Saturday, November 29, 2008
Daring Bakers: Caramel Cake
Oh no. Not caramel again. Please!
The baking gods must know that I haven't successfully made caramel, and that's why this month's Daring Bakers challenge is Caramel Cake, I just know it. The baking gods know I have to transform those sugary white crystals into thick amber syrup before I can call myself a true baker.
With fear and loathing in my heart, I once again pulled out the pan and the bag of sugar, and dragged myself over to the stove. One rule of caramel making is that you DO NOT STIR or muck with it in any way, or you risk turning the whole mass back into sandy sugar crystals. Well, for some reason, on my first attempt, I figured the experts didn't know what they were talking about and I stirred, and stirred, and then stirred a little more. Turns out the experts do know what they're talking about. My sugar and water mixture first turned into a boiling syrupy mass, and then magically turned back into sugar and water. Just like the experts said it would.
OK, well, it's nice to know the laws of chemistry are still intact.
On my second attempt I resisted with all my might and didn't touch the stuff at all. And it worked!! I got to the right shade of amber without burning it. Hallelujah! I wanted to shout from the rooftops (fourth time's a charm, I guess).
Armed with my perfect caramel syrup, I made the browned butter caramel buttercream and let me tell you, this is the best icing I've ever made in my life. I kid you not. If it weren't that I need to squeeze into a swim suit in exactly 21 days, I would have eaten the whole bowl with a spoon.
Many Daring Bakers mentioned that the icing was too sweet and I'll admit that without the addition of salt, it was too sweet. But once I added the 1/8 teaspoon or so of salt, it was perfect.
The cake portion had a lovely taste as well. It was a tad dense for my taste, though. I would have liked a slightly lighter cake. But it had a gorgeous caramel color. (By the way, I halved the recipe and made it in two 4-inch pans.) Bottom line... I would make the icing again, but I would probably try a different caramel cake.
This month's recipe was chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity and comes to us courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon. The recipe can be found at http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006/12/24/caramel-cake-the-recipe/. We also had the option of making Alice Medrich's Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels. I ran out of time and didn't make them, but I hope to get to them later in the month.
Dolores' co-hosts this month were Alex of Blondie and Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food. and Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go. Thanks everybody for a most excellent challenge!
OK, this Daring Baker is signing off until next month. As always, I eagerly await next month's recipe.