Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

It's Daring Baker time again! The Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting recipe was chosen by this month's host Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, and her co-hosts Alex, the Brownie of Blondie and Brownie, and Jenny of Foray into Food. The recipe itself was authored by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater, and published at Bay Area Bites .

This month's recipe was a challenge for me because I have a fear of all things Caramel. Well - I have a fear of making caramel, because I always end up burning myself! This recipe ended up no differently - I got 4 small burns on my arm while making the caramel syrup. (Please take note of the safety warnings in this recipe! Wear long sleeves and have ice water standing by!!) But despite the burns, I enjoyed making and eating this cake!
Caramel 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

I decorated mine with some fresh sliced strawberries, then drizzled some leftover Caramel Syrup over the top. I shared it with my family and some friends from down the street - which always makes dessert taste better!


BC said...

Oh no! I followed the suggestion of putting a piece of tinfoil over the pan and pouring the water through a small hole. No burns!

Dolores said...

Ouch! Take care of those burns!

And I agree with you; sharing dessert makes it MUCH better. So does sharing the baking... thanks for joining us this month.

Fran Z said...

OOOO The strawberries sound like a wonderful contrast! I used one of those mesh spatter shield thingies so I was spared....
It used to be my mom's and it was the first time I used it!

kimberleyblue said...

Sorry to hear you got injured - but hey! At least your cake looks really nice!

Anonymous said...

love the berry idea! a fresh fruit probably helps counter the rich sugary sweetness of the icing, plus it presents beautifully in your photos!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Sorry to hear that you suffered the caramel this time around again. Your cake turned out great!

ingegerd said...

your cake is fantastic!!

Lynn said...

Well, I am impressed that you soldiered on and finished the challenge despite your fear of caramel. One thing that I have learned from many years of baking is to use a larger pan than is called for. As you pour the final liquid in, whether water or cream, the larger pan prevents the caramel from bubbling over. For, me, it is a safety precaution and then you don't have that nasty cleanup.

I think your desert looks lovely. And I love the use of berries.

Jerri - Simply Sweet Home said...

Your cake looks lovely.

Sandra Avital said...

I'm so sorry for your burns!! Even though I'm used to work with caramel, I was surprised by the violent bubbling of the caramel syrup after adding the water!
At least you got to enjoy a lovely cake ;)

Claire said...

I love the strawberries! So glad that I saw the hint to use aluminum foil over the caramel...sorry you got burnt. Great cake!

Carmen said...


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