Monday, April 8, 2013

Chocolate-Caramel "Poke Cake" With Homemade Toffee

Of all the beautiful features possessed by my grandmother,

I most fondly remember her elbows.  

The abundantly padded skin of her upper arm enveloped the joint like a down-filled duvet.  Warm.  Soft.  Safe. 

She used to make this cake.  I stood at her side--directly at the height of her elbows--and memorized every motion.

Those memories are as luscious as golden caramel.

And twice as sweet.

Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart. --Haruki Murakami

Paradoxically true, Mr. Murakami. 

(The chocolate cake is soaked through with sweetened condensed milk and caramel.  Topped with fresh whipped cream and chopped toffee.  How sweet it is!)

Welcome to this month's "reveal date" for the Secret Recipe Club.  I was assigned to the well-stocked blog of Jenna, author of "Jenna's Cooking Journey".  Jenna started her blog while she and her husband lived in Montana.  They moved to New Jersey last summer, and, according to her "About Me" page, she is enjoying having more ingredients at her disposal (I can completely relate!).  She has a fantastic number of recipes to choose from on her blog.   Her original post for this recipe named the dessert "Better Than Sex Cake".  It's a fun, catchy name!  Once I started poking the cake, though, I was flooded with the memory of watching my grandma prepare it and so I had to call it what she did: a "poke cake".   (Yes -- my immature 7th grade mind is snickering at that name, too.)  

You can fiddle with the ingredients as much as you like.  Swap out the type of cake (I used gluten-free chocolate) for your favorite flavor, use hot fudge sauce instead of the caramel, Heath Bars or your favorite candy for the topping, etc.  

Thanks, Jenna, for having such a great blog!  Happy Reveal Day!

Chocolate-Caramel "Poke Cake" with Homemade Toffee
Makes an incredibly rich 13" x 9" cake

1 (18 to 20 ounce) box of cake mix, prepared according to directions
2 (15-ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
12 ounces caramel sauce, warmed slightly to facilitate pouring (or substitute hot fudge sauce)
8 ounces heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup homemade toffee, roughly chopped (substitute 3 Heath Bars, if desired)

Bake the cake according to package instructions in a well-greased 13" x 9" pan.  As soon as it is done and you remove it from the oven, poke the cake all over with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Then pour the sweetened condensed milk slowly over the cake.  You can re-poke the cake with a skewer at this point, if desired, to further absorption.  Cover the cake with foil and allow it to sit at room temperature until completely cool.  

Warm caramel (in the microwave or in a saucepan of water) and pour it slowly over the surface of the cake (warmed caramel is much easier to pour).  Use an offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly over the surface of the cake, if desired.

Cover cake well with foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream with the honey just until stiff peaks form.  Spread over the top of the cake with an offset spatula.  Sprinkle the chopped toffee (or Heath Bars) over the whipped cream and serve.  

(Store in refrigerator.)


Lisa said...

I think I've died and gone to heaven. No, I KNOW I've died and gone to heaven. Words cannot describe that cake!

wendyweekendgourmet said...

Yummy...I want a slice now! It looks rich, but amazing. Great SRC pick...

Cookaholic Wife said...

^ I agree with Lisa. I'm practically drooling over here.

Melissa @IWasBornToCook said...

LOVE this cake! Yum.

Lesa @ Edesias Notebook said...

Amazing! I make a similar poke cake but the sweetened condensed milk and homemade toffee on yours trump it by far! This would be a very dangerous thing to have hanging around the house!


Cooking Rookie said...

wow, that's indulgence :-)

Isabelle @ Crumb said...

Oh my goodness! I think I may have gained a zillion pounds just from looking at these photos... this cake looks too decadent for words.
I'm totally saving this recipe for the next time I have company coming over for dinner. No way I'm making this when it's just the two of us at home, because then I'd just eat the whole darned thing by myself! :)

Lisa~~ said...

Such sweet memories and such a sweet cake, beautiful all around.

If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my SRC entry: Laura Goodenough's Apple Coffee Cake


shelley c. said...

That looks sinfully delicious! And so funny that I chose the same recipe you chose last month - and made the same modifications for the same dietary reasons! Small world indeed!!

Unknown said...

Wow - what an amazing recipe - one I HAVE to make!

Unfortunately my post missed the blog hop due to tech issues… is the link as I'd hate for people to miss seeing Aly's recipe and her wonderful blog -

Kirstin said...

WOWSA! That looks really good and really sweet. Yum! I'm a fellow SRC member, Group D

Camilla M. Mann said...

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I had no idea what a poke cake was. Now I do. Thanks...and thanks for sharing this with the SRC. When I'm in the mood for something deliciously decadent, I know just what to make.

Amanda said...

This looks insanely good!!! Going to be hard to not swing by the store on the way home. Great SRC pick

Unknown said...

Looks so gooey and yummy! A very comforting cake!

Sawsan@chef in disguise said...

This cake should really come with a warning, not for the faint of heart!

Elizabeth said...

Yum- great SRC pick!

sarah k @ the pajama chef said...

mm, this cake is sooo good! great SRC pick!

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