Post #27: Carmelicious Cake

I first saw this lovely cake on Sing For Your Supper's Blog and decided that I had to make it for my mom's birthday that was a few days away. 

Usually my relationship with cake is simple: you bake it, I eat it.  I'm more of a cupcake maker.  That being said, I'm trying to increase my kitchen repertoire, so I'm gradually adding double - and eventually - multi-tiered cakes to the mix.  Word to the novice cake bakers out there: this is not what I would call an easy cake.  It's not terribly difficult, but certainly not easy.  I should have eased myself in with a nice double layer white cake with white icing.  Simple.  :)  But, I jumped into this one head first!  Also, I gave myself 2.5 hour to get it done start to finish before we had to hurry out the door.  I felt rushed.  Take your time with this badboy. 

I got good reviews on the flavour, but my frosting skills definitely need work.  lol!

My pictures seems to be getting worse and worse...I need a new camera!

Southern Caramel Cake
Caramel Cake

1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup hot water
3 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the caramel syrup: place 1/2 cup of the sugar in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar melts. When it becomes a dark amber color (about 5 minutes- watch it closely!), remove from heat and whisk in the hot water VERY slowly until dissolved. You’ll be left with a syrup about the consistency of simple syrup. Cool completely. *The first time I tried this I added my hot water too fast and ended up with a rock-hard lump of caramel, so be sure to add the water VERY slowly while whisking!

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and the cooled caramel syrup; blend. Add dry ingredients and milk alternately, beating until smooth. Pour into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans lined with wax paper and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Caramel Filling

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Cook the sugar, butter, cornstarch and milk together in a double boiler until thick (mine never got too thick and I cooked it for at least 15 minutes). Remove from the heat and add vanilla. Let cool for about 5 minutes then pour over the warm cakes still in their pans (I poked holes all over my cakes with a toothpick so it would soak up the liquid better). Let the cakes sit out at room temperature in their pans until completely cooled.

Caramel Buttercream

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove from heat and very slowly add in cream and vanilla, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth (be careful, as the mixture will definitely bubble up and possibly splatter a bit as you add in the cream). Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, gradually add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, and then add caramel. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate if not using immediately (or to harden the frosting a bit).

To assemble the cake:
Slide a dull knife all the way around the edges of the cakes to loosen the sides from the pan and (using a spatula or possibly your hands- however you deem fit, really), lift the cake from the pan, peel the wax paper off the bottom and place, caramel side up on a cake platter.

The second layer is easier- just line the cake up evenly with the bottom layer and gently overturn the pan, setting it upside down (caramel side down; so you’ll have caramel-to-caramel), then peel off the wax paper.
Using a cake spatula, gently and evenly spread the caramel buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until about 1 hour before serving. Makes one 2 layer, 9-inch cake