Blow your guests away with this (deceptively easy) extravagant showstopper of a cake.
180 grams butter, softened but not melted
2 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup instant espresso coffee powder
¾ cup boiling water
3 cups self-raising flour
¾ cup dark Dutch cocoa powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, size 7
Salted caramel icing
150 grams butter, at room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
¾ cup Salted Caramel Sauce (see recipe here)
½ cup sour cream
½ cup Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup purchased salted caramel popcorn, to garnish
Grease 2 x 22cm cake tins and line the bases and sides with baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Put the butter and brown sugar in a food processor and whizz until pale and fluffy. Whisk the espresso powder with the boiling water and set aside to cool slightly.
Add the flour and cocoa to the butter mixture and pulse to combine. Add the vanilla, buttermilk, eggs and cooled coffee and whizz just until thick and smooth. Divide evenly between the prepared tins and bake 35–40 minutes or until the centres spring back when lightly pressed.
Once cool, remove from the tins and use a serrated knife to even the tops of the cakes, and to slice each cake in half.
Salted caramel icing: Beat the butter in a food processor until pale and fluffy, add the icing sugar and Salted Caramel Sauce and beat to combine. Divide the icing and put three-quarters in one bowl and one-quarter in another. Beat the sour cream into the quarter quantity of icing.
Place one bottom of a cake, cut-side up, on a serving plate and top with a third of the non-sour cream icing. Repeat twice, finishing with the final cake layer placed bottom-side up. Use the sour cream icing to ice the top of the cake. Leave to sit for at least 1 hour before serving. (Cake can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours but remove from the fridge 1½ hours before serving).
To serve: Serve cake drizzled with Salted Caramel Sauce and salted caramel popcorn, to garnish. Serves 12.