The first recipe I want to post about is from my favorite baking blog: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. I do a fair amount of cooking, but my true love is baking. I have to admit, though, that what first caught my attention and got me to look at her blog was this adorable little picture of her dog that she has in her siggy:
I am constantly amazed at the wonderful baked goods she makes, and am always anxious to see what she is going to make next :)
I have a huge sweet tooth, so I am always baking something up. I usually end up taking what I make to work to share, otherwise it's just too much for two. The last place I worked, they referred to me as Betty Crocker :) Well, the last couple of weeks everything I have made and brought in has either had chocolate or coconut in it--two ingredients that one of my co-workers does not like. So I told him last week that I would make him something that did not include those ingredients. He said his favorite thing is caramel, so I agreed to make something with caramel in it. That's when I turned to Peabody for ideas. I asked her what her favorite caramel-y dessert was in her blog, and she pointed me towards her Caramel Cake.
I had a bit of trouble with the first step in the recipe, making the caramel syrup, but was successful the second time around. The key is to add the boiling water in very small amounts, and to whisk briskly with each addition to keep the sugar from seizing. The cake was indeed very moist, and the caramel topping/frosting was delicious. It was a bit sweet, but very few things in this world are "too sweet" for me ;)
Double Caramel Cake
from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
1/3 cup plus 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine
3 cups sifted cake flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel Frosting (recipe below)
1. Melt one-third cup sugar in a heavy skillet, stirring constantly until deep-brown syrup is formed - a process called caramelization. Remove from heat and slowly stir in boiling water, being careful that steam does not burn your hand. Set syrup aside to cool.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, place parchment paper in the bottoms, then grease and flour the bottoms and sides.
3. Cream butter in bowl of electric mixer. Add 1-1/4 cups sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is well-incorporated. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the reserved syrup.
4. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Combine milk and vanilla. Add flour mixture to the batter alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Divide batter evenly among the two prepared pans and bake 25 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Remove pans from oven and let stand about 10 minutes, then turn out cakes onto wire rack, peel off paper and cool completely.
6. Frost cooled cake, stacking layers.
3 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons half and half
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Mix sugar and half and half in a heavy saucepan and cook, stirring over low heat until syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 235 degrees on a candy thermometer. If lacking a thermometer, check doneness by dropping a tiny bit of syrup into a cup of cold water. When the syrup can be gathered up in fingers and will almost hold its shape, it has reached the soft-ball stage.
2. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter, then let syrup cool. Add vanilla and beat until frosting reaches spreading consistency. A little cream (or half-and-half) may be added is mixture is too thick.
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