Monday, December 1, 2008

Better late than never! DB November - Caramel Cake

This months Daring Baker's Challenge was for a caramel cake with caramelized butter frosting. If I had made up this recipe, I would call the frosting brown butter caramel frosting, because it is made using browned butter, which has a fantastic, nutty taste. I really don't know why I don't make things more often with browned butter. My version had coffee added, and at the last minute I decided to add a chocolate ganache. I love the coffee-caramel-chocolate combination. 

Unfortunately, I had a leg mishap and was off my feet for the weekend so my post is late, I hope it still counts! This months recipe was hosted by Delores, Alex, and Jenny, with GF notes by Natalie
I whipped up this cake this afternoon, and while the cake itself tastes fine, it isn't my favorite. Mine was moist and crumb-y, but I just didn't love it. The frosting, however, oh yum. I didn't make the optional caramels, because 1. I was feeling lazy and 2. I've made caramels before, and while I love them, I tend to eat them all and don't really need to be eating lots and lots of candy. Oh, and 3. I only had a few tablespoons of cream, which went into the frosting. I didn't include the caramel recipe, but if you want it, click on any of the hosts blogs!

(recipes below courtesy of
Shuna Fish Lydon)
My notes are in green italics!
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
(I used 1 T strong coffee)
2 Cups all-purpose flour (2 c Rice flour mix)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
(I used 1 1/2 t baking powder)
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 t xanthan gum
1/2 t baking soda

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:
So the GF changes to the cake would be:
2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum 1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I'm going to check) 

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
I used a springform 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.}
Strong coffee for the syrup and frosting
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.
CARAMEL SYRUP (I added coffee and made a coffee-caramel syrup)
I only made half of this which was sufficient
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)
2 T strong brewed coffee
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
and coffee. 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.

Note II: If you cook this too long and it is too syrup-y, stir in a little more water or coffee (if it's too thick to stir anything in, microwave syrup for a few seconds until it's looser). Once syrup is cooled, it will be much thicker than it is when it's hot!


12 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
(I used 2 T coffee instead)
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. 

Coffee Chocolate Ganache 
My recipe - don't make this until you're ready to put it on the cake!
1/2 c chocolate chips
1 T cream (I used Silk creamer, use whatever you want)
1 T coffee

Mix everything together, microwave for 30 seconds and stir until smooth. Pour over cake and carefully spread over the top with a knife. 


  1. Coffee caramel, what a brilliant idea! Did it help cut the sweetness a bit?

    Your cake looks great, but it's a bummer you didn't like it. Nonetheless, excellent job!

    Christina ~ She Runs, She Eats

  2. Thanks Christina! My cake was SOOOO sweet. I don't know if we're going to be able to finish it! I can only eat a small slice at a time. I love the coffee-chocolate-caramel combo, though!

  3. I'm impressed that your cake rose enough to slice in two to make two layers. I tried the challenge too, and like the way the cake tasted, although it was pretty flat. I love the chocolate ganache addition!


  4. Rochelle - Maybe mine rose more because of the baking soda and I used a little more baking powder? My cake was still more dense than I like, but it did rise!
    Thanks! I'll add your blog to my blogroll!

  5. Anonymous1:36 AM

    Not only does your cake look beautiful, but I LOVE the addition of the mocha take on it, What a great way to tone down the sweetness. YUM!

  6. The ganache addition rocks! I'm not a big caramel person, but I do love chocolate and caramel together.


  7. Ooo, your cake looks amazing! Love the ganache on top!

  8. Hi honey!

    I think this is your best cake yet.
    I'll make sure I help you finish eating this one.

    Love Alex

  9. I keep trying to come up with a reason to have people over just so I can make this cake....otherwise I'd have to eat it all by myself. I just don't know if thats a good idea ;)

  10. Anonymous11:51 AM

    I really believe is what everybody waits.