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Friday, 8 October 2021

Vegan Salted Caramel Pretzel Cake

I give you my absolute dream cake. A Salted Caramel Pretzel Cake, with vanilla pretzel sponge cakes, layers of salted caramel buttercream, caramel sauce, decorated with giant salted pretzels and a sprinkle of sea salt.

100% vegan, eggless, easy to make and perfect for all cake lovers, not just vegan ones!

Yup, this is my dream cake..right here, in all it's glory. It's sooooo tasty and pretty on the outside too, with the most scrumptious lightly salted pretzel sponge cakes, a caramel buttercream, caramel sauce decorated with GIANT pretzels. 
Speaking of these pretzels, how awesome are they. I went shopping with my sister recently and we spotted these in 'Marks & Spenser' down the crisp isle and had to pick up a bag. Who knew i would use them to create this show stopping cake! It's a fun, decorative idea and tastes scrumptious too! 


THE BEST SALTED CARAMEL PRETZEL CAKE
Salted pretzels and caramel are the most perfect pairing. I adore combining sweet with salty, it simply works as a delicious flavour combo! 
The slightly salted sponge cakes mixed with the sweet and gooey caramel, along side salty and crunchy pretzels is unlike anything you've ever tasted before! 

This salted pretzel cake is truly 'THE CAKE' to make this season. Cut yourself a thick slice, cosy up by the fire and just enjoy the satisfying flavours and textures! You would honestly never be able to tell it's vegan!

As if this cake couldn't get any better, i decorated it with a salted caramel buttercream *gasps*.
I think i am salted caramel obsessed. I can't seem to stop making salted caramel dessert's as you can see by my previous recipe
s, all 100% vegan:

This cake is filled and coated in a salted caramel buttercream. In order to make salted caramel buttercream, you'll need a batch of salted caramel on stand by. 
I always like to make my caramel a day in advance, so it has time to thicken and chill before adding it into the buttercream.


What you'll need to make salted caramel buttercream
  • Sugar (caster sugar) - Sugar is the main ingredient when it comes to making any caramel, so make sure you have a bag ready to go.
  • Dairy-free block butter - Make sure the block butter is chilled. This will help achieve a thick, gooey caramel sauce.
  • Coconut cream - Chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, turn it upside down and open. Pour out the liquid and use the thick, white cream.

It's a simple and quick method, all you need to do is melt the sugar over the hob in a saucepan, mix in the butter and pour in the cream. It takes a little while for the sugar to melt, but after that it's a super quick method to follow.

I like to place my caramel in a heat proof container or jar, pop it in the fridge overnight to chill & set and in the morning, it's like an ultra thick toffee. It's one of the best caramels i've ever made / tasted! Highly recommend! Method + ingredients list below! 


Notes*

Why do I use aquafaba (chickpea brine) in buttercream?
American buttercream is exceptionally sweet. Using aquafaba creates a vegan version of Swiss meringue buttercream. 
Swiss meringue isn't as sweet and allows the flavour of the caramel to shine. It takes down the sweetness leaving you with a silky smooth, not too sweet buttercream. I always tell people it's like eating a buttercream cloud- haha!

What is aquafaba?
Aquafaba is the water from a can/tin of Chickpeas.The Chickpea water or brine as its called, acts as an amazing egg substitute for cakes, meringue buttercreams etc. You can also buy it in a carton. Check it out here

What vegan block butter to use?
As Swiss meringue uses liquid from the aquafaba, having a stiffer butter is key. I like the Naturli Vegan Block or Flora Plant Based Block Butter Alternative.

Preparation: Overnight (for the caramel)
Serves: 10-12
Baking time: 25 - 30 minutes
Level: Easy / medium

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Ingredients for the caramel sauce
  • 200g of of caster sugar
  • 100g of dairy-free block butter (see notes*)
  • 180g of coconut cream (see notes*)
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (optional)

Ingredients for the cake
  • 480ml of dairy-free milk 
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 420g of self-raising flour
  • 50g of salted / unsalted pretzels (blender until fine)
  • 400g of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 120g of sunflower oil / coconut oil (melted)

Ingredients for the buttercream
  • 200g of dairy-free butter
  • 300g of icing sugar
  • 40ml of aquafaba (chickpea brine) see notes*

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Method (caramel)
1. Place the sugar into a medium / large saucepan. Place the pan on the hob over a low heat. Allow the sugar to melt, this will take around 5-8 minutes.
Make sure to stir the sugar constantly to prevent burning.

2. When all of the sugar has melted and is a golden / amber colour, add in the butter. Stir to combine. Allow the butter to melt into the sugar.
Once it's combined, it might go a thick consistency, now add in the coconut cream. It will steam and bubble so be-careful!

3. Pour the thick caramel quickly into each case. Use an off-set spatula to quickly spread out the caramel, making sure it's even. 
Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then transfer into the fridge for 3 hours, or until fully set.
Tip: You can leave it in the fridge overnight. The caramel will will turn into a toffee consistency.

Method (cakes)
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees c fan and line two, 6 inch cake tins with grease-proof paper.
If you only have one tin, you'll have to bake one cake at a time. Cover the batter with a tea towel until ready to use. 

2. In a bowl, combine the dairy-free milk with the apple cider vinegar and whisk until fully combined.
Set aside for 10 minutes to curdle. This creates a vegan 'buttermilk'.

3. Blend the pretzels until fine in a high speed blender. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, fine pretzels, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Mix well to combine.

4. Add the oil into the 'buttermilk' and whisk to combine.

5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.

6. Pour equal amounts of batter into the lined cake tins.
Make sure to tap the tins on the worktop to remove any air bubbles.

7. Pop the cakes into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes.
You will know they are done when you put a knife or skewer in and it comes out clean and they are springy to the touch.

8. Place the cakes on a cooling rack and allow to cool fully. 
Once cool, pop them into a sealed container to keep them fresh before frosting.

Method (buttercream)
1. In a large mixing bowl, add in the dairy-free butter and whip until creamy. I use a stand mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, a hand mixer will work great too.

3. Sift in the icing sugar. Whip on high speed for a couple of minutes to incorporate it.

4. Pour in the aquafaba and whip for 5 minutes until it turns light and creamy. Don't over whip it or it can become too soft.

5. Drizzle in the 4 tablespoons of caramel sauce, whip on high speed until fully combined. The buttercream should be thick and creamy. If its too runny, add chunks of butter in at a time whilst it's still whipping on high to get it to the perfect thick and creamy consistency. 

6. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate or cake stand. Dollop some of the buttercream on top and spread out until even using an off set spatula or pallet knife.
Make a well in the middle of the buttercream and fill with a heaped tablespoon of caramel sauce, and crumbled up pretzels. Repeat for the second layer.
Place the third cake layer on top. Press it down gently so it sticks.
Coat the whole cake with the buttercream. Place into the fridge for 30 minutes to set. This makes it easier for adding the final coat.

7. While the buttercream is still soft, get some caramel sauce on the end of a knife or spatula and spread it all around the cake in a 'swooping' motion (watch me decorate this cake here).
Add as much or as little caramel as you fancy.

Top with a light sprinkling of sea salt over the top of the cake (optional).


To store:
Keep this cake stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Best eaten within 3 days of making.
Un-iced cakes can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days.

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