Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caramel Cake

This is my first attempt at a traditional caramel cake and I will just start by saying - it's a work in progress.

I did not grow up eating caramel cake so I had to do some research on the cake before I started baking.  (Not the fun kind of research where I get to EAT caramel cake either, just the drooling in front of the computer screen kind of research.)

The most authentic caramel cake is made by spreading creamy homemade caramel filling between layers of moist vanilla cake.  The shocking part was that the homemade caramel recipe took 2 1/2 HOURS to make!!!   Seriously???  Who has that kind of time?   I know that things move a little slower in the South but who is spending hours in the kitchen just to make the ICING for a cake?

Maybe I can hire Courtney to make authentic homemade icing for me.  Until then, I will use this expedited process for making my caramel cake icing. 

Caramel Cake
  • 16 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¼ cups milk

Have eggs and butter at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray four 8-inch or three 9-inch pans generously with baking spray. Cut circles of parchment paper to fit pans and place one in the bottom of each pan. Spray again, lightly.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla and then eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 batches, beating until smooth after each addition.

Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake until golden, 25-30 minutes for 8-inch pans, 30–35 minutes for 9-inch pans.

Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes; invert cakes onto a cooling rack; let cool completely. Slice domed tops off cakes to level them, if needed.

Caramel Icing
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
8 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups dark brown sugar
½-¾ cups evaporated milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
5-6 cups powdered sugar

Combine 4 ounces of butter, brown sugar and ½ cup evaporated milk in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir to combine. Return to microwave and cook on high for another 2-3 minutes or until mixture is no longer gritty (take a taste!).

Allow mixture to cool for 15 minutes, then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 5 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and mix for 1 more minute.

Add  the 4 ounces of softened butter and mix on medium-high for 3-4 minutes or until light and very fluffy. Icing should be a nice spreadable consistency. If it’s too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar, if too thick, add more evaporated milk – just a little at a time to thin. 

Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand.  Add ½ cup icing and spread to cover.

Add another layer and spread with another ½ cup icing.

Add third layer and repeat with ½ cup icing.

Top with final cake layer. Frost entire cake with a very thin layer of icing. This is the crumb coat. The crumbs will be trapped and will keep your final icing layer crumb free. Let cake sit until crumb coat is dry.

My icing didn't at all look like I had planned.  It hardened up really quickly and before I could really get it nice and smooth.  It tasted a whole lot better than it looked though.

If you have made a caramel cake - using the 2+ hour icing recipe - shoot me a comment.  I would love to know how it turned out.


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