Sunday, November 30, 2008

daring bakers - caramel cake

There's been a lot of non-food talk on this site over the past little bit, so Daring Bakers have pulled my up by my bootstraps and got me into the kitchen at last. This month's DB is a Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. And first up, in line with the new DB rules, let me get the credits outta the way. This month's hostess with the mostest is Delores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, with co-hosts Alex from Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food. The recipe itself is from Shuna Fish Lydon from Eggbeater, but this particular recipe is available on Bay Area Bites. You can go straight to this link to get the recipe, but I've broken from my usual practice of relying on lazy links, and have tirelessly typed it out, to make it all metric for those so inclined.

Carmamel Cake with Carmaelised Butter Icing

Caramel Syrup

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelisation
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 colour 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 s
ticky 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.

These are my before and after syrup photos.

The Cake

140g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe above)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ba
king 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 and 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 baking tray. 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.

Caramelised Butter Icing

170g unsalted butter
450g icing 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 icing 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 icing sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Now, I've been a little late posting this, so I have to admit I haven't tried it yet, there will be guests arriving in about an hour and this will be our desert. What I have tasted (batter and icing) is pretty darn fine. Caramel is a favourite flavour of mine, and this has it in spades. The cake took much longer than expected to cook, so I hope it's OK in the centre.

This was dead easy to get together, even with the three seperate bits. My only advice is that unless you have multiple uses for it, half the syrup recipe, as it produces buckets of the stuff.

I will let you all know later tonight how the proof of the pudding went.


TeaLady said...

Hope you let us know how it turned out for you.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Well, it looks great, hope you did enjoy it!

Kitty said...

thanks ladies. Hope you've had a chance to see the update. I will call this 'the cake of tiny portions'.

Dolores said...

So glad to help you back into the kitchen. Your caramel is a *gorgeous* shade of amber. Checking out the update now...

Claire said...

Looks great! I'm sure it was wonderful.