presence and attention. (Personal sacrifice = epitome of mothering awesomeness.)  Therefore, she started the blog to share her "deeliciousness" with the world.  

Dee and her husband have two kids.  She home-schools (awesome).  She does yoga (awesome). In face, she is so amazing at yoga that she took over the studio when her instructor went out of town earlier this month; she taught 12 classes in a week!

(Dee, I'm giving you a standing ovation from right here at my computer desk.) 

Dee and I share a love for a soul-anchoring kitchen quote by Michael Pollan:  “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” 


My great-grandma would definitely recognize this.  And she would dang near run you down with her 1958 Plymouth Belvedere if you didn't share it like a proper lady should!
So how did I come to select this particular chocolaty masterpiece?

Toil, sweat, and tears, I tell you.  It wasn't easy.

First I saw Dee's Mocha Chocolate Cake and thought, "Oh yeah.  This is the one."

But I flat-out stink at cake decorating.

However, I couldn't stop thinking about the ingredients of that cake.  They are almost exactly the same as my favorite chocolate cake; I knew it would taste wonderful. 

And then I saw it:  Dee's "Everything's Going to Be Alright" cake.

It spoke to me. 

So I swapped out the Chocolate Mocha Cake recipe for the batter in the "Everything's Going to Be Alright" cake. And voila!  This deliciousness was born.

Here's how I did it:

Sift together flour, cocoa (I used mostly Special Dark cocoa because I ran out of the other), salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

This, incidentally, is what my yard looked like this summer after a few 113 degree days.

Mix together sugar and two eggs (one's hiding).

Oh how I love food action shots.

Yes I do.

I added a bit of canola oil, the process of which I was maddeningly 
unable to capture on photograph.

Then I alternatively added in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. 

Until it looked something like deeeeees

Grease a 13 x 11-inch* baking dish with a shockingly liberal amount of butter.  
(Don't forget the parchment paper.  You will hug yourself at clean-up time.)

Pour only half of the batter into the dish.
This is so beautiful, it's almost scandalous. 
Bake that half of the cake for 22-23 minutes at 350 degrees.

While that's baking, make the caramel-pecan filling.
I unwrapped 42 bazillion caramels.
And I ate 41 bazillion caramels in the process. 

But with the remaining candies,
I added evaporated milk and heated them gently until melted and thickened.

Once again:  scandal in a saucepan. 

Add some chopped pecans,

and mix well.

Remove the cake from the oven and...are you ready for this?

Bow bow.  Chick.  Chicka-chicka.

To further add to the caloric storm, please toss 2 cups of semisweet (or bittersweet!) 
chocolate chips on top of the caramel...


Bake for another 25-30 minutes.

Sit on your hands as you let it cool for at least 30-45 minutes.  

Once cool, cut into 24 squares. 

Then, make a ganache, if desired.
A good ganache (a thick chocolate glaze, filling, or icing) is made by heating cream...

and then adding chocolate to it...

and stirring it all together...

until it turns into this gorgeousness.

Now, back to our little chocolately lover.

I went for the easy clean-up route and put some of the ganache into a zip-lock bag, 
snipped a corner off, and...

applied it!

Then I added a petite pile of pecans and sprinkled the whole shebang with powder sugar.

And then I shut the drapes and ate all 24 bars.  
No regrets.  

Please go visit Dee at her lovely and "deelicious" blog!

I did some Frankenstein-ish surgery to Dee's recipes, but everything comes from her blog.  I just had to rework the ingredient list and instructions to support the use of the Chocolate Mocha cake recipe in her "Everything's Going to Be Alright" cake.  

*I think a 13x9-inch baking dish would work here...just keep an eye on it for overflow while baking.  To be on the safe side, set a baking sheet beneath the baking dish.

Chocolate Mocha Cake with Caramel-Pecan Filling
Yields 24 bars

1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa (preferably Dutch-processed)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel-Pecan Filling
Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 (14 oz) bag caramels
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans

2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Toppings (Optional) 
Dark Chocolate Ganache
Powdered Sugar
Melted Caramel (for drizzling)
"Turtle" candies
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter or spray a 13x11-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.  Butter the parchment paper and set dish aside.

      Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Reserve.

      In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored.  Beat in vegetable oil.  Alternately add dry ingredients with buttermilk, scraping the bowl once or twice.  Add the coffee and vanilla to form a thin batter. 

      Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 22 minutes.  Refrigerate remaining batter.

      While the first half of the cake is baking, in a 1-quart saucepan, heat caramels and evaporated milk over medium heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted. Stir in pecans. 

      Remove cake from oven.  Pour caramel sauce over warm cake.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Spread with remaining batter.  Bake 25 to 28 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen cake. Cool at least 30 minutes.

      Before serving, drizzle the top with chocolate ganache, pecans, and powdered sugar.  To really be over-the-top, add a turtle candy to each piece of cake.  Store loosely covered.  (This cake (without the toppings) freezes well.) 

      Recipe by Dee of Deelicious Sweets


      Lesa @Edesia's Notebook said...

      Oh my. Yum! What a masterpiece!

      Cookaholic Wife said...

      Oh wow. That looks amazing. I love caramel and chocolate together.

      Unknown said...

      Beautiful job! I love that you used the Chocolate Mocha cake recipe. That cake is pure awesomeness! Thanks so much for your sweet words :) I am now a follower of your blog.

      Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z said...

      The picture says it all! What a fabulous recipe.Great tutorial ..

      Jess Wakasugi {Life's Simple Measures} said...

      Wow, that cake is MOUTHWATERING. I love how rich and dark it looks, and also super moist. Eek, this could be a dangerous one. Great recipe! Pinned!

      Melissa @IWasBornToCook said...

      I jumped right to your post from all the thumbnails...loving chocolate these days...this looks SO good!

      Danielle said...

      Holy cow! I can see why you chose this one for sure (:

      Lisa said...

      I think I've died and gone to chocolate heaven.

      Isabelle @ Crumb said...

      I think I just gained 10 lbs just from looking at all those chocolatey-delicious photos. Swoon.
      I don't even want imagine how many pounds I'd gain if I actually baked this cake... especially since I'd probably eat the whole thing in one sitting and snarl at anyone who tried to grab a bite. Unwrapping caramels would burn some calories, though, right? ;)

      Annie said...

      okay seriously, you cannot do this to me! i want to eat your blog. :) and you are hilarious! i love everything about your blog. bravo!

      Astrid said...

      yo made me laugh so hard while reading your post! just hilarious!
      I love this choc bars! I am sure they will make an appearance in my kitchen soon!

      Lisa said...

      OMG, Ginny, what a pick and as mentioned above, what a masterpiece! Anything with caramel is manna to me..especially chocolate! I will be officially lusting after this cake the rest of the

      Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

      Um, wow. That cake looks absolutely sinful! I needed a glass of milk reading your post. :)

      Angie - Big Bears Wife said...

      what a wonderful little cake

      Eva said...

      It looks fabulous, I'd love to try this recipe for Xmas! Please know that your each-step-picture is not annoying as you mentioned in one of your recipes, I think it's wonderful to check visually if all is being done properly! Thanks a lot for sharing your recipes in such a pleasant way!

      Anonymous said...

      Someone had posted this recipe on Facebook recently and I made two pans, one to send in with my husband and the other for my work Christmas luncheon. I didn't taste it myself because I'm not allowed sugar, but the time it took for the cake to disappear and the rave reviews proved that this one is a keeper. One thing I did differently is that I put a full layer of ganache on top of the cake, and then drizzled with caramel. I also made vanilla ice cream available. I heard a lot of oh my gosh'es. : )