Daring Bakers: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

You know it is going to be an exciting Daring Bakers challenge when the words "very dangerous" and "for safety reasons" are in the baking instructions. I've been mentally preparing myself for this recipe all month. And, I am happy to say I came out virtually unharmed.

First, let me give a nod to Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater for this recipe. The direct link to her recipe is here. Also thanks to the November hosts: Dolores of http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com/, Alex from http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/, Jenny from http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/, and Natalie from (http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com/.

I decided to make these as cupcakes. Just easier to share that way. I also opted not to do the extra challenge: the caramels. I remember the horror stories my Aunt Janie would tell me of the caramels she makes every year for Christmas. If I am feeling brave enough, I might attempt those in December. Otherwise, I am content just to make the caramel cake.

These cupcakes turned out very moist and heavy. You can do curls with them. I also didn't care much for the frosting...it is very sweet. It was suggested that you should add salt to the frosting to help cut the sweetness. I sprinkled the cupcakes with crushed peanuts and coarse sea salt. The salt works wonders!

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

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. Line muffin tin with paper cups. 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 muffin tins and bake for about 15 min. 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.

Caramel Syrup

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.
Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Caramalized Butter Frosting

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.

1 comment:

  1. Your cupcakes look great. love the sprinkled topping. Yummy!