Monday, December 1, 2008

November Daring Bakers' Challenge--CARAMEL CAKE

The November DB challenge is here!! I didn't expect I would be late in posting this because I've been excited to start it as early as the first week--but then, life got hectic, and my oven broke down, I was like a ship without a rudder, I lost my interest to bake and to blog. But miracle of all miracles, the repairman came and fixed it. Now my oven is as good as new and I'm back on track.
The hosts of this month's challenge, Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity; Alex of Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray of Food chose Shuna Fish Lydon’s Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. I have to admit, I am not much of a caramel person, I had a very unsatisfying episode with caramel fudge from way back. But then I am not one to turn down a challenge, so I rolled up my sleeves (figuratively) and came up with my 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
Preheat oven to 350FButter 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.
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.}

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy
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
(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)
*I halved the recipe for caramel syrup after reading the other DB's comments that they had a surplus of caramel syrup. I also did not make the caramels anymore.
**To break the sweetness of the caramel, I sandwiched the two cake layers between coffee-flavored whipped cream.


Christina said...

Your cake looks perfect, great job!

Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

Y said...

Hooray to a fixed oven! I remember feeling very anxious when mine had a mini breakdown too :D Lovely cake!

TeaLady said...

Cake is lovely. Love the large rosettes on top.

Anonymous said...

did it taste like Costa BRavas or Estrels?