Hey friends! Today I've teamed up with Fair Trade USA to help spread the word about their new Mother's Day campaign called FairHer. There are a great number of women who work for Fair Trade companies, including moms who are working to provide better lives for their families. Each time you purchase a Fair Trade product, you're empowering women in agricultural communities, fighting poverty and promoting environmental sustainability.
I mean - wow. You do all that just by buying chocolate! I can't think of a better win-win situation. Speaking of chocolate...

I always look forward to baking with Fair Trade ingredients, and this year's goodie box was filled with the most amazing baking cocoa and wafers. I decided to honor them in the best way I know how - by baking them into fluffy chocolate cake layers!
The box also held many great bars, truffles and munchable snacks. My favorite treat of all was the chocolate covered salted caramel popcorn by Marich, and that is what inspired the salty sweet flavors of this cake.

And guess what?! We're giving away an identical box of goodies to one lucky reader!

To enter: just leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post with what you'd love to make with these Fair Trade products. (Open to US residents.)

Each year Fair Trade USA pairs a blogger with a Fair Trade farmer to tell their story. Read below to discover how buying Fair Trade products positively impacts the people who grow our food.

Natividad Nagua, 53, an organic banana producer affiliated to UROCAL since 2004, declares: "Before I used to produce conventional bananas, but I was not happy with all the pesticides we used, as it damages our environment. I attended a conference with a representative from UROCAL and I immediately joined. We now produce clean, healthy, organic bananas, and the advantages of Fair Trade are incomparable. The stability of the price we get for our product makes us feel happy, and at home. I am very worried about the environment and the effects it has on everyone's health. Of course we all need to make a living and get ahead financially, especially to keep our children from migrating. I want them to study, but at the same time I don't want them to forget their land, their roots. My message to the consumers in the United States is: Please buy our bananas because they are clean, healthy, they come from a small organic farm, and you can give them to your kids, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, without any worries."

Now. This cake!

The recipe starts with my favorite chocolate cake layers. It's an unbelievably moist cake with the softest crumb. It's covered with salted caramel buttercream and then topped with drippy ganache. It's finished with a heaping helping of caramel corn and all the Fair Trade chocolate bars and candies I could throw at it!

As a caramel fanatic, this may be my new favorite version of chocolate cake. With its crown of crunchy caramel corn and chocolate munchies, it's over-the-top in the best way possible.

Caramel Chocolate Moxie Cake
Yields one 8-inch triple layer cake

It may seem odd that this cake is baked at 300°F instead of the usual 350°, but the lower temperature helps the cake to retain moisture, and it doesn’t crown so you won’t need to level it before frosting. I don’t consider the caramel corn on top optional, but feel free to use your favorite candy bars and chocolate toppings for this cake.

Chocolate cake layers
3 ounces Guittard semisweet chocolate 
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) hot brewed coffee or hot water
2 1/2 cups (300g) all-purpose flour
3 cups (600g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (185g) Lake Champlain unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups (340g) full fat sour cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Salted caramel frosting
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 cups (380g) confectioners’ sugar

Ganache drip
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
1/4 (85g) cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate “moxie” toppings
2 TCHO chocolate bars (70 grams each)
2 TCHO chocolate squares (.28 oz. each)
1 package (50g) Marich milk chocolate salted caramel popcorn
1 package (50 g) Marich dark chocolate salted caramels
1 1/2 cups (about 2.5 oz.) caramel corn
2 Alter Eco Truffles (velvet and salted caramel)

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 300°F. Grease three 8-inch round pans with shortening. Line bottoms with rounds of parchment paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and combine it in a bowl with hot coffee or hot water. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Add oil, sour cream, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add flour mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined. Divide batter between 3- 8” pans and bake in middle of oven until cake springs back when pressed in the center, approximately 40-50 minutes.

Cool layers in pans for 15 minutes on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto wire racks. Carefully remove parchment paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make the frosting: [post_ads]In a 2 quart saucepan, stir together the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until the mixture turns deep amber. Remove the pan from the heat source and slowly add the heavy whipping cream in a thin stream while whisking constantly. Be careful with this addition; the mixture will bubble and steam when the cream in added. Use a long handled whisk to avoid a steam burn on your hand; stir in the vanilla. Transfer the caramel to a separate bowl and let cool until just barely warm but still pourable. 
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and salt together until lightened and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioners’ sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running on low speed slowly pour in the cooled caramel. Beat on medium-high speed until completely combined, about 2 minutes. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel so the frosting doesn’t dry out as you assemble the cake. 

Make the chocolate glaze: combine chocolate and heavy cream in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high until the milk begins to steam. Remove from heat and let stand 2-3 minutes; whisk until chocolate and cream and smooth and combined. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Whisk again until smooth. Place mixture in the refrigerator until thick but still pourable, about 10-15 minutes.

Assemble the cake: Place a chocolate cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Cover with a layer of caramel frosting; repeat once more and top with the third cake layer. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining caramel frosting. Pour the cooled ganache over top of the cake and allow it to overflow and run down the sides. Insert candy bars standing upright into the top of the cake; top with caramel corn and chocolate candies.

Courtesy: Sprinkle Bakes


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