Nov 29, 2008

Daring Bakers-Caramel cake

This month's daring baker challenge is a caramel cake with caramelized butter frosting. This month's challenge is brought to us by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater. Helping Shuna are Alex of Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food, and Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go.

The original author of the Caramel Cake is Shuna Fish Lydon and the original recipe can be found here. We were also given the option of making Golden Vanilla Bean Caramel from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert. I didn't end up making the caramel as this is a busy time of the year for us.

This challenge has three parts, the caramel sauce, caramel cake and the caramelized butter frosting. The part that scared me the most was the caramel sauce...I think it was because of the warning that came with the recipe (see below). But it actually wasn't that bad at all. It was fun watching the sugar change color and the sauce is so very tasty!!

After making the caramel sauce, I made the caramel problems there, the cake turned out fine. Not too much trouble there...the last part was the caramelized butter frosting. I have never browned butter before and I absolutely love it!! I am now in search for other recipes that use browned butter. The smell of browned butter is amazing. The frosting is very good and you can really taste the browned butter, but the only thing is that it's so very very very sweet!! I wish I knew how to make it less sweet without ruining the texture, because I just love the browned butter taste...any ideas?

Here are the recipes, enjoy!!

Caramel Cake
from Shuna Fish Lydon

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.

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.

9. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

Caramel Syrup
by Shuna Fish Lydon

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 buttered frosting
by Shuna Fish Lydon

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.


toasty said...

This a fantastic flavor combination--caramel + caramel + even more caramel. :) I was surprised at how dense the cake was but I think it needed this 'weight' to stand up to the richness of the frosting. Speaking of frosting, this Caramelized Butter one is something I must stock in my fridge from now on!

Gretchen Noelle said...

What a fun looking little cake! Great job!

nikkita said...

oo yes I also love the browned butter... i wonder if harry potter's butter bear incorporates brown butter ?? hehe. Well done on your completed challenge.

Dolores said...

The browned butter was a popular element in this one... I'm glad you enjoyed it too. Thanks for baking with us this month.

Nikki Schmaltz said...

This will be my first try at your recipes. Mainly because the recipe is in cups. I'm not a great cook and all those grams confuse me. Easily done BTW:) I enjoy your blog and actually came upon it through stamping. I am hoping everyone will love this for Christmas. Thanks so much for this great treat


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