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NOVEMBER DARING BAKERS CHALLENGE - CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

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The recipe is courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater.
The host of this month's challenge is Dolores of culinarycuriosity. Her cohosts are Alex-Brownie of the Brownie and Blondie duo, and Jenny of Foray into Food. And for those of you who are alternative bakers, you can go to Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go for modifications.

This challenge was very interesting. The recipe seemed pretty straight-forward, but a lot of Daring Bakers had trouble with the caramel syrup. The recipe doesn't tell you how long to cook it, so it is really up to you to decide when you have the syrup as dark as you would like. I didn't burn mine, and thought it was dark enough, but after viewing photos of others finished cakes/icings and noting the darkness of theirs, I made note to myself to cook it longer next time.

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Here is the caramel as it was beginning to boil.

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And here it is when it is right before it started smoking.

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And here is my completed caramel syrup.

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I baked my cake in a 10x10" square pan. Here is the batter before baking.

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I then cut the cake in half, and stacked one layer on top of the other with butter frosting in between. I then cut the cake into 2 smaller cakes so that I had one cake for my husband's birthday, and another cake for one of the Thanksgiving Day desserts.

I wanted a plain cake for my husband, with just swirls of the Butter Frosting.
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And for Thanksgiving Day, I covered the sides of this one with chopped toasted pecans.
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This cake has a nice light caramel flavor, which I imagine becomes more intense the longer you cook the caramel syrup. The texture of the cake is pretty dense, not light and fluffy as I was hoping. It is very moist, and I actually liked it best on the third day.

The icing is a browned butter icing, sweetened with caramel syrup and powdered sugar. It is very sweet, but that sweetness is tempered by the addition of a good salt, such as fleur de sel. If you don't like over sweet icings, add a little extra salt to the icing, and just use a thin layer on the cake.


CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER 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 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.

CARAMEL SYRUP
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.

CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
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

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

Comments (7)

jo:

Wow, such a lovely cake and the decorations are fantastic.

Your cake really does look amazing! Great job with the Thanksgiving version, it looks terrific!

I love the pecan flower on top! Gorgeous!

Goood job! Cube cakes are so much cooler aren't they?? :P

Ahmad-I agree, the cube cakes are much cooler. That's the first one I've done, but I'm sure there will be more to follow.

That cake is GORGEOUS! i love anything caramel! I will have to try it after the Christmas baking.

That is one pretty cake! I love the pecan additions!

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