Just hearing the word “fudge” brings tears of joy to most chocolate-lovers’ eyes. After all, what other dessert conjures up images so rich and chocolaty? It’s mind-boggling to consider how long fudge has been popular. Did you know that fudge was adored back in the 19th century and is still popular today?
According to John Mariani in the The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, fudge as a candy first appeared as a written recipe in 1896. Today fudge is more than just a candy–it’s used to enhance cakes, brownies, cookies, ice creams and frostings.
Most of us particularly love fudge cakes as they tend to be moister, richer and often more rewarding than regular chocolate cakes. We celebrated family birthdays occurring in January and February just recently and I was the official cake-baker. There were three “birthday girls” ranging in age from five years old, to mid-twenties, to her eighties.
When asked what kind of cake they would like , all agreed on chocolate cake, especially with white frosting. So that sent me on a hunt for an outstanding chocolate cake that would meet all my requirements; be moist and fudgy, and provide a large number of servings. This one relies on a good quality cake mix as the basis with some additions that really raise it to a level that I call outstanding.
One of the additions is caramel candies. You will notice in the directions that half-way through the baking process, caramels are gently pressed into the top crust of the cake. As the cake bakes they melt into a tunnel of caramel running through the center of the cake. Since most little girls like lots of “do-dahs” on their cake, I used chocolate covered caramels in the cake, and then melted more of them with a little cream, to create an uncomplicated, delicious topping that’s drizzled over the top and down the sides of the cake. To incorporate white frosting, I made a plain white frosting from butter, confectioner’s sugar and milk and kept it thin so it would run down the sides of the cake. I applied that first and after it firmed up, I then drizzled the caramel topping over it.
TURTLE FUDGE CAKE WITH CARAMEL DRIZZLE
Yield: 12 – 14 servings
For fudge cake:
- 1 (18.25 oz.) box Moist Deluxe Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker)
- 1 (3.9-oz.) box Jell-O Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding and Pie Filling Mix
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped ( I needed to omit the nuts, because of allergies)
- 25 caramels, such as Hershey’s Classic Caramels ( or chocolate covered caramels)
For Caramel Drizzle:
- 15 caramels
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly spray a 12-cup tube or Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs and sour cream in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until ingredients are just combined, about 1 1/2 minutes, stopping at least once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in pecans with a spatula, mixing just until nuts are thoroughly distributed. Batter will be thick.
3. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing and leveling top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove cake from oven and place caramels on top of cake in a ring, pressing them down gently just into top crust of cake.
Do not push them entirely into cake. Place cake back in the oven and bake for another 25 – 30 minutes (total of 50-55 minutes), or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
4. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn cake out of pan onto wire rack and let cool completely.
5. Make caramel drizzle: In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt caramels and heavy cream together until completely smooth. (You can melt them in the microwave also.) Place a sheet of waxed paper under wire rack holding cake and pour caramel over top of cake, allowing it to drizzle down sides and center. Note: I placed the cake on it’s serving plate, then slid strips of wax paper under the edges to catch any drips of frosting or caramel. These can be easily pulled out before serving–much easier than trying to maneuver a frosted cake onto a cake dish!!
To make your cake look like mine: After step 4, mix up a small amount of frosting using about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tbsp. soft butter and enough cream (start with 1 Tbsp. and add as necessary) to make a spreading consistency.
Pour over the cake and allow it to drip down the sides and center.
After it has hardened, proceed with step 5, making the caramel drizzle and dripping it over the white frosting so some of the white shows through.
This cake more than lived up to its promise! It was moist and fudgy, giving all the flavors of Turtle candies (minus the pecans). Definitely a calorie splurge, but for a Birthday cake it was definitely worth it. 😀
SOURCE: Major-ly adapted from Chocolatier Magazine