Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers - Caramel Cake

Oh my taters. I love caramel. Love it. So much.

Ok _o I ju_t _pilled milk on my keybo_rd _nd _m mi__ing two very import_nt letter_.

Got _ little overexcited _bout the c_r_mel... it h_ppen_...

Due to technic_l difficultie_... picture_ now, coherent po_t l_terz. =)

Update: Here comes a coherent post!

So, my computer is now pretty much completely unusable and I am sitting in the library at school writing this. I can type As and Ss again YAY!!

In any case, this month's challenge was awesome!! It was hosted by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Alex of Blondie and Brownie, and Jenny of Foray into Food, and they chose the most sugar-tastic cake I have ever met... which is really saying a lot! This is of course Shuna Fish Lydon's signature Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting, as published on Bay Area Bites.

Now, I am a caramel fanatic. Really and truly. I love it more th an almost any flavor out there. So I have made my share of recipes involving caramel. I have even made before a cake such as this one, that incorporates caramel syrup into the batter. But I really loved this challenge, because this recipe wasn't just "more of the same" caramel stuff... in fact it seems that there are so many different methods of making caramel and incorporating it into desserts that to me, every recipe is a little different and has something new to teach me!

For instance, I learned that when you dilute caramel with water, the flavor is also diluted, so it is sometimes ok to throw out preconceived notions of exactly what color perfect-tasting caramel should be.

Also, I learned that when you combine caramel with browned butter, it makes a flavor that really I just want to marry and be with forever! I have never before baked with browned butter, but this frosting was a real eye-opener for me and I'm pretty sure it will be appearing in many of my upcoming creations! Cause seriously, I would bathe in that stuff.

I also learned a lot about powdered-sugar-based frosting in general. See, I made this recipe twice. The cupcakes in the photos are from the first time I made it. The first time, I didn't overcook my caramel, so it didn't really add much to the cake in the way of flavor. Also, I followed the recipe exactly when I made the frosting, and I hated it. I LOVED the flavor, but I hated that it was so sweet it made my throat burn. I don't think anything should make your throat burn unless it is hot and spicy... which this frosting was definitely not.

I was almost convinced that the idea of powdered-sugar-based frosting was just a horrible one in general, since I had never before made or eaten any that did not have that gross burning sweet effect on me, and I was planning on remaking the cake using a frosting that incorporated all the same flavors, but was based in meringue instead. But then the day came to remake the cake, and I looked in my fridge at the eggs, and I already had about 10 egg yolks sitting in bowls crying out to me that they needed to be used soon, and I just couldn't bring myself to make meringue and add to the pile...

So I decided to try the same frosting again, but to be really careful about how much of everything I was adding and do it completely to taste rather than by the recipe. I ended up using only about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, letting the browned butter set up a little, and using a lot more cream and caramel than the recipe called for.

It was soooo dreamy... so perfect. I was in love. Happiness. I will upload pictures of the second cake as soon as I get my computer back! =)

Thank you once again for an amazing challenge, Daring Baker's, and for opening my eyes to the wonders of browned butter and the potential for powdered-sugar-based frostings! <3>


nikkita said...

LOL! Im so sorry about your keyboard mishap, but it's very funny! Love your cupcakes ^_^

Astra Libris said...

Your caramel cupcakes are beautiful!! I love the elegant swirled icing on top!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Uh oh! Too bad about the keyboard. At least you have delicious caramel cupcakes to console you!

Raquel said...

LOL! Love those cupcakes!

Dolores said...

I can relate. About a month ago, the "e" key fell off my laptop. You don't realize how many times you type e until it's gon_. :)

B_autiful cupcak_s. Thanks for baking with us this month!

Melissa said...

Those look so good! And the frosting looks really creamy!

Claire said...

Ha! Beautiful cupcakes!

~Amber~ said...

Your cupcakes are beautiful.

Astra Libris said...

P.S. I just tagged you with a non-obligatory MeMe - really just an opportunity for me to talk about the awesomenss of your blog... :-) You rock!

helan said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

Hi, this is the first time to visit your blog, I love
Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting as well, but followed the link publiched, it is unavailable, could you publich the recipe again?
thanks a lot