Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge: Shuna Fish Lydon's Caramel Cake

Like a lot of my fellow Daring Bakers I was excited to get back to something sweet. I was also very happy that it was a cake this month. Since this is/was my birthday month I thought it would be the perfect thing to make for my celebration.

Thank you to our DB hostess and helpers this month for a great selection they are the following: Dolores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, Alex from Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie , Jenny of Foray into Food and helping them with the alternative baking side of things is once again Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go .

This month's recipe comes from Shuna Fish Lydon's website:…%20he-recipe/

Author: Shuna Fish Lydon

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

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 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. {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.

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

Review: I made this cake for my birthday and thought it came out great. The cake part itself was very straight forward and I did not have any problems with it. The cake to me was dense but really tasty. The caramel gave it a nice flavor that was unique and very pleasant.

The part I really enjoyed and loved was the caramel syrup. I think I could have cooked it a little bit longer but I was afraid of burning it. It taste SOOOOO good and I would make it again in a heartbeat. I used it as a sweetener for my coffee and even got other family members to do the same. It kept very well in the refrigerator for several weeks before we finished it.

The part I didn't really like was the brown butter buttercream (which is why I didn't include the recipe above). I have decided that I am not a fan of homemade buttercream and unless it is required I don't think I will make them again. My husband doesn't really care for them as well and it is sort of wasted on us.


Gretchen Noelle said...

Wonderful job on the cake!

Dolores said...

Happy Birthday! I'm so glad the challenge (mostly) worked for you. Thanks for baking with us.


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