Mascarpone caramel frosting:
In a large bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the cream cheese and whisk until well combined and smooth. Add the caramel and vanilla paste and beat again until smooth. Now add the mascarpone cream and whisk gently until the mixture is smooth and combined. Finally, sift in the confectioner’s sugar and whisk until the frosting is light and fluffy.Chocolate ganache:
Place all the ganache ingredients in a glass bowl and position over a pan of simmering water. Melt over a gentle heat until smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool.Italian meringue:
To make the Italian meringue, place the sugar and water in small saucepan. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil on a rapid heat until the syrup reaches soft ball stage (235º F). Place the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and whisk until frothy. Add the cream of tarter and increase the speed. With the beater still running, slowly add the hot syrup in a steady stream and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form.To assemble the cake:
Position the first cake layer on a cake stand. Spread with 2 heaped tablespoons caramel frosting. Place the second cake layer on top, spread with frosting and continue in this manner until all the layers are stacked up. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the sides and top of the cake. This serves as the crumb coat. Chill the cake for 30-45 minutes. Ice the entire cake with a generous second layer of caramel frosting. This layer should be adequate enough to cover the dark chocolate cake beneath.
Pour the cooled ganache over the chocolate cake and ‘encourage’ the ganache over the sides with the back of a spoon. Chill the cake for about 20 minutes or just until the ganache is set. Transfer the meringue into a piping bag and pipe small peaks onto the ganache to cover the entire surface. Using a kitchen blow torch, scorch the meringue until golden.Note:
The meringue can tend to weep slightly is left to stand for an extended time. To safeguard against this, try to do the meringue peaks as close to the time you’d like serve the cake, although the Italian method is relatively safe and should minimise this.
Recipe reprinted with permission of Bibby's Kitchen@36
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