Pipe Dream #3: To Make The Perfect Caramel, Revisited Again – Caramel Cake

Haha another caramel fail. I bet you were beginning to wonder what a caramel fail looks like. After all, I’ve only posted my successful caramel stories on this blog. Now you will know my true self.

This cake looked and sounded fabulous on smitten kitchen. Even though her caramel didn’t turn out as it was supposed to, either, it at least looked yummy. In my case, the caramel sauce tasted swell, but it looked like chunky puke. Chunky puke that was lovingly spread over a heart-shaped vanilla cake.

I really should have known that I would have problems. I had no heavy cream, so I used half and half instead and threw two tablespoons of butter into the pot, hoping to make the fat content similar to heavy cream. I used brown sugar I had made from scratch. And my candy thermometer was janked so I didn’t know if it was reading right, and I probably didn’t let it boil long enough. I can’t pinpoint the source of my problems, but I’m willing to bet the fail was due to one or all of those factors.

Moral of the story, always keep a gallon of heavy cream in your fridge in case of emergency.

The cake itself is actually quite good. It’s dense and richly flavored. The caramel will probs work out better for you, so don’t let these pictures deter you from what will surely be caramel-laden bliss.

Just fine and dandy,

L

Caramel Cake

Adapted from smitten kitchen

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment: a candy thermometer

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line with a square of parchment paper, then butter parchment. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make the glaze: Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until glaze registers 210 to 212°F on thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes, then stir in vanilla.

Put rack with cake in a shallow baking pan and pour hot glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down sides. Cool until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

Do ahead: Cake (before glazing) can be made 1 day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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1 Response to “Pipe Dream #3: To Make The Perfect Caramel, Revisited Again – Caramel Cake”



  1. 1 Pipe Dream #194: To Be Easily Amused – Chocolate Cake + Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting | piping dreams Trackback on May 6, 2013 at 9:01 am

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