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Caramel Cake

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#1 ludja

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:00 PM

I made a Southern Caramel Cake for a friend's birthday this weekend.

This version is from Bill Neal's Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie and has ground pecans in the cake layers which are also soaked with a bourbon syrup. It was very good, but even with the soaking the layers were a bit dry. Maybe the dryness would have been alleviated if I had soaked the layers while they were still warm and/or maybe I overbaked the layers. Well for this situation, a healthy spoonful of whipped cream helped ease any dryness and was also nice with the cake. :smile:

I've made another Bill Neal Pecan Caramel Cake several times from his first book. I can only compare this with faded memories since this was before I recorded more detailed notes, but I think I liked the cake layers better in the version from Bill Neal's Southern Cooking.
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I like Bill Neal's versions with ground pecans in the cake layers. I like nut cakes and the astringency of the pecans adds a nice counterpioont to the sweet caramel frosting. As far as I can tell though, the classic Southern caramel cake is usually a plain white cake. (see Mayhaw Man's example below). I'd like to try that sometime as well.

Caramel cakes are so wonderful I thought we should dedicate a thread to them. Please share your stories, reminiscences, recipes or tips, experiences! :smile:
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#2 ludja

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:03 PM

And here is an earlier post from Mayhaw Man on Southern caramel cake. This cake was his inspiration to launch the infamous Cake or Pie? thread.

Posted Image

The Caramel Cake that started this whole mess(sorry for the rough icing job, but I no longer have a turntable).

Posted Image

Remains. Most of it was gone by the end of the evening and the remains were part of a healthy breakfast the next day.

Cake. It's better than pie.

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I couldn't find a photo, but Caramel Cake was also one of the stars at the Varmint's Occasional Pig Pickin Egullet Event held in September 2005... click

Edited by ludja, 18 September 2006 - 03:07 PM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#3 ludja

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:05 PM

I’ve also had this variant of Caramel Cake bookmarked for awhile. Do yourself a favor and check out the photo in the link!


Have you seen this  Thankful Butterscotch cake ? I've had it bookmarked forever but still haven't gotten around to making it!

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"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#4 ludja

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:39 PM

Here is a link to the Toasted Pecan Caramel Cake from Bill Neal's Southern Cooking. This is the recipe that I have used previously. I also used this caramel frosting recipe for the cake above.

Some tips:

The instructions say to cool the frosting to 'lukewarm' before beating in the remaining butter. I let it cool to about 110 deg. It will take between 30-45 min for the frosting to cool undisturbed (which is recommended) so make sure to budget the time for this.

A variation on the linked recipe would be to brush some Bourbon Sugar syrup on the layers before frosting them.

Both of these Bill Neal books are a great source for dessert recipes: Bill Neal's Southern Cooking and Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie.

Edited by ludja, 18 September 2006 - 03:40 PM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#5 JAZ

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:36 PM

I couldn't find a photo, but Caramel Cake was also one of the stars at the Varmint's Occasional Pig Pickin Egullet Event held in September 2005... click

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Here it is -- but not in cross section, unfortunately.

Posted Image

#6 Natho

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 06:52 AM

Caramel cakes are so good..
I have a bad habit of making this caramel mud cake which is basically butter, brown sugar and white chocolate melted together and then made into a cake. Best cake ever. Better then a pie by far..
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#7 lenabo

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:54 PM

And here is an earlier post from Mayhaw Man on Southern caramel cake.  This cake was his inspiration to launch the infamous Cake or Pie? thread. 


The Caramel Cake that started this whole mess(sorry for the rough icing job, but I no longer have a turntable).

Posted Image

Remains. Most of it was gone by the end of the evening and the remains were part of a healthy breakfast the next day.

Cake. It's better than pie.

View Post


ludja, can you tell me, where there any recipe of the caramel cake of Mayhaw Man or not? Tried to find it with no success :wub: . It looks so delicious...

The recipe of Bill Neal Pecan Caramel Cake sounds fine, but no pecan here (may be to change for walnut?).

Never tried caramel cakes before, want to make it :)
I love to decorate cakes and you may see my cakes here: http://foto.mail.ru/mail/bonya_l/1

#8 miladyinsanity

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 03:18 AM

I want to make a caramel cake, but I don't want pecans in it because I'll be the only one eating if there are, and my waistline can't take the hit.

The Thankful Butterscotch cake seems like too much work to me.

Any ideas?

Edited by miladyinsanity, 20 September 2006 - 03:18 AM.

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#9 ludja

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 10:42 AM

Well, this surely isn't a cake designed for preserving waistlines... :smile: However, point taken on wanting to try a non-nut version, I'm interested myself.

I think Mayhaw Man's cake was made by a friend of his from whom he has been trying (unsucessfully, according to his post) to wheedle the recipe. Those cake layers do look amazing!

Typically, I think the caramel frosting is used on a classic southern 3-layer "1-2-3-4 Cake" which Bill Neal calls "the "warhorse of layer cakes", especially for caramel and chocolate icings, and describes it as having a "velvety crumb" and good keeping qualities.

Here is a recipe that I found online from the Food Network: 1-2-3-4 Cake

It's called "1-2-3-4" due to the ingredients of
1 cup of butter,
2 cups of sugar,
3 cups of flour and
4 eggs.
Some people's individual recipes are tweaked away from the strict 1-2-3-4 measurements.

So, without any other input, the next time I'll probably try Bill Neal's 1-2-3-4 cake in Biscuits, Spoon Bread and Sweet Potato Pie. His recipe is similar to the Food Network's but does not use self-rising flour. The ingredients are:

1 cup butter, room temp
1 7/8 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated, at room temp
2 2/3 cup flour, all-purpose
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Follow the Food Network recipe except alter in the following way. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder before adding to batter. Add sugar slowly to butter as you cream it. Add *yolks* one by one at the appropriate time. Beat well afer each egg yolk addition. After the additions of the flour mix and milk, blend in vanilla. Then beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into batter. Butter and flour tins before pouring batter in. Cooking time at 350 deg F is the same, about 30 min or until cakes are just golden and slightly pulling away from the pan. Recipe is for three 9-inch cake layers.

You'll see lots of variants on the Caramel Icing as well but I really love Bill Neal's icing and would likely stick with that when I try a non-pecan version of the cake.

I'd love to hear of anyone else's recipe and/or experiences though! I'm not sure who was the auteur of the Pig Pickin' Cake, for instance.... :smile:

(Thanks for the photo, JAZ!)

Edited by ludja, 20 September 2006 - 11:02 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#10 ludja

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 10:50 AM

...

The recipe of Bill Neal Pecan Caramel Cake sounds fine, but no pecan here (may be to change for walnut?).

Never tried caramel cakes before, want to make it :)

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Hi lenabo!

I think ground walnuts would also work very well.

With this recipe I would try to avoid creating a lot of oil with the nuts--i.e carefully pulse in batches with a food processor or use some grater which keeps the nuts somewhat dry while achieving a fine grind.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#11 RodneyCk

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 08:21 AM

What about changing the granulated sugar in the cake recipe to firmly packed dark brown sugar? You would end up with a light butterscotch cake and butterscotch and caramel are in the same family range (butterscotch, yum). Or would that just send of over the caramel edge? :biggrin:

#12 ludja

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 09:33 AM

Good luck, lenabo! I've heard the caramel icing described as tricky, but I have made the icing according to the directions in the recipe successfully three times. I do follow the instructions very carefully. The icing does firm up pretty quickly so I have everything ready to ice the cake immediately after adding in the second batch of butter. Doing this I have not had to rewarm the icing per the instructions given in the recipe for if it firms up too much. The directions say to let the icing cool to "lukewarm" before adding the last bit of butter. This last time I waited until the icing was 110 deg F but perhaps one could go ahead at 115 deg F and have the icing be a little more 'runny' for spreading.

That is funny about the Russian name, Ljuda! My handle is just an old nickname from a friend. Is Ljuda a nickname for a more formal Russian name or is it a 'regular' full name in and of itself?

What about changing the granulated sugar in the cake recipe to firmly packed dark brown sugar?  You would end up with a light butterscotch cake and butterscotch and caramel are in the same family range (butterscotch, yum).  Or would that just send of over the caramel edge?  :biggrin:

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Sounds interesting. The icing adds a big dose of caramel and the cake does provide a contrast to that but maybe it would work for us butterscotch fans... Besides contributing a different flavor to the cake I don't know if there are any other issues in directly substituting brown for granulated sugar in terms of texture, etc.

Edited by gfron1, 11 September 2007 - 11:08 AM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#13 RodneyCk

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 09:55 AM

Besides contributing a different flavor to the cake I don't know if there are any other issues in directly substituting brown for granulated sugar in terms of texture, etc.

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No, I substitute brown sugar for white all the time, 1 for 1, no structural changes.

#14 miladyinsanity

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 11:22 AM

I shall go for dark brown sugar!

Well, a partial substitution anyway. Plus it won't be so sweet that way.

Now, Rodney and Ludja, await my report! :wink:
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#15 miladyinsanity

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 09:57 AM

So the first time, the icing became grainy, and it wouldn't 'fix.' The second time, it burned.

Now I've a new plan.

I'm making a Caramel Ice Cream Cake. I dissolved the grainy caramel into milk, made a custard and now it's about cool enough to go into the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll churn and fill the torted cake layers.
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#16 ludja

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:03 AM

So the first time, the icing became grainy, and it wouldn't 'fix.' The second time, it burned.

Now I've a new plan.

I'm making a Caramel Ice Cream Cake. I dissolved the grainy caramel into milk, made a custard and now it's about cool enough to go into the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll churn and fill the torted cake layers.

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Sorry to hear about the misfires on the Caramel Icing... but your recovery plan sounds very good!

Did you end up using the Bill Neal recipe for caramel icing? If so, did you have a thermometer? Also, do you think you got the 'grainy' result by overheating past 242 deg F (upper soft ball stage) or by underheating?

Regarding the 'burning', I'm not too experienced in candy-making and heating sugar, but I noticed that once the temperature of the heated sugar mixture in this recipe hits about 225 deg F it climbs more quickly.
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#17 ludja

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:07 AM

Here's a link to another thread that myladyinsanity started regarding making caramel icing without cream: click
"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#18 ludja

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:20 AM

So the first time, the icing became grainy, and it wouldn't 'fix.' The second time, it burned.
...

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I made some Pralines recently (after the cake) which follow a similar recipe and technique to the Bill Neal Caramel Icing. I got a little sugar bloom on the outside of the candies and after posting about this, someone on egullet said it may be due to the humidity being too high.

So...noticing that you're located in Singapore, I wonder if high humidity may be a problem?

Bill Neal's recipes don't mention humidity, but I googled "caramel icing" and humidity and found this link and quote: Collection of Caramel Icing Recipes from La Belle Cuisine.

And, last but not least, for those days when you are in a time crunch ( or when the humidity is too high to count on the success of an authentic caramel frosting):


She refer's to a recipe in the link that she calls, "Becky's Caramel Icing". You melt butter, brown sugar and milk, add in vanilla extract and then firm things up by adding a bunch of confectionary (powdered) sugar. For others, this may also be a less tricky recipe than the traditional caramel icing.

If this *is* the issue, I guess I had dumb luck in making this twice during a North Carolina summer...

In any case, I thought the link to more Caramel Icing recipes was interesting.

Edited by ludja, 26 September 2006 - 05:23 PM.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"


#19 miladyinsanity

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 08:20 AM

So the first time, the icing became grainy, and it wouldn't 'fix.' The second time, it burned.

Now I've a new plan.

I'm making a Caramel Ice Cream Cake. I dissolved the grainy caramel into milk, made a custard and now it's about cool enough to go into the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll churn and fill the torted cake layers.

View Post


Sorry to hear about the misfires on the Caramel Icing... but your recovery plan sounds very good!

Did you end up using the Bill Neal recipe for caramel icing? If so, did you have a thermometer? Also, do you think you got the 'grainy' result by overheating past 242 deg F (upper soft ball stage) or by underheating?

Regarding the 'burning', I'm not too experienced in candy-making and heating sugar, but I noticed that once the temperature of the heated sugar mixture in this recipe hits about 225 deg F it climbs more quickly.

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I'm pretty sure I didn't overheat, because my candy thermometer seems pretty reliable. I used it last just a few weeks ago, and it was fine.

I'm definitely not what you'd call an experienced candymaker, so I couldn't begin to guess.

I turned my back and it burned. Sigh. I really should have known better! :wacko:
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#20 Desiderio

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 11:39 PM

I was looking on the net for more info on caramel cake ,since I have never seen one before , and this thread gave me the idea ( I love caramel , dont we all ?! ).
I was reading about the 1234 cake and I found a recipe on more than one site and they call it Marie's caramel cake this is it

http://www.dianaskit...ke/mcaramel.htm
this is another

http://southernfood..../r/bl10731k.htm

http://www.journalno...d=1031769996910
Vanessa

#21 Desiderio

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 11:59 AM

I think Mayhaw Man's cake was made by a friend of his from whom he has been trying (unsucessfully, according to his post) to wheedle the recipe. Those cake layers do look amazing!


I actually think the cake was made from him,and reading the post of the cake or pie thread , someone asked for the recipe , I dont think he ever answered :rolleyes: , dont think he would like to share that recipe with us :sad: .
Vanessa

#22 Desiderio

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 12:28 PM

Posted Image

This is my first attempt to a caramle cake , dont have much time so I made the 1234 cake from Marie's cake ( link above ) and the caramel frosting form here
http://southernfood..../r/bl10731k.htm
I made only two layer , cause the frosting wasnt enough.Next time Ill make a tower :laugh: .

The cake is nice , but the crumb is to open for my taste , it is indeed moist and soft , not too sweet , so works good with the caramel icing.
The icing was ok I add cream to the final product to make it more creamy as I was icing the cake , it helped a lot.
Next time I would like to try a different cake , omething that would be moist as well but with a thighter crumb.I am going to pair it with the icing from Bill Neal's recipe that Ludja posted ( thank you :smile: ).
Well , I will report as I go .
I think I have decided, reading my CI best recipe book, tht I am going to try the white cake,and Pair it with tha caramel frosting above.Reading the structure of this white cake , it sounded like the one I might been looking for , thight crumb soft etc etc.

Edited by Desiderio, 02 October 2006 - 09:12 PM.

Vanessa

#23 Desiderio

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Posted 05 October 2006 - 08:55 PM

The instructions say to cool the frosting to 'lukewarm' before beating in the remaining butter. I let it cool to about 110 deg. It will take between 30-45 min for the frosting to cool undisturbed (which is recommended) so make sure to budget the time for this.

Aya yaiii.See I didnt pay attention to your advice and the second try on the caramel cake was quite a mess :raz:
Well I made the yellow cake from the CI best recipe book, and I really really like it, I think its great with the caramel, but unfortunately I didnt let the caramel sauce undisturbed and it did thinkned too much right away , I was still able to manage the cake but then it was too liquid and the cake almost collapsed , I saved I put it in the fridge and now its fine , still dont look presentable , but the taste its great much better that the first ( wich is pathetic by the way :unsure: ), any way I want to try this again following your instruction .I have a question though , it is possible to make this frosting with white sugar instead ?Or the brown sugar is the key? I was just wondering ( I do prefer brown sugar) because I doubt the brown sugar gives a nice smooth caramle , it always appear little grany , not bad grany smooth but still ,little bit like corn candy ( or candy corn :laugh: ).
Any other good caramel frosting out there?

Thank you
Vanessa

#24 Desiderio

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 11:09 PM

Today I made the frosting of Thankful Butterscotch cake , I didnt make the cake because I already made some yello cake, but the cake was a huge hit , that frosting is incredible , very very yummy.
Vanessa

#25 Kay

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 08:21 PM

Here is a link to another wonderful sounding, and looking, Caramel Cake. This was recently published in Food and Wine, a Caramel Cake by Chef Ann Cashion. Have not tried it yet, but hope to soon. (Not sure if I will be doing the link correctly, sorry.) This version is called Revalatory Caramel Cake.

http://www.foodandwi...ry-caramel-cake

#26 Kay

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 08:59 PM

I thought that I would report back on the link I mentioned in my prior post. I have had some, well lots, of trouble with Caramel Cake in the past, but I think have found a winning combination so will mention a few things here in case it might be of some help to someone else.

I have tried the Ann Cashion white cake recipe mentioned above and I actually really like the cake, but it does do a little better made with European butter, I believe. (I personally suspect that the butterfat content of national brand butters might be shrinking these days) I tested it with Presidente butter with delicious and velvety results, but texture when made with major brand butter, was not so good. I am thinking to try it again with regular butter and an added tablespoon or so of oil to see how that turns out. Also, the cake flour needs to be sifted right into the measuring cup, then leveled, to approximate the correct weight of flour.

I could not get the caramel frosting from above Food and Wine link to work for me, but after trying it and several different recipes, some of them more than once, I think I found what I was looking for.

Since, as others have said, caramel cake is all about the frosting, here is a phone photo of the frosting, and also of left over caramel, before and after beating.

Here is what I did-- carmelize in one medium saucepan, ½ cup sugar with 1 T water, to nice amber color, then carefully add ½ cup hot water and stir to dissolve and simmer for 3-4 minutes. At the same time, in a different heavy pot, melt together 1 stick salted butter, 3 cups white sugar, 1 cup half and half (I actually used part half and half and part heavy whipping cream), and 1 T light corn syrup, stirring. When all dissolved and starts to boil, pour hot carmelized sugar syrup into butter mixture. Cook, stirring, not scraping sides, to early soft ball stage (test dribble into ice water, which can be formed into a slumpy lump, ie raised blob when set down on a plate)

After reaching proper stage, pour hot caramel, no scraping, into a stainless mixing bowl, and carefully stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Beat with mixer till it cools to desired spreadable texture, somewhat starting to hold its shape. Much beating, as it cools, incorporates air and lightens the texture. (I speed things along with a frozen gel pack under the bowl, flip it over periodically, and a 9” fan on high right next to the bowl.) Have cake layers ready to go, frost quickly as will continue to firm up as cools.

Frosting adapted from an online recipe, -- http://www.markballa...en.html#caramel

Attached Images

  • Caramel Cake.jpg
  • Caramel Frosting before and after beating.jpg


#27 Genkinaonna

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 10:34 PM

That frosting closeup looks downright pornographic (and I mean that in a totally good way)!

Now I wish I'd made a caramel cake instead of a chocolate cake for dessert tonight :hmmm:
If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

#28 RWood

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 10:02 AM

I have an old recipe (that I will have to find) that I was given when I was in culinary school. It's called Aunt Lou's Burnt Sugar Cake. The base for the cake and frosting is a burnt sugar syrup, from what I can remember. So, the whole cake is caramel. I'll dig it out.





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