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24 August 2012

Caramel Cake



So today marks another birtday and yet another chance to practice my cake baking skills. Today was Angie's birthday- she is both a friend and our clinic administrator - so Happy Birthday to her :) Well a little birdie reminded me that today was her birthday and I knew I wanted to make her a cake (and if it failed- buy her a cake ;) ). At first I was a bit unsure of what to make. The first thought was chocolate but I realized, tragically, that not everyone has the same love and appreciation for chocolate like I do :) I wanted to find a more "neutral cake" that everyone could enjoy especially Angie and her two sons. So I searched Pinterest, both my Cake board and just recipes shared but I could not find anything that stood out to me. Luckily I randomly remembered an old co-worker once made caramel pie and remembering that it was a big hit. From there I thought- was there such a thing as caramel cake? Well there is! It was decided...I was going to attempt to make a caramel cake from scratch. It was another amazing and super messy learning experience, but it came out better than the Lemon Cake I made for the hubster so that was progres :)

Now on to more important things: baking facts and tidbits! I've mentioned before my curiosity between cake flour and all purpose flour but I ran into another conundrum- what then is self rising flour? Well self-rising flour is all purpose flour with both salt and baking powder incorporated. So if your recipe calls for all self-rising flour and you do not have it- do not fret and do not go the grocery store- simply add the salt and baking powder your self (1/4 tsp. salt per cup and 1.5 tsp baking powder per cup). Another fun tidbit learned: when baking recipes ask for you to cream the butter and sugar- cream the butter first on low speed for 2-3 mintues, if you are patient you will notice it become nice and fluffy. Then add the sugar and cream for 6-8 minutes (8 minutes is desirable)- this mixture will become amazingly light and fluffy and will grow triple in size (you will wonder how did all that come from butter and sugar). This will really help with the lightness that is desired in cake.




I used skewers in my cake to prevent shifting


CARAMEL CAKE
INGREDIENTS
Preheat Oven to 350F degrees

FOR THE CAKE
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
2 c granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 c cake flour
3/4 tsp salt
4.5 tsp baking powder
1 c milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

CARAMEL FILLING AND BUTTERCREAM
2 stick butter
2 c packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c heavy cream, or more if needed
4 c. confectioners' sugar (add more if consistency is too liquidy)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6-8 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry mixture (cake flour, salt and baking powder) and milk, alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending wtih flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among pans (I did two- for two layers). Level batter in each pan by tapping on counter top- this will also get rid of air bubbles. Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown. The original recipe said 25 minutes but my cakes took much longer to bake.

For filling and buttercream- combine butter, brown sugar and cream into a saucement and stir until well incorporated and till you have reached a nice thick consistency- about 10-15 mintues. Mix with powdered sugar. Do not add all the caramel sauce at once- as this can make your frosting too liquidy. I suggest adding half of it first then mixing with powdered sugar and slowly adding more- until you reach the consistency and amount of frosting/filling needed.

Enjoy,
Chika


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