Eggless Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Glaze

I've been on a salted caramel spree for the last two months. My recent trip to Australia saw me gorge on everything that had anything to do with salted caramel. Starting from Salted Caramel Crepes to Salted Caramel Ice Cream, from Salted Caramel Tim Tam to salted Caramel Lindt Truffles, there has been no end to my salted caramel obsession. So much so that when my friend P went to the States for a conference last month, I even asked him to bring a jar of salted caramel to quench my lust. But there's no certainty as to when I'll meet P and consequently get my jar of salted caramel. I can't possibly wait till then, can I? So yeah, you guessed right, I had to make a batch of salted caramel at home. This is incredibly easy, I swear. The only thing you need to do is ensure that your local market is kind enough to supply you with heavy cream, and then while making it you have to be alert that your ingredients don't get burnt. It's that simple really.
Now I couldn't have salted caramel by spoonfuls (actually I totally could have!), so I decided to bake a cake to go with it. My Pishai is over at our place and when she's around I always make it a point to do eggless baking so that she's not left out from the calorie attack. I also decided to bring out my bundt pan which had been gathering dust since my first attempt (a disastrous one at that) at a bundt cake last year. Since the majority of the population at my house swear by chocolate I did not take to experimenting much and went straight down the dark chocolate route. Dutch-processed cocoa, I tell you. It's heaven! Thank God one of my best friends D lives in Amsterdam, so I'm never short of my Dutch cocoa!
Coming to the cake. As you can decipher from the name, it doesn't require any eggs or butter. Yeah, I've used butter in the frosting but you can do away with it. I'm always judgmental about eggless cakes and strongly believe that compromising with a key ingredient means compromising with taste also! But this cake put all my apprehensions to rest. Soft, moist, rich and so totally decadent. The salted caramel added to the zing of course. My family loved it and after taking a couple of spoonfuls my Pishai refused to believe that a cake as sinful as that could actually be eggless! You think I'm faffing? Try for yourself and see! And now excuse me while I cut myself a big, fat slice. :)
Recipe idea inspired and partly adapted from Melanie Makes
Ingredients:

For cake:
Flour: 300 gm
Caster sugar: 250 gm
Cocoa powder: 5 tbsp (I used Dutch processed)
Sea salt: 3/4 tsp
Baking powder: 2 tsp
Baking soda: 1/2 tsp
Olive/Vegetable oil: 100 ml
Water: 130 ml
Vanilla bean extract or vanilla essence: 2 tsp
Vinegar: 2 tsp

Caramel Frosting
Heavy cream: 200 ml (I used reduced fat cream because heavy cream was not available)
Butter: 40 gm
Sugar: 100 gm
Vanilla bean extract: 1 tsp
Sea salt: 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. Take a large bowl in which sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.

2. In a mixer, add oil, vanilla bean paste, vinegar and water. Pulse a couple of times till well combined.

3. Now gently fold in the oil-water mixture into the dry mixture, one-third at a time. Make sure that there are no lumps. The batter should be thick-ish.

4. Heat oven to 180 degree C and grease a bundt pan. Be careful and leave out no space while greasing, otherwise your cake might get stuck while unmoulding.

5. Pour batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until a tester comes clean.

6. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven soak a kitchen towel in hot water and wrap the bundt pan with the steaming hot towel. Let it rest on the wire rack for 20-25 minutes. The steam would ensure that the cake comes out of the pan smoothly.

7. After the cake has cooled, unwrap the towel and invert the pan on a plate. Tap from the top and sides until the cake comes out.

Salted Caramel Frosting:

1. While the cake is cooling make your salted caramel: In a small pan over medium high heat, add the sugar and swirl the pan so that the sugar spreads all over the base. Let it change colour to amber, which takes roughly 2 minutes. Now very carefully add the cream and stir as you do that. There'll be a lot of splutter at this stage, so be cautious. Now add the butter, stir everything and bring the sauce to a boil. Remove from heat and add the vanilla paste and salt stir to dissolve them.

2. Frost cake as soon as possible, otherwise the caramel will become thick and won't run down the sides of your bundt cake.

PS: You can also make this cake in a normal round or square cake tin. in that case reduce the baking time to 30-35 minutes.
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