Decorated with an easy 'naked' butter cream frosting, vienna almonds and a sprinkle of edible flowers, this four-layer caramel mud cake will make an eye-catching centrepiece at any event. Simply stunning!
1.Preheat oven to 150°C. Lightly grease 2 x deep 20cm round cake pans. Line bases and sides with baking paper.
2.In a large, heavy-based saucepan combine butter, chocolate, sugar, water and syrup. Stir over a low heat until smooth and combined (do not boil). Transfer to a bowl. Allow to cool.
3.Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and vanilla into mixture. Fold in combined sifted flours. Divide mixture between pans.
4.Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5.Use a serrated knife to level the cakes. Halve each cake horizontally.
6.Meanwhile, to make buttercream; in a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale. Gradually add half icing sugar until combined. Beat in milk and remaining icing sugar until smooth. Transfer half icing to a bowl and tint pale pink with a little food colouring.
7.Fill cakes with un-tinted buttercream. Using pink butter cream roughly ice around top and sides of cake.
8.Serve cake topped with vienna almonds and edible flowers.
To make vienna almonds preheat oven to 180°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Arrange 250g whole blanched almonds on baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until light golden. In a medium, heavy-based saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 water and 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil. Cook, without stirring, for 8-12 minutes, until just golden around the edges. Add almonds to toffee with 2 teaspoons butter, gently stirring to coat. Pour onto tray. Use a wooden spoon to spread into a single layer. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Break up toffee-coated nuts and store in an airtight container.