Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake with the Daring Bakers


I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  I had a great time with all of my family.  I was really relaxed this year despite having 40 people over.  We had so much food.  In fact, we had a whole turkey left over which we didn't even carve.  My fridge is stocked with leftovers and several yummy pies which I am eating bite by bite right out of the pie plates.  I think this year could be the year that I gain a few extra pounds over the holidays.  It's just so hard to resist all of the delicious food.

Of course then there's the Daring Baker's challenge which came right after Thanksgiving.  Of course I had to be a procrastinator and was up finishing it tonight after 9 hours of work.  I am so tired so if this post doesn't make sense, forgive me.

This months challenge was a recipe form Shuna Fish Lydon for Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting.  Our hosts this month were Dolores from Culinary Curiosity, Alex from Brownie of the Blondie and  Jenny of  Foray into Food. And for those gluten free bakers Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go  lent a hand too.

I decided to halve the recipe and make cupcakes instead of one large cake because I really need more dessert around here just like I need a hole in my head.  Instead of lining my pan with liners I put in little squares of parchment.  I reduced the sugar slightly on the cupcakes and frosting after reading several posts about how sweet they both were.  Overall, my favorite part of this challenge was the frosting and let me tell you, I usually don't like frosting.  This one has a really caramely flavor from the brown butter and the caramel syrup.  It is absolutely delicious.  The cake was good too with a nice moist ,tight crumb.  I thought that it lacked a little caramel flavor.  I think next time I will  add a little more of the caramel syrup.

Overall, the challenge was quick easy and delicious.  I will be keeping that frosting recipe on hand for future use.  I can't wait to see what the Daring Bakers will have in store for us next month!

Caramel Cake With Caramelized Butter Frosting:

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

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

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.

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.

Sift flour and baking powder. 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.}

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. 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. 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)

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.
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.
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.}

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

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl. 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.

Overall, I think the frosting is a keeper, I will keep that recipe tucked away for another time.  the cake was alright but nothing to jump through hoops for.  It was a fun and easy challenge.  I can't wait to see what next month will bring!


Gretchen Noelle said...

Very elegant cupcakes!! I think the frosting was incredible too. Delicious!

madcapcupcake said...

Beautiful job - I heart mini-cakes :) I really enjoyed this cake, sweet and decadent, mmmmmm :)