Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Caramel Cake

November's Daring Baker's challenge is here and it's Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting.

It starts with making the caramel syrup. I was a bit nervous about this, but it turned out to be so easy.
The cake itself was delicious. I decided to make it in two layers. They came out very fragile. In fact, the bottom layer crumbled as I was taking it out of the pan. I don't think I would make it in layers like this next time.

And here is the finished cake with frosting. The frosting was pretty easy to make and the texture was really nice.

Here are the recipes for the cake and frosting:


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 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.


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.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 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

This cake was easier to make than I thought it would be. I would make the cake again for sure. However, I don't think I will make the frosting. It's just too sweet for my taste. I think this cake would make a wonderful trifle. I can imagine it layered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.

Thank you to:

Shauna Fish Lydon for her recipe for this cake.

Delores, Alex and Jenny for hosting this months challenge.

Natalie for assisting with gluten free changes. (See the Daring Bakers Blog Roll for gluten free blogs)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Food and Family

Of course everyone looks forward to the food on Thanksgiving. It's the one time that many of us let ourselves indulge to our hearts content without guilt. After having a wonderful meal, I indulged in three different desserts before the night was out. When faced with pumpkin pie, cheesecake and chocolate cake how could I be expected to make a choice?

And would you just look at my mothers beautiful turkey? I will soon be serving myself up some left over breast with a side of sweet potatoes. With each bite I'll remember the day and how great it was to see my family that was there.

We're creating wonderful traditions for our children. They get to play with their cousins and see extended family that rarely get the chance to be in one place at the same time.

Here is Violet with her dad, my brother Justin, I think she was waiting for cake in this picture. She sure looks excited, doesn't she?

Here is my brother Daniel with his new baby Thomas. Isn't this just one of the sweetest pictures you've ever seen?

And here is sweet little Lily, she's Violet's sister. Good food and kids to play with always makes for a good nap. And when you have mom to sleep on, what could be better?
Jade just wanted to be the one taking the pictures. But I had to get in a nice shot of her. Just look at the attitude she developing. It makes me afraid of what the teenage years have in store for us.
And then there is Braden. We had to put the cake out of reach.
Unfortunately I didn't get any good pictures of Megan, they were all blurry. I also didn't get any pictures of my nephew Logan. The poor little guy was so sick. I hope he's feeling better now and knows we love him.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and cherished the time with your friends and/or family.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Halloween Post

Yes, I know it's a bit late for this one. But I just finally got faster internet and I wanted to show off my awesome pumpkin carving skills and my adorable children. So I guess you are just going to have to deal with it.
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