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

32 comments:

Gretchen Noelle said...

I totally agree that the frosting turned addictive. Great job!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

It looks wonderful! great job here!

Cheers,

Rosa

Dragon said...

I think I'm addicted to this frosting too. :) Great job!

Laurie said...

I too, became addicted to the frosting...your cake looks great!

Beth said...

I'm glad that your frosting worked for you. If only I had added a bit of good salt, I may have salvaged mine!

Engineer Baker said...

I wish my work had a Cake Day :) Glad it was such a hit!

Michelle said...

Lovely! I loved the frosting, too!

hexe said...

I too was worried about how sweet the frosting tasted which is how I ended up rummaging around in my cupboard and using the dark chocolate and walnuts. I love the swirl of your frosting!

Vegansfields said...

Great cake too ! Your frosting looks wonderful (got some trouble with mine, vegetable butter doesnt work as well as dairy butter, had to pour coconut flakes into it to create stars on my cupcakes).
have a nice sunday,

xoxoxo
Bea

April said...

Great looking cake!

pinkstripes said...

This cake WAS wonderful. My husband is still talking about it (and i made it a couple of weeks ago.)

Jude said...

I found the frosting quite addictive asa well... I couldn't help but keep having a taste while making the cake :)

Audax said...

What great icing and the swirl is wonderous. Love the way you described the process. Thanks for the comments on my blog. Happy Holidays to you and your ken.

hanne said...

The frosting was sweet, but so tasty! I added a lot of salt, which helped and made it, like you said, exotic.

Di said...

Sounds like everyone really loved it! I wasn't sure I was going to like the frosting either, and was surprised how much I liked it.

Sara said...

my coworkers complained when they ate up what i brought them and there wasn't any more! your cake looks lovely.

strawberriesinparis said...

Nice swirly design!! Daring baking is so much fun!!

Passionate About Baking said...

I totally agree with you...yum challenge with a dangerously addictive frosting! How nice to enjoy 'Cake Tuesdays' at work...YUM!

Bumblebutton said...

Loved your lyrical post! Great job--and you were very nice to share...we didn't!

Jaime said...

it only took me 2-3 min of whisking the caramel syrup, not 10min. try that next time :) love the swirl on the top of your cake; glad you enjoyed it

Ruth said...

Your cake is beautiful and totally addicting. I agree with you this cake is like poetry. Stunning!

Erin said...

Your cake looks great! I definitely agree with you about the frosting!

Rebecca said...

Your cake sounds like it's completely delicious. Good job!

Ahmad said...

Your cake looks like a HURRICANE!

Elle said...

You have lucky co workers! The combo of the browned butter and the caramel and some cream sure did make the frosting have a fine flavor...but so sweet! Nice post!!

Pat said...

Your DB cake came out wonderful! I had trouble with my first batch of syrup hardening too! I had to remake it.

I love your pistachio cake too --yum!

TeaLady said...

Cake looks great. Like the swirl. The frosting was good, wasn't it.

Rosie said...

Your cake looks gorgeous!! Well done :)

Rosie x

SweetDesigns said...

Awesome job! Your cake looks wonderful, I am glad you enjoyed it so much!! Thanks for stopping by!!

Katy said...

lovely! and i think i'm in the minority -- i thought this was one of the best frostings imaginable!

Jenny said...

I bet you are the popular one at the office after that cake!

Vera said...

Heather, your cake turned out great! And it's wonderful that everybody loved it so much!