My sister-in-law, Sandra, said she was never really into cake before she met my brother and started sampling my cakes at family events. Always inspired to delight someone who loves dessert, this year I was trying to come up with the perfect birthday cake for her. I went back to a great website I discovered in the summer, called Sweetapolita, which had already provided me with two memorable dessert creations.

I opted for the Sweet and Salty Millionaire’s Layer Cake … layers of chocolate cake with a triple threat filling of meringue buttercream, salty caramel sauce and crunchy homemade shortbread crumbs, all ensconced within a luxurious chocolate ganache icing.

triple threat filling - buttercream, shortbread crumbs and salted caramel sauce

The filling – a combination of sweet, salty and crunchy – made this a dessert to remember

It was a scrumptious combination of textures and tastes. Everyone loved it and demanded seconds, and Sandra has already put it in as her birthday cake request for next year.

the cake, plated

An extra drizzle of caramel and sprinkling of shortbread crumbs for the birthday girl

So the next birthday cake on my baking agenda is for my niece, who turns three in January. Last month she surprised me by requesting a Nutella cake – she already has a broad palette, and though she may change her mind a few times between now and then, I will honour her original request. And Rosie, the talent behind Sweetapolita, just happens to have one on her site.

But first we need to get through Christmas …

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My modifications to the Sweet and Salty Millionaire’s Layer Cake:

  • The recipe calls for three 8″ pans, which I don’t have. So I made a tried and true chocolate cake recipe that I found on allrecipes.ca, using two 9″ pans. This chocolate cake is foolproof – it’s called Black Magic Cake.
  • Knowing that the filling would be decadent, I decided on just one layer. (My family as a whole prefers a higher ratio of cake to filling/frosting.)
  • I get stage fright around candy thermometers and am nervous to try new recipes for important occasions, so I relied on my fallback recipe for the salted caramel sauce, also from allrecipes.ca. I modified it by adding more salt and also a teaspoon of vanilla.
  • I cut the recipe for the Swiss meringue buttercream in half, given there was only one layer. And I definitely added more than a pinch of salt. I would suggest to anyone to  salt it to their individual taste.
  • I added about one teaspoon of salt to the shortbread crumb recipe and extra salt to the chocolate ganache.
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