Before we get to Ryan's notes on the recipe, a quick note from me...Holy Cake, right?! I was beyond impressed with this creation, which is undoubtedly more difficult than anything I've attempted. My only regret is that I didn't get great photos of it...after eating it for a few days when it was too dark to photograph, I finally took it straight from the freezer to take pictures (hence why it looks a little frosty). I pride myself in my ability to take down massive amounts of dessert, and I have to say this cake just about did me in! After eating some four days in a row (and sharing with lots of friends!), we finally passed the rest off to my sister-in-law Kate (who deserved some after she helped Ryan with this!)...lest you think I actually ate a 10 pound cake by myself in a few days! I have a pretty great guy, huh?
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes.
Rather than attempting to document the lengthy recipe accurately, I refer you to the above link (Sprinkle Bakes) for the detailed process.
-I used bitter-sweet chocolate chips rather than semi-sweet for the chocolate curls for a darker chocolate taste and color. I found the curls somewhat difficult to make at first. Once I figured out the perfect temperature at which the chocolate curled, I was able to make some decent curls. However, the chocolate would soften quickly, so it took numerous trips to the fridge to yield enough curls to cover the outside of the cake. The curls are a nice aesthetic touch but could be omitted.
-The two 9" springform pans used for the cheesecake layers were slightly different in shape from the cake pans used for the cake layers. To address this, I used a serrated bread knife to shave the sides as evenly as I could once the cake was assembled and fully frozen (but before applying the ganache). It is also important to shave each layer as flat as possible before assembling the cake. My cake had some small gaps around the edges due to slight doming in the middle of the layers; however, the gaps were easily filled by the ganache and were not noticeable when the cake was cut.
-It was difficult to cut the first piece, especially due to the thick caramel. Using a knife warmed by hot water, cutting became easier after the first slice was removed.
-Overall, making this cake was very involved and required some patience. However, I was happy with the finished product (and received rave reviews from the numerous people this fed--at least 20 servings!). I think I even managed to impress the birthday girl and skilled baker, Natalie!