Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake with Carmalized Butter Frosting

Another month, another Daring Bakers' Challenge and this one really takes the cake! Ha! Although I just moved back from the other side of the Atlantic, I realized last week that I would be at my parent's house when this cake was due and I just couldn't pass up that opportunity and I'm so glad I made the effort. It was a very fun cake to make- just enough of a challenge to keep you focused but not too difficult to make you want to tear your hair or wonder whether it was all worth the effort. Well let me tell you that it was.

I'll admit that is a very sweet cake, but a thin slice of this caramel cake with a cup of coffee is pure heaven. My boyfriend even said that it reminded him of his grandmother's cake and that might just be the highest compliment one can be paid as far as baked goods are concerned. So a big 'Thank You' is due to Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater for this recipe and the rest of the Daring Baker's hosts Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Alex of Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food for this month's challenge- It's definitely a keeper.


  • 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.

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.

Definitely not dark amber yet...

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)



  1. wow, your cake looks delicious! I agree, bitter coffee goes fantastically with this ultra sweet treat :)

  2. Your cake looks yummy!! It was pretty sweet so little slices, or mini cup cakes were just right.