There’s a new shop that just opened practically across the street from us. Across town, on the East Side, it’s called “The Best Chocolate Cake in the World”. Somehow, on the West Side, it’s morphed into “Choco Bolo” (2058 Broadway between 70th and 71st Streets). Perhaps the name change reflects somebody pointing out that the old moniker was slightly obnoxious even in a city of superlatives. Or more likely, the bakery, which has its roots in Lisbon, is just trading on its Portuguese heritage: Choco Bolo translates to “Chocolate Cake”. I have another theory: As good as Choco Bolo’s cakes are, and I am told they are outrageously good, someone had one taste of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliofito’s Sweet and Salty Chocolate Cake and surrendered the title on the spot.
|Renato, seated, and Matt|
You know Matt and Renato from these pages because the recipe for this chocolate cake is the tenth time we’ve featured a recipe from Baked, their Brooklyn-based bakery. That is a record in and of itself but it speaks volumes about in what high esteem Andrew holds these two bakers. They’ve got two cookbooks now, “Baked” and “Baked Explorations”. They’ve got a line of packaged mixes for brownies and bars that are sold at Williams Sonoma. And, if you read my email blasts, I’m thrilled to say they’ll be at the Artisan’s Market when I’ll be there showing off Monte’s Ham. So if you come to Williams Sonoma at The Shops at Columbus Circle on December 3rd, you can help yourself to ham and a brownie…an odd combination for sure, but delicious nonetheless.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until ribbonlike, about 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
Make the Salted Caramel In a small saucepan, combine the cream and fleur de sel. Bring to a simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved.
Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on the cream mixture so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F., 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 minute.
Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over very low heat. Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on the cream so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F., 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the caramel cool for 1 minute.
Add the cream to the caramel and stir to combine. Stir slowly for 2 minutes, then pour the caramel over the chocolate. Let the caramel and chocolate sit for 1 minute, then, starting in the center of the bowl, and working your way out to the edges, slowly stir the chocolate and caramel mixture in a circle until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the mixture cool, then transfer it to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy.
Assemble the Cake
Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread 1/4 cup of the caramel over the top. Let the caramel soak into the cake, then spread 3/4 cup of the ganache frosting over the caramel. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the fleur de sel over the frosting, then top with the second cake layer. Spread with caramel frosting and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the fleur de sel. Then top with the third layer. Spread with caramel. Crumb coat the cake (see page 22) and put the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up the frosting. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Garnish with a sprinkle of fleur de sel.
This cake will keep beautifully in a cake saver at room temperature (cool and humidity free) for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake saver and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.