Prep time: 1 hr + cooling
Cook time: 1 1/4 hrs
380g dark baking chocolate, chopped
225g butter, at room temperature, plus 20g chopped butter, extra
1 cup caster sugar
9 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
600ml thickened cream, whipped
PRALINE AND CHOCOLATE SHARDS
1 1/2 tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup caster sugar
150g dark baking chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees or 150 degrees fan-forced. Grease and line bases and sides of two 22cm cake tins.
2. Melt 220g chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Use an electric mixer to beat butter, caster sugar and yolks in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate until combined.
4. Use a clean electric mixer to beat egg whites until firm peaks form. Fold flour into chocolate mixture. Whisk in one third of egg white mixture until well combined. Gently fold in remaining egg white, in two batches, until combined. Pour two-thirds of batter into one prepared pan and remaining batter into remaining pan. Place both cakes in oven. Bake smaller cake for 20-25 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Remove from pan when cool. Bake larger cake a further 20-25 minutes. Cool on wire rack and remove from pan when cool.
5. Meanwhile, stir the brown sugar, extra butter and 1/2 cup of the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 mins or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 4-5 mins or until thickened. Pour into a jug. Chill until thickened,
6. To make the praline and chocolate shards, line 2 small baking trays with baking paper. Place almonds on one tray. Stir sugar and 1 tbsp water in a small saucepan over low heat for 5 mins or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, for 4-5 mins or until golden. Pour over almonds, spreading with spatula. Cool. Finely chop. Melt chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Pour onto remaining tray and use spatula to spread until 2-3mm thick. Sprinkle with half the praline. Chill for 20 mins or until set. Break into shards. Keep chilled until ready to decorate.
7. Place remaining chocolate in a small saucepan with remaining cream on medium heat until smooth. Chill for 30 mins or until thickened but still spreadable.
8. Use a serrated knife to split the larger cake. Place bake on a large plate. Spread with half the whipped cream. Drizzle with half the caramel. Continue layering with remaining cake, cream and caramel, finishing with cake. Spread ganache on top. Arrange chocolate shards and sprinkle with remaining chopped praline.
Source: Coles Easter 2014 magazine