Monday, 17 November 2008

Butterscotch Layer Cake

This is the sort of cake that people call 'very rich' but then go on to have three slices with languorous ease - Nigella Lawson

The verdict: This is, hands down, one of the best cakes I've ever had the pleasure to make. It was great fun, taught me a thing or two and turned out perfectly. You can't ask for more.

Unusual or substituted ingredients: For this cake, you need to make caramel before you even start the cake. Not being much of a confectioner, this presented a challenge for me.

I was a bit nervous and in fact ruined the first batch. All that boiling sugar syrup turns to burnt caramel in an instant. Despite Nigella warning that caramel is meant to burn, I don't think she meant this much.

I made it again, and the second time, it was the warm, golden brown you expect. You put that aside and get on with the cake which is one of those lovely 'blitz everything' recipes that I love Nigella for.

She asked for Golden Caster Sugar and I finally figured out that in Australia, CSR produce 'Raw Caster Sugar' which I'm reliably informed is the just the thing. It, along with the brown sugar (she asked for light muscvado) gives the cake a lovely, not overly cloying richness.

The caramel is later mixed with 400g of cream cheese which sounded really, really odd to me but then I'm not technically a caramel lover so I was open to whatever she said to do, even if it did sound odd. Blended together, it makes the most delicious icing and filling.

Special utensils or cookware: I finally got to use the sponge tins I bought a long time ago. That's the only thing, really, that you'll need to get if you don't have some already. The rest is standard.

Repeatability: After a string of Nigella failures, which I haven't documented here because, well, I'm not keen on dwelling on such things, I was beginning to lose faith, but this cake is about as good as it gets. I just loved it. I made it for my husband's 40th birthday - he requested it after we spent a while leafing through books, and it delivered. Make it. It's fabulous.

Sauciness: So delightfully rich, so beautiful to look at - you can't beat it. Decadent and saucy!

Overall pleasure level:
If the amount of times I told the story of this cake at work today is any indication, it's got a high pleasure rating from me. I loved looking at it; I loved eating it; I loved serving it. Loads of pleasure to be had from this special treat. I'm giving it 9 out of ten for all round greatness.