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The Best Thing I Made in 2011


I was bound and determined. This was my final cooking-baking challenge of 2011. This was on my "cooking bucket list". I began the project of a "Golden Cage" (from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum) on Thursday, before my Friday night Book Club Holiday Couples Party.

First I made a rum cake. No big deal. You've all had it. It's the Bacardi Rum Cake recipe with layers of that delicious butter/sugar/rum glaze that keeps the bundt cake REALLY moist.

Then I began the process for the "Golden Cage", an amber caramelized sugar dome that covers the cake, and is beautiful. On my first attempt, I covered a large mixing bowl with foil, sprayed it heavily with cooking spray, let it harden, but when CAREFULLY removing the foil, it cracked and broke, leaving me with shards of beautiful caramel.


I was determined, so Friday morning, I did it all again. First, cover a bowl with foil, cutting the edges of foil flush with the bottom of the bowl.


This time I greased the foil heavily with Crisco. Then I suspended it on top of a coffee can.


I made the caramel with: 2 cups of sugar, 2/3 cup water and 1/4 t. cream of tartar. Stir over medium low heat until sugar dissolves. Then turn to medium-high and don't stir. Mixture will boil, and finally begin to turn amber. Remove from heat. Cool caramel in a cold water bath until thick (consistency of honey).


I found it easier to pour the caramel into a glass measuring cup. This works well in case you need to reheat it in the microwave.


Quickly drizzle caramel in a circular motion over foil.


I used a ceramic spoon that doesn't conduct heat.


If caramel hardens too much, microwave glass measuring cup for 20-30 seconds. I used all of the caramel to cover my bowl.


Let bowl dry and harden completely. Then carefully turn it onto a clean dish towel and remove bowl. Very slowly begin to remove foil.


This is the part where you have to be patient and go slowly! I felt like I was doing surgery. I removed a little at a time, gently, cutting off small sections of foil with scissors as I went along. There will be "stubborn spots". Take your time! Breathe.


This last section was stubborn, but I eventually got it!


I DID IT! Isn't it beautiful?


That was intense. I took a break. Next, C-A-R-E-F-U-L-L-Y invert it over your cake.


I threw the pieces of Thursday's broken cage into the food processor and made "gold dust" to garnish the plate.


Happy New Year!

Comments (13)


Great job! I love the Cake bible.

Simply amazing-I don't have the patience for a project like this. I look forward to seeing what's next-I have that book and don't know if I've ever made anything from it! I'm not much of a cake baker.

Sher Jones:

Just beautiful. Wow, I could never do that. It would drive me nuts.. Happy New Year to you and Brad. Sher

Susie L:

Wow Palma, bravissima! So beautiful!

I love the "Cake Bible" as well, but I lack your fortitude. Thanks for sharing, I swear I was holding my breath.


Wow - beautiful job. How do you serve it?

OMG, I didn't realize that the first one broke!

It is definitely gorgeous and a huge accomplishment - congrats!

Very pretty! There are so many recipes in that book I should try...


You amAze me, Palma!

Just had your lamb lasagna again and it was fabulous (as I remembered). Tonight we are trying your butter-poached lobster...yum!

Happy New Year!


Incredible. It looks like a Tiffany lampshade! Brava!


Looks like it came from the Murano Glass factory in Venice!!!! They have nothing on you!!! Beautiful.


Looks beautiful, Palma. I so admire your patience!

Barb Cabot:

Wow wow wow!

Judith of Umbria:

You I always have faith in to do what it takes. There are fewer like that every year, really. Anyway, I learned something about caramel threads a few years ago. The best way to spin them out is a whisk which you cut so that the loops become fingers. Then you have like 20 thread going for each dip and you get more done before it cools.

Happy new year!

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