Saturday, November 29, 2008


November's Daring Bakers challenge was Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. The recipe is courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon, as published on Bay Area Bites. Our host this month was Dolores and her helpers were Alex, Jenny and Natalie. Thanks to all for your hard work hosting!!

It was a fun cake to make, with the many steps involved, but my honest take on it - It was way too sweet. I am known for my not so sweet desserts so upon tasting this one it was way over the top for me.

I just finished my challenge the night before posting as this has been a very busy month for me at work. I will be serving the cake to my fellow employees on posting day.

I followed the recipe exactly as written below. My only variation was to put a caramel sauce pattern on top of the cake. I also made two 9" round cakes and layered them together so I would have one tall cake.

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.


Jo said...

You've made such a lovely cake and the decorations are fantastic.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Wonderful job on the cake. I do love the caramel design on top!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...


Anonymous said...

Such beautiful caramel decoration!!

vibi said...

WOW! Just like in the magazines! The inside is simply as amzing as the outside! PERFECT!

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks divine. I wish I had your ability to decorate a cake. I agree with you, I wasn't too pleased with the cake either. Still, there is no way to know that until you make the recipe. Beautiful job.