A couple weekends ago I got a wonderful visit from my boyfriend, Zac, who unfortunately lives all the way in Boston. We spent the weekend celebrating his birthday a week early. Festivities started out with me cooking his favorite dish, chicken piccata, which possibly reaffirmed that my true strength definitely does lie in baking rather than cooking... but, he liked it and that's all that matters right?? For chicken piccata, the breasts are pan-fried and served with a lemon-butter sauce with a garnish of capers and fresh parsley. For dessert, I made him salty-sweet salted caramel frosted chocolate cake. The process for the frosting involved first making your own caramel and then whipping it into spreadable consistency with powdered sugar. The last time I attempted caramel, which is extremely temperamental, it turned into a hard, brown, mess. However, this time I completed the caramel flawlessly; I'll attribute this one to the secret ingredient being love!
After frosting the cake, I decorated with some simple chocolate chips and a sprinkling of fleur de sel, which is a French word describing hand-crafted sea salt. Zac really enjoyed the cake! We really wanted to eat all of it, but the chocolate cake was very rich and the frosting was dense and filling. I'm glad I only made a 6" cake! Oh, and Zac is a professional photographer so the credit goes to him for all of these beautiful pictures, how did I get so lucky?
Salted Caramel Frosting
From: My Kitchen Addition (For a two-layer 6" Cake)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1. To prepare the caramel, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan.
2. Over medium-high heat, stir with a wooden spoon as the sugar melts. Stop stirring when the sugar starts to boil.
3. Let the sugar boil until it is amber colored.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and add the butter and the half and half. Caramel will foam up/steam so watch your face!
5. Add the sea salt, and whisk vigorously until the caramel comes together. Cool to room temperature.
6. Transfer the caramel to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the softened butter, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
7. Gradually add the powdered sugar until the icing reaches a spreadable consistency.