Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge Caramel Cake


For the month of November the Daring Bakers were challenged to a Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter frosting.  I made this recipe twice once into cupcakes because I was worried I wouldn't like this cake. But boy was I wrong. The cupcakes were delicious and a huge hit at work. My co-workers loved it including people who are not a fan of caramel. Since it went over so well I decided to bring it to my boyfriends families house for thanksgiving and once again a total hit. 

This recipe was written by  Shuna Fish Lydon (, as published on Bay Area Bites (

In the Daring Bakers we have challenge hosts and this months challenge was brought to you by the following.
Delores who blogs at Culinary Curiosity (

Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo) at (
Jenny of Foray into Food (
Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go ( for gluten-free assistance.

I made this cake twice once into cupcakes because I was worried I wouldn't like this cake. But boy was I wrong. This cake was delicious and a huge hit. The cupcakes I brought to work ,and everyone loved it including people who are not a fan of caramel. Since it went over so well I decided to bring it to my boyfriends families house for thanksgiving. 

 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.

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

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. 

The first time I made this into cupcakes and they cooked them for 15 minutes and then rotated pan. I baked for another 20 minutes. 

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator

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. (The salt really helps with cutting the sweetness of this cake the salt is a must!)

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

Craig had this recipe twice once as a cupcake which initially he was hesistant to. When I told him it was a cupcake the thought light and fluffy which these cupcakes are a bit dense. I then made this recipe into a cake, but this time I sliced the cake in half and layered on the inside a rasberry preserved and unsweetened whip cream with a touch of vanilla.  The cake was a hit for thanksgiving

'At first taste my buds encountered an unexpected texture and flavor, but these caramel cupcakes grew on me. Two were swallowed in mere minutes.' Despite no photo of Craig tasting the cake here is his review. 'An elegant balance of caramel versus cake. A desert Ruth can feed me any day of the week. TWO THUMBS UP!'

 Craig did the cake decorating I think he is better then me at decorating.

Thank so so much to the Daring Bakers for another lovely challenge.  This is a recipe I will continue to make it is delicious!

This month there was  an optional challenge which I did not do it was to make GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS make sure to check out the hosts sites listed above for that recipe.  


Dana McCauley said...

Love the little flower decorations - very pretty!

BC said...

Two thumbs up from me too!

Didn't even think about the caramel candy either.

Lynn said...

Your cake is amazing. I am so not a cake decorator and really love seeing what can be done if one had the talent. Since I didn't care for the cake, it is nice to see so many people enjoy it.

allison said...

I love your pictures. I wish I had the patience to photograph my cooking/baking adventures like that.

Leslie said...

Cake AND cupcakes???? Wow you were busy!!! They grew on us as well!
you did wonderful!

TeaLady said...

Cup cakes are always handy, but your cake is lovely. Really nice.

Amy said...

Great job - I might have to try cupcakes next time!

kimberleyblue said...

your step-by-step photos are great, as is your cake! Great job! So happy you liked it (seems lots of people didn't)....

Gretchen Noelle said...

I need a personal cake decorator too! Lovely job on the cake and cupcakes - impressive that you made this twice!

CookiePie said...

What a pretty cake and cupcakes! Love the floral design -- so lovely!

Lauren said...

Ooo, your cake looks beautiful! I love the step-by-step pictures, they're awesome!

Rysheda said...

I love watching your caramel and brown butter progression. Your cupcakes look absolutely yummy!

nikkita said...

oooo I love your step by step photos! They'll definitely come in handy for people who want to learn how to make the syrup. The cake and cupcakes look great ^_^

Natashya said...

You have a man who can decorate a cake! He is definitely a keeper.
Looks great - so glad you made it twice, it really is a tasty cake.
You got a good, dark colour on your caramel too, very brave.

Elra said...

very pretty decoration as well. your recipe tester seems pretty happy there.

Julia @ crazyaboutbretzels said...

Thanks Ruth! And your cup cakes are so cute. I would have needed your clear directions with the pictures for making the syrup! :D

Foodycat said...

I love seeing the step-by-step! I am always a bit scared of caramel, but seeing your pictures makes me feel a bit more confident! It looks lovely.

Maryanna said...

Your cake and cupcakes look great. We used the same cupcake liners. :)

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

A lovely cake, so attractively decorated and I love the cupcakes too! Your process pics are amazing.

Pat said...

Hi Ruth
It's great you tried the recipe twice. Both your cupcakes and the cake look wonderful. Craig did a nice job decorating! I like how you were able to make the icing so smooth and your filling sounds like agreta compliment to the sweet icing.

Yasmeen said...

Cupcakes look decadent,no wonder everyone devoured it:)

Jacque said...

I'm so glad this recipe was such a hit with everyone! I think I would have liked it better as cupcakes.

Nice post!

Cynthia's Blog said...

The sugar into caramel photo log is a gem. Victorious!

Shaheen said...

Oh our cupcakes are so similar! Even I used pink sprinkles! Hehe And I especially love your step by step photos.

Jillian said...

OMG super yum.

will def HAVE to try this one myself - they look incerdible ruth! good job! xoxo

doggybloggy said...

this looks so good....this is my first month as a daring baker and I missed this challenge - bummer

Claire said...

WONDERFUL job! I love the review at the end! The decorations are great...and your step by step photography is so nice.

Nawal said...

Hi Ruth,
How are you ?
Thank you for your visit and your very nice comment :-)
I'm very excited about December's challenge !

Joie de vivre said...

Great explanation and great pictures. I like the thumbs up at the end. Very well documented.

Vera said...

Ruth, your cake is beautiful! And the cupcakes are lovely, too!

Anonymous said...

Great job, love the thumbs up from your hubby!

alexandra's kitchen said...

that caramel butter frosting sounds unreal. I tend to shy away from caramel making, but it would be worth it for this. i love all the pictures

Amber said...

Bison meatloaf? I know, it just sounds so cowboys and indians. But now the caramel cake? Mmmm. Chocolate, butter, caramel, cream, butterscotch, nuts, fruit, they are what makes the world go around. Those and puppies.
'An elegant balance of caramel versus cake' Craig is getting pretty good at reviews, perhaps there is a career ahead for him. Then you could quit working and just cook for fun. said...

Great ideas!!!! Congratulations for the blog.

Bye from Italy
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