Saturday, November 29, 2008

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Daring Bakers: Caramel Cake

I nearly leaped for joy when I saw what Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, Jenny of Foray into Food, and Alex of Blondie and Brownie chose for this month's Daring Baker's challenge. They didn't just choose a recipe for a regular cake, the upped the ante by picking a Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. Doesn't that name just make you think of sugar heaven? In the post on the Daring Baker's Kitchen site, this month's hosts said that sugar was the star. The cake has more sugar in it than you can imagine, but that's because the cake is pure sugar perfection. I took the star comment a little too literally and made my cakes star shaped. They were so cute and the perfect size for shipping to Alex.

Thank you to Dolores, Jenny, and Alex for choosing such a great recipe and thanks to Shuna Fish London of Eggbeater for creating such a deliciously indulgent cake!

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting
Source: Shuna Fish London, published by Bay Area Bites (here)

10 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp 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 tsp 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.

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.

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 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 Tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp 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.

Caramel can be so messy sometimes

So delicious!


Engineer Baker said...

Such cute little star cakes - fabulous! It sounds like they were a hit.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

That cake is a star! Lovely!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely star cakes!! Great idea!

Anonymous said...

Wow, check this out:

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

A star shape is a great idea!

vibi said...

Bravo Stephanie! The idea of star minis is very creative! Although it must have been pretty hard to ice them... they turned out to be very pretty!

Dolores said...

I love that you took the star theme literally... your mini stars look great shimmering in caramel overlay.

Thanks for baking with us this month!

Claire said...

I love the stars...perfect for this dessert!

~Amber~ said...

Your little cakes are adorable.