Saturday, November 29, 2008

My First Daring Baker's Challenge!

I finally participated in my first Daring Baker's Challenge! Since I signed up in mid-October I've been a little nervous and excited about what the challenge could be. The past two months were pizza dough and crackers, so I was definitely a little apprehensive about what crazy baked good we would have to prepare, but I was more than happy to see Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting as the challenge. It definitely took me an afternoon to make it, with trials and errors, but in the end I ended up with this:
Sweet 70's tupperware cake dome courtesy of my grandma
I didn't have the deep 9 in cake pan that was called for, so I baked it in two 9 inch pans and then layered the two with some leftover caramel sauce in between, and topped it with the frosting. I also drizzled some caramel sauce on top... I wasn't sure what else to do with it! While making the sauce I only burnt one batch of sugar, and one batch of butter for the frosting. Pretty good I'd say. They both go from good to horribly wrong so fast! I forgot to take photos while I was baking... there would have been some really interesting ones!! The cake itself was heavenly, but I thought the frosting was too sweet; as in way to sweet... and I LOVE sugar so you know it was sweet if I couldn't eat it. The flavor was great, but I thought it was too sugary sweet for my taste. Next time I won't use all of the frosting on the cake, I'll just use part of the batch. Overall it was really fun and I can't wait until next month's challenge!
Shuna Fish Lydon's recipe follows or is available here, and thanks to the hosts this month: Dolores, Alex, Jenny and Natalie!
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.
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
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. 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.
Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)


Jessica said...

Good job, it looks delicious!

Elra said...

WOW, Congratulation on your first challenge!
I think the cake looks beautiful. But, I do agree that,
It was kinda too sweet, wasn't it?

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great job! Welcome to the Daring Bakers

doctoringdancinganddelectables said...

Wow, what a lovely cake! It looks delicous. I didn't have time for DB this month, hopefully next! And thanks for reminding me there's a light on the other side of med school! What school are you at, out of curiosity? Good luck with interviews and the match!

BC said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers! yes, it was sweet, especially after the 5th cupcake.

Claire said...

Great job on your first challenge! I have to mom has that cake dome! I'm sure that she got it as a wedding present! :-)

Claire said...

Hah! I left you a comment on someone else's site. :-) I am interviewing for residency in pediatrics! You doing! Guess you're ahead of the game in everything, huh?