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Megans Cookin: Caramel Cake With Caramelized Butter Frosting And Fleur De Sel Caramels

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake With Caramelized Butter Frosting And Fleur De Sel Caramels

This months Daring Bakers challenge was a caramel cake with caramelised butter frosting and the option of making caramel candy. Since I've wanted to make caramel for some time now, that's where I started. The hubby bought me some fleur de sel sea salt and I've had it in the cupboard just waiting for the right time. This was the right time!

Cooking caramel can be a little intimidating.

After the caramel was made, I poured some into these silicon ice/candy trays that I won from Blake Makes. I was thinking I was pretty smart and couldn't wait until I made the cake to decorate with these candies. BUT... a few weeks in a baggie, they all melted together. I had a big lump of letters that were all married. I was so bummed. Then someone said to me, why don't you just remelt them. Brilliant! So I did!
The ones in the pan got cut into squares and got a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel.

Then they were wrapped in wax paper and looked like
some genuine old fashion caramel candies.

First part of the challenge complete!

Now for this cake and the frosting, it all centered around making this caramel syrup. It was used to flavor the cake and the frosting. This was the best part of this whole challenge in my opinion. the caramel candies were very good but they stuck to your teeth and tried to pull your caps off.
Me no likey that!

But this syrup was heaven. I was so surprised at how buttery this syrup tasted when there was no butter in it. If I make one element of this challenge again, it will be the caramel syrup! You can pour it on your ice cream or cheesecake, stir it into your coffee, or sandwich it between to cookies. Swirl it into some brownie batter or just eat it by the spoonful. It was sooo good!

The frosting was started with some browned butter. That was the first time I had ever browned butter and I was surprised how caramelised the flavor was. It so complimented the carmel flavor of the syrup. I added 1/2 a teaspoon of the fleur de sel sea salt to cut the sweetness.

My cake turned out quite dense but that didn't take anything away from the flavor. It was actually a pretty easy cake to make and perfect addition to out thanksgiving table.

This month’s DB challenge recipe was brought to you by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater, as selected by the wonderful Dolores of Culinary Curiosity and co-hosted by Alex and Jenny. Thanks guys!


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

Preheat oven to 350F
Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
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 prepared cake pan.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 outside of the refrigerator.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelizing 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. {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.

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(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -
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
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.

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.

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. 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. (recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)

If you like this recipe, please click on the link below!

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Blogger Jo said...

Great job on your cake and you even managed to make the caramels.

November 29, 2008 at 12:32 AM  
Blogger Marija said...

Really nice decorated cake! Great idea with the letters!

November 29, 2008 at 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I love the caramel letters! Very clever!

The cake turned out really well---congratulations on a great challenge!

November 29, 2008 at 3:08 AM  
Blogger Cristine said...

Gorgeous!!! I love your cake and the caramel letters!

November 29, 2008 at 4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh wow, you did a phenomenal job with the caramels. Well done! The cake looks amazing too :)

November 29, 2008 at 4:29 AM  
Blogger Shelby said...

You did a beautiful job!

November 29, 2008 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger The Blonde Duck said...

That looks wonderful! I'm still scared of working with caramel...

November 29, 2008 at 5:37 AM  
Blogger April said...

Love the cake!! Love the letters!!!! well, I actually love the caramels wrapped in wax paper!

November 29, 2008 at 6:06 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

Your cake looks great and I love the letters!

November 29, 2008 at 6:19 AM  
Blogger BC said...

Yes, I wouldn't like the caramels pulling at my teeth either. Great job.

November 29, 2008 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Reeni said...

What a gorgeous cake! Everything looks scrumptious, mmmm caramel and more caramel.

November 29, 2008 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Renee said...

Your cake looks perfect! How creative to use letters as caramel molds. This is such a fall dessert.

November 29, 2008 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger glamah16 said...

Look at you with those caramels.! Great job.

November 29, 2008 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger giz said...

So pretty. I have this visual of melded letters that could be fribeesized - imagine the fun in that. I agree with you - I doubt I'd make the cake again but that caramel syrup well ... not to be dismissed at all.

November 29, 2008 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Gloria Chadwick said...

Wow! You really put a lot of energy and effort into this and it shows. Good job! :)

November 29, 2008 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Look at that cake and those caramel candies... beautiful!

November 29, 2008 at 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great job Megan!

November 29, 2008 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger CookiePie said...

Lovely cake, and your caramels are so pretty!!

November 29, 2008 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What pretty decorations! Very well done!



November 29, 2008 at 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Making letters was a great idea - love it!

November 29, 2008 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

The cake looks great, and I love how you decorated the top with the letters.

November 29, 2008 at 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! Your decorating is just BEAUTIFUL!

November 29, 2008 at 5:02 PM  
Blogger Lisa magicsprinkles said...

LOVE IT! You are so clever. I would never have thought of that. Your cake is fabulous. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 29, 2008 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Gretchen Noelle said...

The letters on top were super creative! Great job with the decoration!

November 30, 2008 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Oh Megan - this looks wonderful! Great job on the November Challenge!

November 30, 2008 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Snooky doodle said...

this cake looks great. I like how you decorated it with the caramel letters too. Genius !! :)

November 30, 2008 at 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are beautiful decorations! How clever!

November 30, 2008 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Megan, you did a magnificent job my friend. The caramels, the cake and the syrup. You are so clever. I will need to take some lessons from you.

November 30, 2008 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Megan, I LOVE your cake..I am glad you were able to save your letters!!!

November 30, 2008 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Shari said...

Making your caramels into letters is brilliant!

November 30, 2008 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

Wow talk about eye candy! This is my caramel heaven. You totally out did yourself Megan.

December 1, 2008 at 6:33 AM  
Blogger Carla said...

Haha well my dad gave me most of the stuff in the freezer, but I usually can't cook it most of the time because I'm out of other ingredients. For awhile I was even out of garlic!

December 1, 2008 at 6:49 AM  
Blogger spike. said...

I love the caramel letters!

December 1, 2008 at 7:31 AM  
Blogger T’s Treats said...

Man I love your letters!! That was a great idea!! Your cake looks fantastic =)

December 1, 2008 at 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful job on your cake. Your caramel looks amazing. What a great idea!

December 2, 2008 at 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How creative! I love how you decorated your cake. :)

December 2, 2008 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger Y said...

That's so cool, what you did with the caramel. Great idea, using the silicon ice trays!

December 2, 2008 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Glenna said...

Mmmmm...yum! LOve the decorations too.

December 3, 2008 at 8:11 AM  
Blogger Deborah said...

Your cake looks great! and now that you've had browned butter, you'll want to try more recipes with it!

December 5, 2008 at 11:34 AM  
Blogger Dolores said...

Caramel syrup... in brownie batter?!? Brilliant!

Thanks for baking with us.

December 8, 2008 at 12:42 AM  

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