Caramel Chocolate Mini Cakes

I got fun baby cake pans and I was itching to try them out. They turned out so cute, plus it let me try a few new things on each one. It turned out to be much more sensible than making a large cake to take over to a friend's for dinner. There were only 4 of us so the little cake was the perfect size and seemed less imposing to bring over. Plus mini things are always fun.

I made a chocolate cake and put homeade caramel frosting inside
 the layers and then frosted the outside with chocolate frosting.
THIS chocolate frosting is to die for, it spreads so beautifully and
 is shiny and oh so smooth, will make again!
And I love that it doesn't have a bunch of powdered sugar in it.
How fun would it be to just give one of these to someone for fun!

These are the way I decroated the 3 mini cakes:

ombre cake with white nonpareils and espresso sprinkles
ombre was fun, but a little hard on such a small cake, I needed a baby spatula

giant sprinkles and cocoa nibs

edible glitter and cocoa nibs

 Chocolate Caramel Cake:
It made three 4" chocolate cakes
adapted from here

chocolate cake:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup hot strongly brewed coffee
2 eggs; room temp, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla

1   preheat oven to 350, spray pans and shake cocoa powder around in them
2   in a large bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients
3   then in another bowl mix together the rest of the ingredients
4   pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix only until incorporated
5   pour batter into pans about 3/4 full and bake for 25-30 minutes, toothpick should come out clean
6   repeat until the batter is all used up- mine filled up 5 4" pans
7   let cool and then cut each cake in 1/2 to allow for more filling to be iced in between

salted caramel frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
generous pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 cups butter; room temp
4 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla

1   in a saucepan add 1/2 cup + 2 tbs sugar and the water, heat over medium heat until it boils, stir occassionally
2   then with a pastry brush, or paper towel, wet down the sides of the saucepan so that sugar doesn't crystalize on it
3   Stop stirring and let it sit until it turns dark amber, you can gently swirl it a few times
4   then remove from heat and stir in the cream, it will bubble
5   then stir in the sea salt and vanilla, let cool
6  while it cools, beat the butter in until it is a pale yellow, 3-5 minutes
7   in a double broiler add the egg whites and the res of the sugar, don't cook the egg whites you just want to stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove immediatley
8   beat the egg white/sugar mixture until stiff peaks form
9   reduce the speed to low and add 1/2 cup at a time of the butter
10 then add in the caramel and mix it in well

This stuff is crazy good!

chocolate fudge frosting:
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups butter; room temp
1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup - 1 cup chocolate chips; melted and cool (depends on how chocolatey you want it, I did 1/2 cup)

1   mix the cocoa powder and boiling water together to dissolve the powder
2   beat the butter, powdered sugar, and salt until it is pale yellow, 3-5 minutes
3   put on low speed and add in the melted chocolate
4   then beat in the cocoa powder/water mixture


1   take a layer of cake and then generously spread the caramel frosting on it
2   place another layer of cake on and repeat, top it off with one final cake layer
3   then frost it with the chocolate frosting and decorate as you please :)

homeade caramel sauce- it is so lucky it made it into the frosting and not all into my stomach!

all good chocolate cakes have espresso in them!

awesome new tip I learned: when making chocolate cakes dust
 the cake pans with cocoa powder instead of flour so that they
don't have white on them when you pop them out :)

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