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!