Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Caramel Cake - Daring Bakers
This is the most absolutely wonderful cake. I whined and worried all the way through the making but in the end it turned out fine. The result - a delicious caramel flavored dense-crumb cake, with a frosting that becomes increasingly addictive the more you taste it.
Many thanks to Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity for so graciously hosting our challenge this month; also to co-hosts Alex of Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food. This was probably my favorite challenge. And of course thank you, thank you to Chef Shuna Fish Lydon for her wonderful Caramel Cake Recipe . Shuna's blog is Eggbeater. I am still dreaming and drooling, even though we ate it two weeks ago.
The Cake Experience
I started off with the syrup and ended up making it twice as I thought it was supposed to taste like caramel - even though it was a nice amber color it tasted like barley sugar. Thank goodness for our Forum as I got good advice from a fellow DB'er that it's not supposed to taste like caramel - it's only sugar and water; it's butter that gives it a caramel flavor. I also got the tip on the Forum to whisk the syrup mix for 10 minutes before dousing it with the cold water - the recipe did not give us a time span.
I was alarmed to see the syrup set like a firm jelly while I dithered around taking breaks, then getting the other ingredients together. I microwaved it for about 15 seconds but it wouldn't liquify, so I had to add gelatinous blobs to the batter and the frosting. NEXT TIME - must work more quickly so as to catch the syrup before it gels - Syrup first; wait until just cooled, then make the batter.
The cake came out beautifully, giving off a divine aroma. I baked it for 25 minutes after turning; it probably would have been fine at just over 20 minutes as my cake developed rather brownie edges.
For the frosting I played by the rules, even though I was so tempted to try something less sweet (even made a beautiful Swiss meringue buttercream for the cake, which I will freeze as I didn't use it). I don't usually make frosting with confectioners' sugar - it is just too cloying and grainy but as it was part of our Challenge I had to use it if I wanted to play fair (and get credit, of course!).
This frosting is admittedly very sweet indeed, but the browned butter and the 2 Tbs. of caramel syrup give it a wonderfully exotic flavor, heightened by about a half-teasp. of sea salt crystals - pretty sophisticated.
I halved the portion of frosting as I wasn't sure I was going to use it at first. It's an ample quantity to cover the top of the cake, but as I spred it I couldn't help wishing I could make nice puffy creamy swirls with more frosting.
The Verdict: My co-workers loved it and so did I. It is a really special cake. There was such a demand for slices that I had to cut small slivers so people could get a taste. with the full amount of frosting now. This cake is like poetry - it has the power to uplift the spirit and change ones mood. "Cake Day" Tuesday was at work was very upbeat. Will definitely make again for a special occasion, with the full amount of frosting.
Here's Shuna's recipe:Caramel Cake