It’s officially fall. As soon as that happens I start thinking about desserts and sweets. Maybe it’s because the temperatures fall and I don’t mind firing up the oven. Maybe it’s because I just love desserts! Whatever the reason, The Dude and I are going to visit some of my college friends for a “Last Picnic of the Season” and I volunteered to bring dessert.
I’ve been thinking about it all week, and I wanted to come up with something new. I love chocolate, caramel and nuts (who doesn’t!), but I didn’t want to make the same old Turtle Cake with chocolate cake. So, I’m making a caramel cake filled with a caramel cream and toasted pecans, then drenched in a chocolate ganache. I’m calling it the New Turtle Cake. Not very original, I know. Send me your recommendations for a new name for this incredibly delicious (hopefully!) dessert. Just a note on this – I made the cake over two days. I wanted to get the caramel cream nice and set before I assembled the cake.
The New Turtle Cake
- 8 oz. sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2-3/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine sour cream and milk, set aside. Cream butter and gradually add sugars, beating well at medium speed. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Mix well after each addition. Add vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold into batter.
Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 9 inch cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until they test done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out on to wire rack and cool completely.
Caramel Cream Filling
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups cold heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
- 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
Heat sugar and 4 teaspoons of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue to cook without stirring until it becomes a very deep amber. Carefully add 1 cup of cream, whisking. Whisk in milk.
Put gelatin and 6 tablespoons of water into a small bowl and let stand until gelatin has softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Prepare an ice water bath and set aside. Whisk egg yolks until caramel mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture registers 165 degrees. Add gelatin and whisk until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a bowl set in the ice water bath. Let cool stirring occasionally until thickened.
Beat remaining cup of cream until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the caramel cream. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- 9 oz. bittersweet chocolate pieces (best quality you can find)
- 1 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Microwave (or heat on the stove) the heavy cream until it just comes to a boil. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until melted. Let the ganache cool slightly before pouring over the cake.
Putting it all together: You’ll need about one cup of chopped pecans and a handful of whole pecans.
On your cake plate put your first cake layer. On top of the layer, dollop large quantities of the caramel cream and spread over the top of the entire layer. You will have lots of caramel cream left over. Grab a spoon, put your favorite romantic comedy movie on, and finish the rest! Or, if you want to get really fancy you could pipe the rest of the cream over the finished cake. I didn’t do that, since we were traveling with the cake. But next time, I think I’ll try that. I guess I’ll just have to dig out my old DVD of When Harry Met Sally and finish the cream this time.
Sprinkle chopped pecans over the top of the caramel cream. Top with the second cake layer. Pour the cooled chocolate ganache over the cake (starting in the center) and top with whole pecans.
I’ll be serving this up later today and will report back with the outcome. Not to be too overconfident, but I think I’ve come up with a winner here!
The cake was amazing. The cake was dense, moist, so flavorful. The caramel cream was just the right amount of sweetness. And the bittersweet chocolate ganache was awesome. I knew I hit it out of the park when Alex, our hostess, turned to me and said, “I want to marry you.” Then, our friend Tim took a bite and just said, “Oh, God!”