Can I tell you one of the best parts of moving to the Triangle? No Ikea. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Ikea. It saved me every time I considered buying something expensive by offering stylish, affordable options. But you have to admit, there is something a bit “dorm room” about Ikea. The inferior materials lend themselves to not lasting very long. We have a large tall boy dresser from Ikea that we bought less than 2 years ago. It was fine and looked sharp for a while, but after our cross-country move, the weight is making it lean forward causing the drawers to not fully close. Matt has tried fixing it, but the odds of saving this dresser at pretty slim.
The fact that we don’t have Ikea in the Triangle has forced us to be a little more creative. We wanted to buy real, adult furniture on a shoe-string budget. Basically, we’ve been living at the flea market. There is a lot of junk at the flea market, and buying good furniture there takes a good eye. We found “our guy.” This guy always has the best quality furniture, and prices are extremely low. He approaches you and says the list price is ________, but I’ll give it to you for ________. Then we come back with would you take __________? Then he says, “Tell you what, I can go down as low as _________.” And that is how we steal beautiful, high-quality vintage furniture. We bought a 1957 Drexel Heritage credenza, a 1960s tiki tall boy dresser and today we are bringing home a beautiful, long campaign dresser. Had we bought any of these pieces at the Pasadena flea market, we would have easily paid 3x as much. We also bought another antique dresser, 2 vintage upholstered wicker tiki chairs, 2 bedside tables and 2 cast iron pans for a song.
Sorry. I know this post is about cake, and I have furniture on the brain. I’m just really excited about this new dresser.
All right. I found this cake on Pinterest. Apparently, a London Fog latte is something you can get at Starbucks. It involves Earl Grey steeped milk. Anyway, an Earl Grey cake really piqued my interest. I’ve made a lavender cake and a cardamom cake before – so Earl Grey – why not?
The Salted Caramel London Fog Cake cake involves a chocolate cake (I’m using my go-to recipe), and Earl Grey infused buttercream and a coconut caramel drizzle. Y’all, this cake is EVERYTHING. So different, so good and I was able to show off some more of my cake decorating skills with these peonies and that watercolor two-tone finish on the sides.
Show this Salted Caramel London Fog Cake some love and pin this pic!
It should be noted that this cake has MANY steps. I usually make it over the course of the week, doing a few things at a time, beginning with making the Earl Grey Infused Butter and Salted Caramel Sauce.
- • 1 3/4 cups flour
- • 2 cups sugar
- • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- • 1 tsp salt
- • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- • 1/2 cup canola oil
- • 1 cup whole milk
- • 2 large eggs
- • 2 tsp vanilla
- • 2 tbsp anise liqueur (I use Ouzo)
- • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- • ¼ cup loose Earl Grey tea
- • 5 large egg whites
- • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- • ¾ cup granulated sugar
- • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- • 2 tablespoons water
- • ½ cup coconut cream
- • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Oil and flour 2 8-inch baking tins.
- Begin by filling a sauce pan with water. Set it on high heat until it boils.
- While you are waiting for the water to boil, whisk to gather the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda until it is completely blended.
- You can begin to add in the wet ingredients, starting with the oil. Continue beating in each egg, one at a time, into the mixture. Next beat in the vanilla and the anise liqueur.
- Ok, remember that boiling water? Beat 1 cup of boiling water into the batter. THE BATTER WILL BE REALLY THIN, don’t worry!
- Immediately fill you cake tins with the batter and put it in the oven.
- Start by checking the cakes at 22 minutes, and continue to check on the cakes using the “stick a for in it test”. My cakes usually take between 25 and 30 minutes.
- When cooled, cover in plastic wrap and put in freezer.
- Place 1 cup of the butter in a saucepan with the loose tea. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for 5 minutes more.
- Strain the butter through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl and refrigerate it until is reached the same consistency as softened butter, 20 to 30 minutes. Small bits of tea will remain in the butter.
- Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk them together by hand to combine.
- Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water.
- Whisking intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it registers about 155-160 degrees on a candy thermometer or is hot to the touch. Carefully fit the mixer bowl onto the stand mixer.
- With the whisk attachment, beat the egg white mixture on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until it holds stiff peaks. When done, the outside of the mixer bowl should return to room temperature.
- Stop the mixer and swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle.
- With the mixer on low speed, add the vanilla, tea-infused butter, and 1 cup butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to medium-high and bet until the buttercream is smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Heat over high heat, occasionally swirling the pan, until it turns a medium golden amber color (about 8 to 10 minutes). The sugar mixture will begin to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once with mixture reaches between 320 and 340 degrees, the correct color is reached and the bubbles start to subside.
- Slowly and carefully whisk in the coconut cream. The coconut cream will lighten the caramel.
- Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine.
- Pour the caramel into a heat-safe container and let it cool until it reaches your desired consistency or refrigerate until use. It will thicken as it cools.
- Cut the two chocolate cakes in half, creating 4 layers.
- Place the bottom layer of cake on a cake plate or serving dish.
- Spread on about ½ to ¾ cup of the buttercream with an offset spatula. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.
- Frost the cake with the remaining buttercream. Refrigerate until set, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pour caramel sauce over the chilled cake, starting with about a ½ cup, letting it drip over the edges. Add more caramel as necessary.