Category Archives: Layer Cakes

‘I did that!’ list 2016

Greetings on the last day of 2016 everyone! I hope you are planning many festivities to rid ourselves of this awful year and ring in a new one. We are having dinner with family and friends at our house. There is talk of going out afterwards but I’ve been in bed all week with flu and so I may not risk it. I would like to be rid of the coughing fits before going back to work on Tuesday.

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You may (or may not) remember that last year I posted an ‘I did that!’ list, inspired by Karen Milford’s article. I liked the way it made me reflect on the year in a positive way. It was different to think about the coming year by looking back on the one just past, and rather than beating myself up about all that was left unaccomplished and continuing, I celebrated the sometimes-small, sometimes-big things that had made up the year, and had made me proud. So I decided to do it again this year. (I also have a list of resolutions, but I’m saving those until at least tomorrow, possibly Monday).

Here is my ‘I did that’! list for 2016.

1. I started a Cookbook Club, tentatively titled The Sunday Cookbook Club. I have many cookbooks. Some might say too many (my mother, for example, who, when she unpacked all the books we’d put into storage whilst she was moving house exclaimed, ‘you have 16 cookbooks on chocolate! How? Why?’) but I love them all. I don’t think I use them enough though and so I wanted to start a club that would encourage their more frequent use and would also provide an opportunity for entertaining without too much hassle. We have 5 members and have had several successful meetings. It has also meant I’ve increased my dinner-party hosting this year, which is something I wanted to do, and I’ve made frequent use of my local library. I intend to keep it going into 2017.

2. I submitted an article to a journal. Big academic step. Deep breaths. I also signed a book contract. More deep breaths. So in 2017 I will be writing a book.

3. I read more for pleasure. I cannot explain fully how happy this makes me. I have always loved reading, falling into magical worlds, being taken on journeys. Over my years as an academic, I read less and less for pleasure, concentrating instead on reading for work. This year, working outside of academia (and no longer being under PhD-related reading pressure) I rediscovered my love of reading. Related to this, I started a regular Tuesday Reading List on the blog, and posted every single Tuesday for the whole year. I’m very proud of the discipline that took to accomplish. (Reading Lists will continue in 2017!)

4. I re-learnt to knit. When I was small, my grandmother Ngonu taught me how to knit using two small red knitting needles. All through high school I knitted squares for blankets and then somewhere in the last 16-odd years, I stopped. When I got home from South Africa in September, I decided I needed some more creative pastimes and so I signed up for a knitting class at KnitNottingham. The muscle memory came back easily and I learnt how to purl and knit on the round. I’ve made several hats and am busy with a scarf. I even bought my first pattern. Now I just need to find a stitch and bitch so I can knit socially.

5. Andrés and I celebrated two years together and one year of living together. I took him to South Africa to meet all my family and friends. He survived and he is still around (so we obviously didn’t scare him too much). He also decided he loves it there and would be willing to move to Cape Town, if the opportunity ever occured. It has been a really rough year for us, but we made it through in one piece.

6. My sister and I went holidaying together in Barcelona. I was nervous of going to Spain without Andrés (my personal translator and guide) but we managed and had the best time. It was the first time in a long while we had traveled together, and I am pleased to say that it was just the same, only more grown-up and with slightly more spending money. My sister made the lists and I made the food decisions (including a totally extravagant and awesome food tour). She also provided all the commentary on the art that we saw. It was brilliant and I hope we do it again in 2017.

So that is my list for the year. What is yours?

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Chocolate Cake

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This is Trude’s chocolate cake. I have written about this cake before but thought it needed an update, as the original post was quite rushed. This is the chocolate cake of my childhood – if there was a flavour profile for childhood celebrations, this would be it. It is also my Dad’s favourite and he visited for a whole 24 hours this week. So I made it to celebrate his unexpected trip. We ate it with Yotam Ottolenghi’s raspberry ice cream that was in this past Saturday’s Guardian. I am wholly in favour of the chocolate raspberry combination. I gave him slices in a tupperware to eat whilst in transit. The rest I took to the office.

This is a lighter chocolate cake than the one I made for A’s birthday. This is an oil/cocoa powder cake, easily made with store cupboard ingredients. It is simple to put together, although I seemed to use more bowls than I would like (washing up elves!), but I suspect this was just because I was being thorough. Or some such.

Trude’s Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup boiling water

1/2 cup cold water

4 eggs, separated

pinch of salt

1 3/4 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups ordinary (granulated, white) sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup oil

1 tsp vanilla

Line two 22cm tins with butter and baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Whisk the cocoa powder with the boiling water and set aside. Whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff. (Hold-it-over-your-head-and-the-mixture-doesn’t-move-kind-of-stiff.) Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together. Whisk the egg yolks, oil and vanilla together lightly, just to emulsify. Add the cold water to the cocoa powder.

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Pour the cocoa powder mixture into the yolk/oil mixture. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add this liquid mixture in. Mix well. (Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so you don’t end up with any dregs of flour making an unexpected appearance as you pour the batter into the tins.) I like to whisk this part and then switch to a spatula to fold in the whites.

Fold the egg whites into the mixture in two batches. Be gentle with the second batch – you don’t want to knock too much air out. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.

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For the icing, combine 170g softened, unsalted butter with 390g icing sugar and 2 tbsp cocoa powder. Mix on a low speed until it all comes together. Add in a few splashes of milk and once combined, beat on a high speed until smooth and gloopy.  This will make enough to fill and ice the cake.

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Vanilla, Blueberry and White Chocolate Cake

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This is my go-to birthday cake recipe. Or just when-one-is-in-need-of-cake recipe. I made it last weekend and gave the princess most of it to take back to London. The rest I took to the office, where my colleagues made happy cake eating sounds. This recipe makes a glorious sponge cake that you can make into a bundt (as above) or into a triple or even quadruple layer cake with a frosting of your choice. Don’t like blueberries? Leave them out, or replace them with raspberries or orange zest or lemon zest. Ditto for the vanilla and the white chocolate chips…

So this makes a lot of cake. I made a large bundt cake and a loaf tin out of this. I suspect if you halved the recipe (totally do-able), it would make a regular size bundt cake or a three-layer round cake. You are forewarned.

Vanilla, Blueberry and White Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Joy the Baker via Smitten Kitchen

4 cups plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

227g unsalted butter, softened

2 cups golden caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

300ml buttermilk

100ml double cream

100ml plain yoghurt

1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped

200g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 170C. Liberally grease a bundt tin with butter, and grease and line a loaf tin; or grease and line 3 layer cake tins.

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Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.

Combine the buttermilk, cream and yoghurt in a small bowl.

Fold in the flour mixture in three goes, alternating with the buttermilk mixture – flour then buttermilk, flour then buttermilk, flour.

Finally fold in the blueberries and white chocolate.

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Spoon the batter into the bundt tin and the loaf tin.

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Bake for approximately 40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling.

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Allow the cakes to cool completely before icing. I used a combination of cookie butter frosting and cream cheese frosting that I’d had in the freezer to ice both cakes.

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Gingerbread Cake and a ‘I Did That!’ List

Happy New Years Eve everyone! I hope you are all planning festivities of some kind. I will confess, I am a New Years Eve grinch. This is mostly due to my hatred of enforced fun and this evening is the worst kind of enforced fun. But, I am willing to go out and have a drink and see what happens. I have found over the years, the key to a good evening is to not have any expectations. So I am embracing that.

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But I did not want to spend the last post of 2015 lamenting the terror of the evening. Rather, I have become, like almost all bloggers and writers I have read this week, reflective of this year in the past few days. I know that normally people post goals and resolutions for the coming year. I have certainly done so in the past. But then my friend Jen shared a link on Facebook, an article written by her friend, Karen Milford titled ‘You Were Awesome in 2015’. Intrigued, I read it and found an excellent idea – one that I have since chatted to Jen about and agreed is something we should do more often, but acknowledge this reflective period at the years end is probably the best time for it. The idea is to come up with a list of five things you are proud you accomplished in the year just gone. It is a stroke of genius. Instead of looking forward and feeling like a failure for all the goals you haven’t yet reached, the list allows the opportunity to look back and reflect on things you have actually done, however small. I’m calling it the ‘I Did That!’ List.

_DSC2811After much deliberation, here is my ‘I Did That!’ List.

1.) I finished my PhD and graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy. This seemed almost impossible at this precise point last year, when I’d just received comments back on my first draft. But sheer bloody mindedness and determination to get it done won out in the end.

2.) I moved in with Andrés, taking that big leap of faith in a shared life.

3.) I took the plunge and finally attended an education conference. I spent most of my PhD feeling like a really didn’t fit into an Education department, and attended more sociology and food studies conferences as a result. I finally got up the courage to go to BERA’s (British Educational Research Association) annual conference and presented my work. I discovered, with sheer joy, a number of other young researchers working in my field and we are now looking at collaborating on different things. And I discovered I do actually fit into Education, however obscurely, and that I am fascinated by other research in education, particularly that around teaching children the history of contested places.

4.) I travelled to Spain with Andrés, to meet his family. I was nervous and plagued by the usual ‘but what if they don’t like me?’ anxiety. We spent a week there, communicating in two, and sometimes three, languages, and I had a wonderful time. I did find I hated being unable to express myself adequately and so now I am learning Spanish.

5.) I learned to ski. I am often scared (and sometimes secretly thrilled) but I can get myself down a mountain or two on a pair of sticks strapped to boots. Proof that you really can learn to do anything if you set your mind to it.

So that is my list. What is yours?

And to round out the year, here is a final recipe. I made this for Boxing Day – baking it on Christmas Eve so it could mature. It is a supremely fantastic cake and the cookie butter icing will make you swoon. (Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list – it is essentially a melt and whisk cake.) I adapted the recipe for ingredients I had to hand and to make a small, one pan cake that could be sliced in half and iced.

Gingerbread Cake

Adapted from BBCgoodfood magazine (November 2015)

75ml milk

1.5 tbsp treacle

200g plain flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

60g light brown sugar

130g light muscavado sugar

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground ginger

a pinch of ground cloves

115ml sunflower oil

75g plain yoghurt

75g creme fraiche

1.5 eggs

1 tbsp rum

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170C and line one 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with butter and parchment paper (line the base and the sides).

Heat the milk with the treacle until just warm and the treacle emulsifies into the milk. Set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, spices, and sugars and whisk together, making sure you break up any sugar lumps.

Whisk the oil, yoghurt, creme fraiche, eggs, rum and vanilla together until combined. Then whisk in the milk/treacle mixture.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet ingredients until smooth. Pour the mixture (it is quite liquid) into the cake tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for half an hour before unmoulding and cooling completely before icing.

For the cookie butter frosting:

125g unsalted butter, softened

300g icing sugar

150g philadelphia cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g cookie butter (Lotus biscuit spread smooth is good)

Combine the butter and half of the icing sugar. Beat until smooth. Add in the cream cheese and beat again until smooth. Add in the rest of the icing sugar, cookie butter and vanilla. Beat until soft and fluffy.

I found this makes enough for a crumb coat and a generous layer of frosting. I only wanted a crumb coat/naked cake look so I used half and have frozen the other half for use later. To ice the cake, slice it in half and sandwich it together with the frosting. Place the other half on top and cover the top and sides with frosting. If you want a clean finish, ice this layer quite thinly, and don’t worry about crumbs. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes and then completely cover the cake with frosting again, taking care to smooth the sides and top. Decorate as desired.

I hope your 2016 is bright and light and full of wonder.

x

We Made a Wedding Cake

We made a wedding cake! I feel like you need a moment (or two or three), for this to sink in. (I still can’t really believe it.) We actually made a three-tiered, rather lovely (if I do say so myself) full-on wedding cake. That the bride loved. And people ate. Win!

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In my head I had several rather fantastic posts planned about the process of making a wedding cake. You know, all about baking the cakes, using a foreign kitchen, icing and then setting it up. Etcetera etcetera etcetera.

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But it turns out that actually making a wedding cake and then photographing the process are not really things that can honestly be done in tandem. Particularly when you’re working after-hours in a tiny kitchen with no windows. And drinking wine. There is no way you can legitimately blog about that process as it happens. Perhaps if you are organised and make the cakes in advance you could, but we made the cakes on Thursday night and Friday afternoon, filled and crumb-coat iced them on Friday night and then final iced and assembled on Saturday morning… There was little time to mess about with cameras and styling. We shot all the evidence with our phones.

Here is the story of the cake.

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This cake was a collaborative effort. Raphaella, who went to the same chef school as me and works as a food journalist, and myself tag-teamed the making of this cake. (The bride went to school with us, in case you were wondering how this collaboration came to pass.) Most of the consultation process took place via email with the bride – neither of us live in Johannesburg, where the bride lives and the wedding occurred. Raph suggested various flavour combinations and eventually we settled on chocolate for the bottom tier and lemon for the next two tiers. Obviously this did not mean just chocolate and lemon. The chocolate tier was chocolate sponge, coffee buttercream and walnut praline whilst the lemon layers were lemon and white chocolate sponge, lemon curd and raspberries. The whole cake was covered in a silky smooth vanilla buttercream.

Because neither of us live in Joburg, we had to make use of other people’s generosity (and kitchens). We baked in Raph’s work test kitchen and iced at Raph’s mom’s house – taking over her kitchen in rather spectacular fashion late on Friday evening. We worked out we needed a 30cm tier, a 23cm tier and a 16cm one. Baking began after work on Thursday, with Raph making the chocolate sponge. Then I made the 23cm lemon sponge cakes. The kitchen we worked in didn’t have a standing mixer or a hand-held electric beater so we whisked and beat everything by hand. There was a lot of swearing. And a fair amount of wine. I left Raph to look after the baking of the cakes as I was meeting friends for dinner. The next afternoon I baked off the smallest sponge layers, whilst Raph was in a meeting. Then we decided we’d had enough of the kitchen-with-no-windows, and couldn’t face making buttercream by hand so we decamped to Sue’s house. (To our credit, we did try the buttercream with a hand-held mixer but even with three of us sharing the beating process (thanks for getting roped in Sarah!), there was simply too much mixture to get the consistency right.)

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We loaded the cakes into their boxes and then put them, all the ingredients (and part of our sanity) into a shopping trolley to take downstairs. The security guards thought we were hilarious.

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Once we’d made it into the new kitchen, we celebrated at the presence of a standing mixer, and got down to the business of buttercream.

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Raph had already made the walnut praline and lemon curd and so, with the buttercream all soft and silky, the incredibly scary process of layering could commence.

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There is a reason, of course, why people freeze large layers of wedding cake – it makes it significantly easier to assemble. Whilst the 16cm and 23cm layers were reasonably easy to put together, the 30cm ones stretched our stress levels to snapping point. The middle layer of the 30cm tier was the worst, collapsing slightly as we put it a-top the first layer. After much cursing we finally got it neatly positioned. We then re-thought the entire assembly process for the final layer. Everything was crumb-coated and refrigerated overnight. Large whisky cocktails were consumed.

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The next morning we were up and at it again, making another batch of buttercream and giving the layers their final coat of icing. Then came possibly the most stressful part of the whole debacle: transportation. The reception was at Wits Club, on the Wits University campus – a mere 10 minute drive away. But the cakes had to be boxed and placed carefully in the car (and held by Raphaella and Ernst, her husband and corrupted helper) whilst I drove. I have never realised how uneven Joburg roads are but that day I think I hit every bump, surface change, and pothole available. It was ridiculous. And then there were the impressive speed humps just before the venue. There were a lot of deep breaths and curses on that short drive. But we made it to the venue!

When we arrived we realised that the venue is, in fact, a working restaurant and unlike the quiet, calm atmosphere we had both envisioned would be available to us whilst setting up the cake, the restaurant was busy, loud and full of customers having breakfast. We would have to assemble the layers with an audience! Shaking like leaves in a very violent winter storm, we slowly put one layer on top of the next. We patched any smudges and fixed any imperfections. Various people came up to talk to us whilst we were doing this (including one woman who wanted to know how much we would charge) and we tried to be as pleasant as possible, all the while silently cursing their questions.

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But slowly, slowly, we got it done. Flowers were artfully arranged – for which Raphaella must have full credit. I ran around looting flowers from additional arrangements that were going spare. And then we took a million photographs – you know, just in case something awful happened between our leaving the cake alone and the bride arriving to see it… Which it didn’t.

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When we arrived back in the evening, we snapped more photographs (and, as you can see above, had a celebratory photograph with our cake) and drank a lot of champagne. And later still, the cake actually got eaten!

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So that is the story of the wedding cake. Yes, I would do it again. But only if I could bake and ice from my own kitchen. With a standing mixer.

Chocolate Cake (with Mayonnaise)

I haven’t made a layer cake in absolute ages. And I do so love layer cake. They’re always gorgeous to look at. And Food52 sent round this email with all these pictures and I got to thinking about layer cakes again. Also how much I want a life that will include moments with tables like the one with all those cakes. So yesterday I did a scout online and found this recipe. Okay, in truth I made the Princess chose what to make in the end because I couldn’t.

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This is dense, fudgey chocolate cake. The recipe comes from Fine Cooking and is called Southern Devil’s Food Cake. The mayonnaise is a weird addition but apparently it adds moisture and richness and it doesn’t alter the flavour of the finished cake at all. This is proper birthday-cake cake I think. There’s no chocolate in the cake, just a load of cocoa powder. I made the ganache with milk and dark chocolate and I love the result. This may be my go-to ganache recipe from now on. It’s thick and spreadable and it’s neither excessively sweet or bitter (and it didn’t split!)

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I realised about halfway through that I actually should have made half the amount of cake and ganache as this makes a lot of cake so I’ve experimented by freezing half the uncooked batter and the excess ganache that was left over after I’d iced the cake. At some point in the future I am going to unfreeze the batter and see if I can get cake again.

So, as I said, I used milk and dark chocolate in the ganache. I also used half double/half single cream so that it didn’t become too rich and split. I used spelt flour in the cake and half the dark brown sugar it called for, adding the rest in light brown sugar. I wanted to make the cake without wheat flour and I find white spelt flour works well on a 1-1 substitute.

Chocolate Cake (with Mayonnaise)

Adapted from Fine Cooking

For the Ganache:

200g milk chocolate (42%)

300g dark chocolate (71%)

250ml single cream

250ml double cream

30g butter, unsalted, soft

For the Cake:

175g butter, unsalted, soft

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

225g spelt flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Make the ganache first as it needs to cool at room temperature for about 6 hours before you can use it.

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Heat the two creams in a saucepan. Break all the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. When the cream is at scalding point (it’s about to boil), pour it over the chocolate mixture. Let everything stand for five minutes before stirring it smooth. Add in the butter last. Leave to cool.

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Preheat the oven to 175C and line two 20cm baking tins with butter.

Cream together the butter, sugars and vanilla until fluffy and thick.

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Add in the eggs, one at a time.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Then add in the salt.

Fold in the flour, alternating with the buttermilk. I usually do three flour additions and two buttermilk ones. Lastly fold in the mayonnaise.

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Divide the mixture between the two tins, smoothing them on top.

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Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cakes spring back and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins before turning out and cooling completely on a rack.

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To assemble, make sure the cakes are cooled completely. Cut the cakes in half. Spread with ganache and then sandwich together. If you’ve made the full mixture this will make 4 layers. I only made half so mine was a two layer cake. Use the ganache to do the top and sides of the cake.

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Butterscotch Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

This weekend has been spent pottering around the flat, doing academic chores of various kinds – updating my electronic bibliography, reading, some field note writing – hardly the stuff of exciting blog posts. I’ve also been making this cake.

It is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe that I found online.

Martha is often a person I turn to when I want a dramatic cake. Let’s face it, the Americans do good cake, and this one is no exception. I made this for a friend’s birthday. Her birthday was actually earlier this week but for various reasons (field work, the death of a beloved cat, the Princess departing for London) I only found time to bake this weekend. You need a few days for this cake as there are multiple stages to attend to – the cake making, frosting and sauce making, frosting refrigerating, cake refrigerating etc. You can make it in a day I suspect, if you’re not using the light to photograph every step (as I did) and you have tasks you can complete in amongst all the waiting.The cake itself is good (I had to cut off the nice dome top so I could soak the top layer in butterscotch sauce so I snacked on the unneeded pieces for breakfast). It is dense with caramel tones. Once it’s been assembled it is sweet, but in a good way. The main event is the frosting and butterscotch sauce. The middle layer of the cake basically tastes of butterscotch because it is so heavily soaked in the stuff. This is a cake for your caramel-obsessed friend. I think the brown butter frosting gets slightly lost against the butterscotch but maybe I didn’t brown the butter for long enough? I got a bit worried I was going to end up with blacked butter at one point so maybe I removed it early, I’m not sure. I think it’s a crowd pleaser anyway. (And I’ve saved the excess frosting for use on cupcakes at some point.)

I made half the amount of the online recipe as I did not want a massive layer cake. I baked it in a 20cm cake tin, as one cake, as opposed to the layers recommended – I actually think this makes soaking easier as you simply cut the cake into three layers and then soak all the exposed layers. I adjusted the measurements from imperial ounces to metric grams, and changed the sugars used in the cake. I also used golden syrup instead of corn syrup and double cream instead of heavy cream. The result was a perfect, small, layer cake which gave us all a sugar rush at brunch. Winning I think.

Butterscotch Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Frosting
Adapted from marthastewart.com
For the Cake:
450ml plain flour
1/2 + 1/8 tsp baking powder
3/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
150g butter, unsalted, soft
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup golden caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 + 1/8 cups rum
1/2 + 1/8 cups buttermilk

 For the Frosting:
175g butter, unsalted (60g for melting; 115g for adding in later)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup double cream
1/4 tsp salt
300g cream cheese
1/4 cup icing sugar

For the Butterscotch Sauce:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
45g butter, unsalted
1/4 cup golden syrup
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup double cream

1 cup pecans, chopped

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 20cm tin with baking paper. Place the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Place the butter and sugars in a bowl and beat until creamy.

Add in the eggs, beating between each, followed by the rum and vanilla.

Fold in the flour in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk. The batter is quite stiff, make sure everything gets incorporated. Place the batter into the baking tin, smoothing the top down with a spatula.

Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake is cooked through and bounces back when you touch the top.
Allow to cool in the tin for ten minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack. If you’re only icing it tomorrow, wrap the cake in plastic wrap when it is cold.

You can start the frosting whilst the cake is cooking.
For the frosting:
In a saucepan place 60g of the butter and heat it until it turns dark golden brown and starts to smell nutty. This takes about 10 minutes. Add in the sugar, cream and salt and bring everything to the boil and cook for three minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and cool.

Using an electric beater, or standing mixer, if you have one, beat the brown butter mixture for a minute. Then start adding in the rest of the butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature, until everything is incorporated and no pieces of butter remain.
In another bowl whisk the cream cheese and icing sugar. Add the brown butter mixture to the cream cheese and beat until all incorporated. Refrigerate, covered in clingfilm, for at least an hour.

For the butterscotch sauce:
Heat the sugar, butter, golden syrup and salt until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to the boil and boil for a couple of minutes. Add in the cream (the mixture will foam up) and boil for another two minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

To assemble:
Cut the cake into three layers. Spread each exposed layer with butterscotch sauce – the top of the bottom layer, both sides of the middle layer, and both sides of the top layer. (I did this by spreading butterscotch sauce onto the side going onto the cake first and then, once it was on the cake, spreading the exposed layer with sauce.)

Spread frosting on the bottom layer before layering the next piece of cake. Once all three layers are assembled, spread frosting on the top and sides, creating a crumb layer.

Refrigerate the cake until the crumb frosting layer is firm, about an hour or so. Then apply the final layer of icing and decorate the sides with finely but roughly chopped pecans.