This months challenge was hosted by Dolores, Alex, Jenny and Natalie. The challenge was to bake Shuna Fish Lydon's signature caramel cake and Alice Medrich’s Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels.

This month required us to bake the cake and frosting but the caramels were optional, since both hubby and I don't like caramels I skipped that.

The cake was exceptional. I made a 9 inch cake for a potluck and thought I would take the picture when I reach my friends place, but guess what I forgot to take a picture. Since I still had the caramel syrup made the cake again, this time I made cupcakes and they were all eaten in 1 day. I used lesser sugar then given since I like it less sweeter. the frosting was really sweet but hubby dear loved it. This is one cake I will be making again and again easy and yummy.

CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
Recipe Source: Shuna Fish Lydon

Ingredients
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
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)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Sift flour and baking powder.
  6. 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.}
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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)

Method
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

CARAMELIZED 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

Method
  1. Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
  2. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
  3. 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

(Optional) GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS
(recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)
- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -

Ingredients
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

Equipment
A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer

Method
  1. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.
  2. When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.
  4. Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.


Variations
  • Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.
  • Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.
  • Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.
  • Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer.


Click here to view what the other fellow Daring Bakers baked.

29th day of RM2

Check out what other members cooked today.

  1. DK
  2. Siri
  3. Srivalli
  4. Ranji
  5. PJ
  6. Curry Leaf
  7. Priya
  8. Bhawana
  9. Raaji
  10. Ruchii
  11. Anu
  12. Kamala
  13. Roopa
  14. Divya Kudua
  15. Rekha
  16. Divya M
  17. Lakshmi
  18. Raaga
  19. Lakshmi Venkatesh
  20. Sripriya
  21. Viji
  22. Kamalika
  23. Pavani
  24. Karuna
  25. Roochi

17 comments:

Aparna said...

Your cakes look pretty and I guess you have the proof of how good they are.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Cake and cupcakes? Wonderful! Glad others enjoyed it as well!

Priya said...

Cake looks delicious...lovely medhaa..

anudivya said...

They look awesome. You are pretty daring indeed :)

Marija said...

Your cupcakes are gorgeous! Great job!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

They are indeed very nice, I'm glad you liked them!

Hannah said...

What gorgeous golden cupcakes- nice work on this challenge. :)

Uma said...

Lovely cupcakes Medhaa! Yummy!

Cynthia's Blog said...

I just love your recipes. The cup cakes look ummm. I agree, I will make it again and again too.

Passionate About Baking said...

What sweet little cupcakes Medhaa...& well done for doing the challenge twice over. I barely managed it once!

viji said...

medhaa it looks yummy...

MeetaK said...

imagine not serving this lovely cake!! I would have taken it back home with me hahaha! looks lovely well done!

Rebecca said...

Your cupcakes are very cute. Great job with the challenge!

CookiePie said...

Lovely cupcakes! I'm sure the cake was beautiful too :)

Divya Kudua said...

Caramel cake..the name itself is so appetising...would love to take a bigggg slice..kudos to you for being a daring baker!!

Claire said...

Glad you and your friends liked this recipe! The cupcakes look fantastic.

Dolores said...

I'm so glad that both you and your friend considered our choice for November a keeper. Thanks for baking with us!

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