Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's that time of the month again.....the November Daring Bakers Challenge!

Boy was I excited to complete this challenge! After being absent from the last challenge and having the one before that a savory one, I was excited to do something sweet. And even more excited when I found out that it was a cake, but not just any cake a caramel cake! However, I was indifferent with the end result, probably because I did something wrong, but here's my take on how the cake turned out. I made the caramel syrup, which I think I over cooked. I followed the instructions to the T, even looked up some helpful hints on making caramel syrup. When I was finished it seemed perfect, but when it was time to put it in the cake it got all clumpy and didn't incorporate very well into the cake. I kept creaming it in trying to make it less clumpy, I finally got it to a consistency I was pretty happy with. There was some clumps and when the cake was finished it ended up having some caramel spirl in it from the clumps melting. The cake flavor alone wasn't anything I would jump up and scream about, but then again I may have done something wrong, however the texture was amazing.

Now for the frosting, I knew that the rules were we had to use the caramel syrup in the frosting but mine was a complete mess. So I used what i could and decided it needed to be more caramelly. I figured I used the syrup so now I could do whatever else I wanted to make this frosting lovely. So I looked up a caramel sauce recipe, whipped it together and added a little in, ok maybe alot in. It turned out amazing! One of the best frosting I have made! I was very happy with it.

So now for the finished product, the cake with the frosting: pretty good. I would love to make it again and see if I could make the caramel syrup better. I served it to a bunch of family members and they all had nice things to say about it. Maybe I was being a little critical because it didn't turn out how I wanted. Anyways if any of you have a change take a whack at it! Let me know if you had a better success. Also don't forget to check out the other lovely Daring Bakers!
Here is the begining of the makings of the caramel syrup, so
far everything is going good.

Now dumping the water in, it started splattering and going crazy! Which was normal,
it actually smoked up so much that my fire alarms went off!
I was very concerned it was going to platter all over my arms and hands,
so here I am looking very worried and trying to hold my hands away
as far as I could!

Ta da! Challenge complete!


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

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:

So the GF changes to the cake would be:

2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I'm going to check)

I'll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.

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

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)


  1. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I really appreciate it! Great job on your cake - it looks delicious. I agree though, the caramel syrup was a little tricky to make!

  2. Carly, Cute blog! You have inspired me to start cooking!


  3. Great job with this! Your cake looks great, too bad you were not altogether thrilled with it.

  4. It looks good! Caramel can have a mind of its own...

  5. Looks terrific, even if not to your liking. Nice!

  6. Can you please send me a piece of this delicious looking cake to SC?

    Thanks in advance


  7. Ha! I was worried about splattering, I used aluminum foil covers! Great job on your cake!