My boyfriend’s favorite candy in the world is the Heath Bar, a delightfully crunchy slab of toffee covered in creamy milk chocolate, a combination that forms a truly satisfying experience of texture and flavor.
During the second year of our relationship, I surprised him on his birthday with what quickly became his favorite dessert: a Heath Bar cake of my own design, cobbled together and rearranged from recipes found around the Internet. I’ve had a few years to perfect this confection, and last week I made my third, in celebration of N’s 28th birthday.
Thus, I present Heath Bar pudding cake with butterscotch filling:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 TSP baking powder
- 1 TSP baking soda
- 1 TSP salt
- 1 cup oil
- 1.5 cups buttermilk
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 TB vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla pudding packet
- 1-2 cups Heath milk chocolate toffee bits
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup tightly-packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 TSP vanilla extract
- 1 TSP salt
Chocolate frosting + decoration:
- 1 + 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Cocoa 100% Cacao Special Dark)
- 6 TB butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 TSP vanilla extract
- 1/2 bag Heath milk chocolate toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two cake pans with parchment paper, then butter and flour them. (Refrain from using a spray, as in my experience this has lead to overly crisped edges.)
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and sugar with an electric mixer until the yolks are integrated, then slowly add in the dry ingredients in batches. Beat until just well combined, then stir in the vanilla extract and vanilla pudding powder until smooth and completely incorporated. (Do not make the mistake of beating too long, or you will have a tough sponge.) Fold in the Heath bar bits and spoon the mixture into the two pans. If it appears too viscous, add a bit more buttermilk.
Place in the center of the oven and allow to bake, checking in starting at 20 minutes. Use a toothpick to determine whether the center comes out clean. (If they need more time but are already browning, cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent an over-baked crust.) When they’re ready, remove and let sit for 10 minutes on a rack before overturning/removing the pans to finish cooling. They should be soft, golden, and somewhat silky. Do not assemble cake until sponges have been completely cooled.
While the cakes bake, prepare the butterscotch filling, which I adapted from this recipe. In a small saucepan, heat your butter over a low-medium range. Just before the butter completely melts, add the brown sugar and combine completely. Allow it to caramelize and take on a molten texture over the next 3-5 minutes. Add the cream and whisk until the concoction is smooth and well-integrated. Leave on the stove over the next 7 minutes, stirring only every few minutes. (Do not be tempted to over-stir, as your butterscotch will not crystallize and form the somewhat firm texture needed to remain stable between the layers.)
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 15 or 20 minutes. The butterscotch should form a sort of “skin” in the process. Whisk in the vanilla extract and salt. Leave to cool another 45 minutes to an hour. If it’s slightly too hard when you’re ready to assemble the cake, feel free to warm it a little so that it spreads evenly.
While the cake and the butterscotch get to room temperature, make the frosting by combining the powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, milk, and vanilla, and then mix until homogeneous. (There should be no visible lumps of butter.)
Once you’re ready to assemble, level the cakes with a knife or another tool. Spread the butterscotch over one sponge and stack the other on top. Ice the cake on all sides and scatter the rest of the bag of Heath bits on top, pressing down on them so they don’t easily crumble off.
Enjoy a slice with a glass of milk!