I started by halving the cake recipe I think of as my base chocolate cake. I hate halving recipes because a) math is not my thing and b) using half an egg is tricky business. But the recipe I have was meant for a multi-tiered cake and I only needed two 9" rounds for this. The only other thing I did different for this recipe was to add a few dashes of cloves and the zest of about three oranges.
Side note: I was concerned before I baked the cake the the batter tasted more like orange than it did clove and was tempted to add more; but after a quick phone call to my mom I concluded the the cloveyness might be more prominent post baking; and it was.
Also for this creation I used my mom's recipe to make caramel:
1 cup each sugar, butter and karo syrup.
1 can sweet & condensed milk
Melt the first three ingredients until they're all combined and the sugar is dissolved.
Bring to a boil and let it go, without stirring, for 4 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in the sweet & condensed milk and a wee bit of vanilla, then put it back on the heat and bring to a boil.
Let it boil while stirring often for 14-ish minutes.
This is the color it should be when done. And while it's tempting...I really wouldn't recommend sampling it right away.
Second side note: if you want to make the caramel for candy, let it boil for 15-16 minutes then pour into a 9x9 pan to cool and set up. Boiling it for less time leaves it a little more viscous for filling my cake or the inside of chocolate shells.
While the caramel cooled I prepared the cakes by making a well in the bottom layer. First I cut off just the raised top section then shaved out more until I thought I had a decent hole.
For future reference though, I think I would make less of a dent in the bottom later and make a similar well in the top layer. This way there ended up being a lot of cake on top, then a thick layer or caramel, then a thin layer of cake.
Once it was cool I pour off the caramel into the cake. It was partially set up already but all I had to do was use the spatula to smooth it all to the edges.
I next made a small amount of ganache, flavoring the heavy cream with orange extract before adding the chocolate. I let that cool for a bit then poured it over the cake, smoothing it down the sides.
The ganache wasn't as thick as I wanted so I put the cake in the refrigerator for a little while which helped the ganache to set.
Unfortunately I was under a bit of a time crunch so I couldn't complete it the way I wanted to. While I had a smooth covering of ganache I would have liked to do a caramel drizzle on top as well. Even though the decorating wasn't completed to my satisfaction though, it really tasted good. I served it with dollops of homemade whipped cream which I do recommend doing; it helps to cut down on the richness of the cake.