First step is preparing three 9-inch round cake pans. Smear butter all over the insides, stick a circle of parchment paper in each and sprinkle them with flour. This is my favorite way of guaranteeing that the cakes don't stick to their pans. (They tend to get emotionally attached to each other in the oven.)
Get all of your ingredients together and ready to use. Add the sugar to the pan and heat on medium-high heat. As it starts to melt, whisk it constantly. Clumps will start appearing, but they will soon break down. Hakuna matata. Stop whisking when it's all melted. Swirl the pan once in a while as it cooks.
While the cakes are in the oven you can get started with the nougat filling. The first thing you gotta do is melt the butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar and evaporated milk until dissolved and bring to a boil.
Salted Caramel Sauce:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 12 tbsp unsalted butter, chopped, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 2½ cups + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp salt
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 4½ tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup evaporated milk
- 1½ cups marshmallow fluff
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup salted caramel
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
- ½ cup (4 oz) heavy cream
- Salted caramel
- Chopped peanuts
- Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans by smearing the bottom of the pans with butter, lining them each with a circle of parchment paper and sprinkling flour over them. Preheat oven at 350.
- Salted Caramel: Melt the sugar in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat, whisking it as you go along. It will form clumps, and then melt. Once it does, stop whisking and swirl sugar around the pan a few times while it cooks.
- AS SOON as it turns a deep amber color, add the butter. It will bubble up suddenly. Whisk until smooth.
- Remove from heat and slowly add the cream. It will bubble up again.
- Whisk in the salt and let cool for 15 minutes. Whisk once in a while so it remains smooth.
- Cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes in medium speed. Scrape the bowl and mix again for a few seconds until fully mixed. The batter will be super thin.
- Divide evenly between three pans and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate pans in oven and bake until toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs, about 12 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans for 20 minutes.
- Nougat Filling: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sugar and evaporated milk and stir until dissolved.
- Once it starts to boil, cook for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring a few times during the process. Remove from heat and stir in marshmallow fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, until smooth. Fold in peanuts. Let it cool before spreading it on cake.
- Salted Caramel Frosting: Beat together butter and cream cheese on medium high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in salted caramel.
- In low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar until fully incorporated. Then beat in medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until fluffy.
- Assembly: Remove one of the cakes from its pan and place in large plate. Line the corners with parchment paper and tuck strips under the cake so that the frosting doesn't smear it.
- Spread half of the nougat filling over first layer and spoon some caramel sauce over filling. Repeat with second layer.
- Add third layer and frost the cake with a thin crumb coat. Refrigerate for about ten minutes. Remove from fridge and finish frosting.
- Refrigerate cake for about 1 hour.
- Chocolate Ganache: Place chocolate in a medium sized bowl.
- Warm cream over medium heat. As soon as it starts boiling, pour cream over chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Whisk occasionally to keep it that way.
- Garnish: Using a measuring cup, pour ganache over center of the cake, letting it spread out and run over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Sprinkle the top with chopped peanuts. Keep the cake in the fridge and remove 20 minutes before serving.