Friday, March 29, 2019

Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Mermaid Tail Cake

Hello everyone!
Happy International Mermaid Day!
You know this girl is celebrating allll day long.
I have been obsessed with mermaids since I was little and I am totally okay with the fact that they have become quite popular again.
To celebrate the special occasion I decided to make a special treat.
A mermaid tail cake to be exact.

When trying to think of the flavors I wanted for this cake I decided to make it one of my favorite flavor combinations, salt and caramel.
Then I thought why not make it super festive and make it a SEA salt caramel cake!
I had never made one but, I had a few recipes I could mix together to make it work.
The day I was going to the grocery store America's Test Kitchen posted their Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt Cake on Instagram and I knew it was fate...

You will need:
1 and a 1/2 Cups of Flour
3/4 a Cup of Cocoa Powder
1 and a 1/2 Cups of Sugar
1 and a 1/4 Teaspoons of Baking Soda
3/4 a Teaspoon of Baking Powder
3/4 a Teaspoon of Salt
3/4 a Cup of Buttermilk
1/2 a Cup of Water
1/4 a Cup of Vegetable Oil
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

For the Caramel Filling:
1 and 1/4 Cups of Sugar
1/4 a Cup of Light Corn Syrup
1/4 a Cup of Water
1 Cup of Heavy Cream
8 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Cubes
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
3/4 a Teaspoon of Salt

For the Frosting:
16 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, Softened
3/4 a Cup of Powdered Sugar
1/2 a Cup of Cocoa Powder
Pinch of Salt
1/2 a Cup of Light Corn Syrup
3/4 a Teaspoon of Vanilla
6 Ounces of Chocolate, Melted and Cooled
1 Teaspoon of Coarse Sea Salt

1, 10 Ounce Bag of Mini Marshmallows
3 Tablespoons of Water
6 Cups of Powdered Sugar
Oil, For Greasing Your Hands
Food Coloring

Preheat oven to 325o.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix buttermilk, water, oil, eggs and vanilla together. 
Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture until smooth. 
To get the shape of a mermaid tail I divided the batter into four oven safe glass nesting bowls.
I was originally planning on baking it in my Kitchen Aid bowl but read a few horror stories online about the bowl getting warped and having to replace it...
Then I decided baking the batter in four nesting bowls and stacking them on top of one another would work to create the shape I wanted. 
Use what works best for you.
Grease bowls.
Fill each bowl until it is half way full.
Bake the two smaller bowls for 20 minutes and the two larger bowls for 40 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool. 
Prepare your caramel filling.

Grease an 8 inch square baking pan.
Set aside.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan. 
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook, without stirring, until mixture is amber colored, 8 to 10  minutes.
Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, swirling the saucepan occasionally until mixture is dark amber colored,  2 to 5 minutes more.
Remove from heat and stir in cream, butter, vanilla and salt.
Careful! The mixture will bubble and steam.
Return to medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. 
Carefully transfer caramel to greased baking pan and let cool until warm to the touch.
Prepare your frosting.

Mix butter, sugar, cocoa and salt together until smooth.
The frosting called for 1 Teaspoon of sea salt but I am a salty girl and ended up adding 1 and a 1/2 teaspoons because it was more to my preference. 
Adjust to your taste.
Add corn syrup and vanilla and mix until just combined.
Add both chocolates and mix until smooth. 
Place a dot of the frosting in the center of your serving tray to hold the cake in place.
Place the largest cake face down on the frosting. 
Add a thin layer of the caramel filling to the top of the cake.
Place the second largest cake face down on top of the caramel filling.
Repeat until your reach your final and smallest layer.

Frost the entire cake.
The cake will be covered with fondant so it doesn't need to be perfect.
Place the cake in the fridge to set. 
Prepare your fondant.

Pour the marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl.
Stir in the water to evenly coat the marshmallows. 
Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir.
Repeat until the mixture is smooth. 
Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar into a large bowl and create a hole in the center.
Pour the melted marshmallow mixture into the hole. 
Add the remaining 3 cups of powdered sugar on top of the marshmallows. 
Oil your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking to you. 
Knead in the sugar until you have the consistency of soft taffy and the fondant no longer sticks to your hands. 
Add food coloring and knead until the color is completely incorporated.
Wear food safe gloves to prevent your hands from staining.
I wanted my mermaid tail to have several colors so, I cut the fondant into four pieces and colored them each an individual color.
On a clean surface sprinkled with powdered sugar, roll out your fondant to 1/4 of an inch thin.
Using a 1 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles in each color of fondant. 
Cut the circles in half with a knife.

Remove cake from fridge.
Starting from the top of the cake layer your "scales" onto the cake. 
To help the fondant stick better I wet the back of each with a little water to make them sticky and work as an adhesive.
Working down continue to add and overlap your scales until the whole cake is covered. 
Brush the top of cake with pearl dust to make it shimmer. 
To create the fins I used the remaining scraps of fondant.
Trace the outline of a mermaid tail onto a piece of cardboard and cut out.
Add different colors of fondant onto the cardboard until it is completely covered.
With a rolling pin, roll over the top of the cardboard to help the colors blend together.
Dust with some pearl dust for shimmer.
Add texture with a toothpick and place on top of the cake.

I felt that the cake needed a little something extra at the bottom so I decided to add a sand border.
Simply grind up some graham crackers in a food processor and place around the bottom of the cake.


I LOVE how this cake turned out.
My 10 year old self would have screamed if she saw this cake.
Okay, my 26 year old self is screaming too!
I mean a chocolate sea salt caramel mermaid tail cake is the most ME thing I have ever heard of. 
I am so excited to enjoy this bad boy tonight while we watch Splash in honor of International Mermaid Day.
Erik has never seen it and it was a classic in my house growing up.
Darryl Hannah has been hair goals my whole life...
What cake would your 10 year old self have loved to have seen?

All my love, 

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