Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

It's that time of month again where Daring Bakers all over the world are posting another fabulous recipe chosen by a new monthly host. This month our host was Shuna of Eggbeater and helping her host was Alex of Brownie of the Blonde and Brownie duo and Jenny of Foray into Food.

The cake was very easy to make and I impressed myself with making caramel syrup. I actually had to make it twice because I had a dumb moment of pouring the hot syrup into my plastic strainer. So R.I.P. dear strainer! Ignore the Happy Birthday on the cake I made the cake for my brother-in-law's birthday so my husband and I wouldn't get stuck eating the whole thing. The only change I made was after it was forsted I covered the sides in ground toasted pecans. I thought the flavor of the toasted pecans and caramel went very well together.

(Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting is courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon as published on Bay Area Bites.)

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 350FButter one tall 9" cake pan.
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
2. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

3. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl.

4. 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 dries.

7. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time.

8. Add another third of the dries, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dries. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, drry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

9. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds. making sure batter is uniform.

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 unrefrigerated.


2 Cups SUGAR
1/2 Cup WATER
1 Cup water for "stopping"
1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand.
2. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.

3. Turn on heat to highest flame.

4. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
5. 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 prepared to step back.

6. 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.}

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
4-6 Tablespoons HEAVY CREAM
2-4 Tablespoons CARAMEL SYRUP
Kosher or sea salt to taste

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

4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks to0 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.

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.
Since I had some leftover caramel syrup I drizzled it on the bottom cake layer before I put a layer of buttercream on.
Don't laugh at my ghetto cake frosting stand! I really want a spinning cake stand that tilts, but I can't justify spending $60 when I don't make that many cakes.
I hate to pipe frosting I think my handwritting is horrible, but I gave it a go anyway and to my surprise it came out pretty good.

I toasted some pecans and ground them up and coated the sides of the cake to give it a "professional" look. Plus the pecans and caramel flavor went well together and cut some of the sweetness of the cake.
Lesson learned stop using plastic stainers!
R.I.P. Strainer you've been good to me!


  1. Allie, what a beautiful cake! You've made me hungry for dessert and it's only 7:30 AM.

  2. Allie again I'm amazed at all your in between cooking pictures that you post. Of course, I realize you are a professional in that field.
    The cake looks yummy and I agree caramel and pecans go together.

  3. You cake looks beautiful. I really like the crushed pecans on the side.

  4. Love the toasted pecans on the edge. Thanks for posting the strainer pic, great visual!

  5. Beautiful Allie! I am loving all of these gorgeous daring baker's caramel desserts. Making my sweet tooth excited!!

  6. Wow, I love the step-by-step photos!
    Looks yummy ... I wish I could eat this for breakfast right now.