Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

I decided to prepare this month's Daring Bakers challenge while I was home for Thanksgiving break. This way, I had several more assistants, and many more mouths to feed!

While I enjoyed making and consuming this recipe, its richness demanded minuscule portions. I don't usually remark on a cake being too sweet, this one seriously meant business. If I were to make this another time, I might frost between the cake layers with a lighter, whipped cream icing, and cover it in the caramelized butter frosting, which was very intense (albeit in a good way).

This month's hosts include Dolores, Alex, Jenny, and gluten-free expert Natalie. The recipe comes from Shuna Fish Lydon at Eggbeater.

Caramel Cake

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

1.Preheat oven to 350F
2. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan. (I used a 9 x 15 inch jelly roll pan)
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
4. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
5. Sift flour and baking powder.
6. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}
7. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
8. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it (In the jelly roll pan, this cake needed 20 - 25 minutes to bake).

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

Caramel Syrup

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
2. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
3. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Caramelized Butter Frosting

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

1. Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
2. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.

For decoration, I drizzled the top of my cake with melted bittersweet chocolate.

Thanks, Daring Bakers, for another delicious recipe! Check the rest of the blogs out at http://daringbakersblogroll.blogspot.com/.

4 comments:

TeaLady said...

Love what you did with the cake. Long and low. Fantastic. Yeah, it was awful sweet and small portions were in order. I made minis and they were just right. Nice Job.

Vanessa said...

I am so going to do this. Holy cow that looks good

Reeni said...

What a beautiful cake. Caramel is the best, I love that syrup. You did a great job!

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