Snickers Birthday Cake

Last week was my boyfriend’s birthday. We had decided earlier this year that our birthdays would be on a budget because we are planning the trip of a lifetime in early 2014: we are going to Sweden and Norway to see the Northern Lights!!!! I am SOOOO excited! So even though I love birthdays, the holiday is worth putting them on a budget. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate at all, it just means putting in a bit more effort to make a special day for the most amazing boyfriend.

Photo courtesy of Victoria Pilcher Photography

A little while ago, Brown-Eyed Baker posted a Snickers Cake recipe. Snickers are my boyfriends favourite chocolate (well, maybe with the exception of Chuckles), so I knew it would make the perfect birthday cake! What I didn’t know at the time was how much work actually needed to go into this cake! Especially since we don’t get marshmallow fluff easily in South Africa and so every element needed to be made from scratch. I put in some serious hours, starting on the weekend and getting home from work a bit early each day so I could have a bit more time to work on the cake.

When I finally got the finished product in front of him, he was so happy and even told me that it’s better than a Snickers bar! The nougat filling tastes exactly like Snickers and the combination of salted caramel sauce, chocolate ganache and salted caramel buttercream is heavenly! I’ve since found most of the topping missing from the cake! They are also perfectly complemented by the chocolate cake which is not overly sweet (very similar to my Chocolate Sprinkles Cake). Definitely worth all the hard work for someone so special to me and such a delicious cake.

Snickers Cake
(Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Salted Caramel Sauce
400g sugar
170g unsalted butter (at room temperature and cut into pieces)
1 cup double thick cream, at room temperature
1 tbsp sea salt

  1. Place the sugar in a large pot of saucepan over a medium-high heat, whisking continuously until melted
  2. Leave the sugar to cook until it reaches 176⁰C. Keep a very close eye on it, it becomes burnt very quickly. You’re looking for a beautiful golden caramel colour.
  3. Add the butter in and whisk until dissolved. It will bubble up, but don’t worry, just keep whisking.
  4. Remove from the heat and add in the cream, whisking until dissolved. It will bubble up with the addition of the cream as well.
  5. If you’re not using straight away, allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge. You’ll need to reheat it before using it.

Marshmallow Fluff
(This recipe gave me exactly enough for the cake)

150g sugar
½ cup liquid glucose (or corn syrup if you can get your hands on it)
¼ cup water
2 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
  1. Place sugar, glucose, salt and water in a pot on a medium-high heat. Allow to boil until it reaches 115⁰C.
  2. While that is boiling, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  3. When the sugar syrup is ready, slowly pour it down the side of your egg-white bowl while beating continuously. (This can be a little tricky, I had to ask for the help of the birthday boy here).
  4. Beat until stiff glossy peaks have formed and the mixture has cooled down. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for another minute or so.

Cake
320g flour
600g sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
¾ cup vegetable oil
4½ tsp vanilla extract

  1. Prepare three 20 cm cake tins and preheat the oven to 180⁰C.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients: eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. The batter will be very liquid.
  5. Pour the batter into the tins, in as equal amounts as possible.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pans in the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes (until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean).

Nougat Filling
57g unsalted butter
200g sugar
¼ cup evaporated milk
1½ cups marshmallow fluff
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped

  1. Melt the butter over a medium heat. Add sugar and evaporated milk and stir until dissolved.
  2. Leave to cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and vanilla extract. Stir until completely smooth.
  4. Fold in the peanuts. Cool to room temperature before using for cake. Resist temptation to snack on it while cooling.

Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
113g unsalted butter, at room temperature
113g cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup salted caramel sauce (remember to heat it up and get it nice and runny before using)
256g icing sugar

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese on high speed until smooth and creamy (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add salted caramel and beat until combined (I left mine with a few bits of caramel not completely mixed and I really liked the effect).
  3. Slowly add the icing sugar, mixing on a low speed until combined. Beat for another few minutes on high speed to get a nice smooth texture.

Assembly
Additional salted caramel sauce
Chopped peanuts or Snickers

  1. Cut off tops of cakes to create nice flat top.
  2. Place first cake on serving plate and top with a layer of nougat filling. Drizzle a healthy amount of caramel sauce over this.
  3. Place second cake on top of this and top with nougat and caramel.Top with third cake.
  4. Ice the cake with the salted caramel buttercream and leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
  5. Prepare the ganache. Drizzle this over the top of the cake, making sure to let it drip over the sides. Allow this to chill in the fridge until set (about half an hour).
  6. Drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the top of the cake and sprinkle peanut bits or Snickers bits over the top.

Milk Chocolate Ganache
227g milk chocolate, finely chopped
113g heavy cream

  1. Place a pot on the stove with about 1 cm of water inside. Place a heat-proof bowl on top of this, ensuring that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
  2. Put cream and chocolate in bowl and stir continuously until you get a nice smooth, glossy mixture.
  3. To pour over the cake easily, place in a jug.
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