Alright, the pressure to post more is getting to me!!!! Found this cake recipe on Epicurious and it sounded decadent and impressive enough to serve to Greg's mom for her birthday this year. The caramel-milk chocolate frosting is to die for. Everyone was moaning over it! Better the second day, so you might want to make it a day ahead. There is a ton of frosting to use and it gets nice and hard when the cake is chilled.
Chocolate cake with milk chocolate-caramel frosting.
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract ( I was out and used bourbon)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
24 ounces good milk chocolate (Dove or imported), finely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/4 cups whipping cream
For cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Sift Flour and next four ingredients together in bowl. Using electric mixer or by hand, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla or bourbon. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Beat in 1/2 cup lukewarm water.
Divide batter among prepared pans (about 2 1/3 cups for each). Smooth tops. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 22 minutes. Cool completely in pans on racks. Invert cakes onto parchment (cakes are delicate). Peel off parchment on bottom.
For frosting: Combine milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in large bowl. Stir sugar and 1/2 cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes. Carefully and slowly add whipping cream (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir over low heat until any hard caramel bits dissolve and mixture is smooth. Pour caramel over chocolate; let stand 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften, then whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Chill chocolate-caramel frosting until completely cool, about 2 hours. (or freeze bowl if you are pressed for time) Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before continuing (or microwave a bit to melt)
Using electric mixer, beat frosting just until color resembles milk chocolate and frosting is easily spreadable, about 1 minute (do not overbeat or frosting will become stiff and grainy). If necessary to correct graininess, set bowl with frosting over saucepan of simmering water for 10-second intervals, whisking just until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
Place 1 cake layer on platter, flat side up. Spread 1 cup frosting evenly over top. Top with second cake layer, flat side up, pressing slightly to adhere. Spread 1 cup frosting over top. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling decoratively.