16 March 2018

NO-BAKE CARAMEL CREAM CAKE

This cake is a fine example of a delicious no-bake treat that is amazingly easy to make, yet utterly scrumptious. The layers may get a bit messy and imperfect, but that will not take away from the final taste of the cake. Also you can place it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes before serving, so it has an ice-cream consistency.
The recipe is quite straightforward, but it does involve making caramel in the very beginning. Real, rich caramel is just caramelized sugar, either using the dry or wet method. I prefer the dry caramel, which is what is described in the recipe below. As always, be very careful when cooking sugar, because the temperature is high, and sugar can cause burns.


Ingredients
900 ml whole milk
3 large egg yolks
6 levelled tablespoons cornflour
100 grams granulated sugar
150 grams butter
100 grams icing sugar
250 ml heavy cream
300 grams cocoa biscuits, 30 pieces (Petit Beurre or similar)

Preparation
To make the caramel filling, start by taking away about 250 ml of milk, and whisk it really well with sifted cornflour, and the egg yolks in a medium bowl, and set it aside. Pour the sugar in an even layer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or a skillet. Place the saucepan over medium heat and let the sugar melt slowly. Do not rush this process or stir the sugar at this point. It will take some time for the sugar to start melting, but once it does start to brown around the edges, slowly move the melted parts towards the centre.
Keep cooking the sugar on medium heat, whilst keeping a close eye on it, until it starts to turn darker in colour and become very fragrant. Once it becomes a deep amber colour, very carefully, in a slow stream, pour in 500 ml of milk, and let it come to a boil. At this point, the caramel will harden, but it will completely melt into the milk by the time it starts to boil.
Once it does start boiling, add in the mixture of corn starch and egg yolks, and cook until it thickens up, about 2-3 minutes, and becomes a rich custard. Remove it from the heat and strain it through a mesh strainer, just in case there are some pieces of hardened caramel. Cover the top of the cooked custard with cling film, and let it cool down to room temperature.
When the custard is ready, take a large bowl, add in the room temperature butter, and the sifted icing sugar, and beat with an electric mixer on high, until very light and creamy, and resembling a buttercream. Whilst the mixer is running, add in the cooled custard, a spoonful at a time, until well-blended. In another large bowl, with clean beaters, whip up the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the cake, line a small rectangular cake tin (18x18 cm), ideally with a removable bottom, with cling film, for easier removal of the cake later on. Pour the remaining milk into a container that you find most convenient for dipping in the biscuits, and start layering the dessert.
Divide the biscuits into three equal parts, and dip the first part into the milk briefly, then line the bottom of the tin. Spread half of the whipped cream over the biscuits gently, and then, slowly and carefully, spread half of the caramel filling over the whipped cream. Dip the next batch of biscuits into the milk, and layer them on the caramel filling. Repeat the same steps with the filling and whipped cream, then top the cake with the last remaining biscuits.
Cover the top with cling film, to prevent the cake from drying out, and let it chill in the refrigerator overnight. Next day, when you are ready to serve the cake, remove the cling film, place the serving platter on top of the cake, and flip it - making the bottom the top now. Decorate the cake as desired, and serve with strong coffee. Yields 9 servings.
Baker's note: I recommend putting the cake in the freezer for a little while, to give it an ice-cream bar texture.

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