29 November 2008

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

The plan was to get this post written and up first thing this morning. I had a glorious day planned, too: big coffee and blog writing, then decorate the house, watch the KU/MU game on TV, veg out, call the family. Instead I was awakened at 7am to a soft snowfall outside my bedroom window and the pitter-patter of. . . water dripping from our living room ceiling, splattering all over our beautiful dark hardwood floor. Lovely, just lovely.

Anyway, so I'm up and have done *quite a bit* already this morning but wanted to get this post done and over with, before I got wrapped up in all that other garbage I'll be dealing with all day.

I made mini cakes (from ramekins). I also thirded the recipe. I had read from other Daring Bakers that this cake was sweet sweet sweet, so I knew there was no way we would ever polish off more than a slice apiece. And yes, that is absolutely true. I won't be recreating the frosting anytime soon, that's where most of the sickeningly sweet flavor came from. The cake itself, though, was one of the best cakes I have ever made - incredibly soft crumb, like the kind you find in fancy wedding cakes and the like. With just a lightly sweet flavor of caramel. Oh, yes, the cake was very, very good.

We were also given the option to make caramels, but I've decided to tackle and blog that recipe another time. It got rave reviews from my fellow Daring Baker foodies. Thanks to Dolores, Alex (Brownie), and Jenny for hosting this month! And as always: check out those other Daring Bakers' creations this month.

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 c. Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 eggs, at room temperature
Splash vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. 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. {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.

Caramel Syrup
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1 c. 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.}

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 lb. 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.

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)


Cynthia's Blog said...

OMG hope the flooring is okay!!! OUch that is scary. Yes, the frosting was really sweet. But your cakes look really "sweet".

Engineer Baker said...

Ooo, I hope the leak is fixed soon, that's no fun. But I *love* the mini cakes with the swirled frosting - so pretty!

culinography said...

I hate it when a great plan gets interrupted! Hope everything is ok... your cakes look lovely!

Snooky doodle said...

Wow I love how you decorated the cakes :)they look so elegant, I m not a big fan of buttercream so maybe I ll try only the cake recipe :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Sorry about your ceiling! Your cake does look lovely!!

Renee said...

How pretty and fluffy! The look yummy!

Jo said...

Ooh you made little cakes, so cute. Love the idea.

Leslie said...

Adorable cakes!!!! I am sorry to hear about the leaky roof..thats never any fun!

Raquel said...

I hope the ceiling leak is not so bad. Ours took 7 weeks to fix.
Your mini cake looks heavenly. Was it easy to remove from the rameking when done? I would like to try that next time. Awesome!

rookie cookie said...

I have seen quite a few post with this month's Daring Baker's recipe. But I do have to say yours is the prettiest. Looks good enough to eat:)

vibi said...

Beautiful Nemmie! Like little storms of divinity... baked in big storms of trouble! I hope all is well.

Dolores said...

Damn... to this Californian a morning snowfall sounds like the perfect way to start the holiday season. Raining in the living room? Ehh... not so much. :(

Interesting that people either loved or hated the buttercream. Sorry it didn't work better for you, but thanks for baking with us. Your little cakes are exquisite.

Chicken Momma said...

I hope your leaky roof is fixed. Your cake is gorgeous.

Claire said...

Beautiful cake! I love your detailing. Hope that you get your leak fixed soon and that the floor are okay...I love hard woods!