Friday, November 28, 2008

Caramel Cake with Carmelized Butter Frosting

An indulgence best enjoyed with friends.

For those with a sweet tooth, you are in luck. I figured out that this is a very sweet cake by reading posts from other Daring Bakers who said that "this is a very sweet cake". This led to my decision to make mini cupcakes out of the cake instead so that one serving only supplied you with one day's sugar intake instead of a week's worth. I also thought they would be fun to bring to Cat and Heath's annual dessert party and the mini cupcakes would be easier to consume from a buffet.

This month's event was hosted by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity and co-hosted by Alex of Blondie and Brownie, Jenny of Foray into Food . The recipe chosen for the challenge is Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater, as published on Bay Area Bites.

I'll admit that I had a bit of trepidation after all the calls of "too sweet", but in the end, the frosting makes the cake. The cake itself is quite moist and delicious, but the brown butter frosting is insane. It is so good! I will definitely be making this again for cakes and cupcakes in the future. The smoky, earthy, salty nature of the frosting (I added a bit extra fleur de sel, which I think is key) was a wonderful counterpoint to the sweet cake (I also held back just a touch on the sugar in the cake and I think that worked well).

Although I had developed low expectations for this cake, it ended up being a true winner that everyone seemed to really enjoy.


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 temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter two 9-inch cake pans.
2. 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.
3. Add vanilla extract and eggs a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
4. 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.
5. 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. Bake for 35-40 minutes or till the sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cakes completely before icing it.


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



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

1. 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.
2. 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.


Danielle said...

Yum! That sounds awesome.

I heart cupcakes.

Cynthia's Blog said...

I normally shy away from really sweet cakes, but this one was really nice with the salty sweet aspect. Hope to see your photos soon.

Gretchen Noelle said...

I'm sure your mini cupcakes were just delicious!!

Ruth said...

I loved this cake as well. Your cupcakes look delicious! I love how the frosting looks

grandma said...

insanely delicious. and even with my 'old lady sweet tooth' i can only eat a bite at a time - hence the genius of the mini cakes.

Catalina said...

What I am about to say is a really BIG DEAL. This is my favoritest cake ever. Hands down. of all time. I wish you could have seen my face today when I was looking at the last piece sitting on my counter. "Should I have it for lunch dessert or dinner dessert?" I split it in half and can hardly wait for dinner. you win.

Natalie said...

our little cupcakes look almost identical, except you went with the fancy piping tip. :) they look great!

Jodie said...

I read a bunch of other people who said added fleur de sel is key, too. Yours look great!

Claire said...

Look at your cute cake and it! The icing really does make it, doesn't it?!

nikkita said...

Lol well then I probably ate three week's worth of sugar intake! ^_^ I love your caramel string picture!