Spiced Caramel Cake with Italian Meringue Buttercream (vegan)
I recently attended a Survivor themed birthday weekend, where we competed in challenges inspired by the show until there was one person standing. Unfortunately (devastatingly) I did not win, but I did make this cake!
Ingredients for the cake
475g self-raising flour
275g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp all spice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbs ground cinnamon
200ml soy milk
100ml vegetable oil
1 tbs golden syrup
2 earl grey teabags soaked in 150ml boiling water
Ingredients for the icing
170ml aquafaba (tinned chickpea brine)
200g caster sugar
440g vegan butter
4 tbs Lotus spread or essence of choice (optional)
Caramel sauce (I used Nature's Charm), caramel popcorn, isomalt and other decorations. Note: if you want to make a lower sugar cake, substitute sugar for sweetener like Natvia (check conversion) and use a sugar free caramel sauce like Natvia Salted Caramel Topping.
Instructions for the cake
Preheat oven to approximately 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 7 x 4 inch cake tin with vegan butter and baking paper.
Combine dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well combined.
In a large jug, combine remaining ingredients.
Slowly pour wet ingredients onto dry ingredients, folding mixture carefully. Mix until just combined.
Pour into prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
Set aside to cool completely.
Once cool, trim the top to make it even. Then, slice into four equal sections.
Instructions for the icing
Place aquafaba into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer ready.
Beat on medium until thick and foamy to soft peaks.
Meanwhile, heat sugar and water, mixing only to ensure the sugar is fully incorporated.
Once it reaches 115 degrees (use a kitchen thermometer to keep track), pour onto aquafaba and continue to whisk for five minutes. The mixture should become thick, glossy and stiff.
Place the bowl into the fridge until it's cool to the touch.
Place the bowl back and change to the paddle attachment. Beat on a medium speed.
Slowly add butter, waiting until each section is incorporated before adding more. The mixture may look like it has curdled but keep beating; eventually it will come together.
Once the mixture looks like buttercream, add Lotus spread or flavouring and combine for 30 seconds.
Place into an icing bag if desired or leave in the bowl ready to use. You can also place into the fridge if you're not using it straight away.
To assemble, place one part of the cake on a cake board and pipe or spoon icing just around the outer edge. Repeat just inside that.
Fill the remaining base (the middle section) with caramel mixture or vegan dulce de leche and repeat until you have one piece of cake left to put on top.
Cover with icing as desired, drizzle with caramel and decorate.