Saturday, November 29, 2008

November Daring Baker ~ Caramel Cake!

This month's Daring Baker exercise was from Shuna Fish Lydon of the blog Eggbeater and hosted by hosted by Dolores, Alex, and Jenny.

It is her signature Caramel Cake as published on Bay Area Bites ( )

Shuna is a chef who has been cooking and baking professionally, both in New York and California, for over 15 years! The challenge rules were that we must make both her cake and the caramelized butter frosting


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 sugar1/2 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)

Since my daughter's birthday is in November I decided to make this cake for the birthday celebration she was having with her friends at her apartment. She is a big fan of caramel, and I hoped she'd enjoy this cake.

Because I wanted a large cake to serve her 20+ invited guests, I made a double layer of the cake recipe and stacked them, and I also doubled the icing recipe in order to be able to have enough icing to use in between the layers and extra for decorations on top.

I also added chocolate kisses as decorations and some chocolate shavings as sprinkles, and I used the end of the praline crunch I made for the July Daring Baker challenge as sprinkles between the layers and top for some added crunch.

The double batch of icing made the cake extremely sweet, but since my daughter served it in thin slices the sweetness wasn't overpowering, and the cake was a big hit with her friends! Not much was left in the end, and luckily she was able to capture this photo of it sliced before it was gone!

Thanks, Shuna, for your recipe and another cake I'll add to my repertoire!

If you would like to see wonderful versions of the caramel cake and also the optional caramels we could have made on other Daring Bakers web sites today, check the Daring Bakers blogroll.

There is also an open forum for general baking discussions here, but you have to be a member of Daring Bakers in order to register to log in for each month's challenge and discussions regarding it.

If you think you are up to taking the monthly challenge instructions are on the blog as to how to join! Don't delay, as there is only a 24 hour time limit to join every month for the next month's challenge.

I hope to see you all doing the December Daring Baker Challenge!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, please let me move in with you! This looks divine as do all of your creations. I'll wash all the pots if you feed Mr. Magpie and me.

Thanks for sharing yet another masterpiece!

Sheila :-)

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Oh yum! That looks scrumptious! These challenges really are challenges, aren't they? This one looks like a real winner!

M.Kate said...

I am definitely loving this Daring baker post...oh yummmmmy!!! I'd love to have a bite of that :D Happy weekend Pat

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Mmm, I'll take that slice :)

Cori G. said...

Wow Pat! This looks delicious, but you forgot to invite me to the party. I hope your daughter had a wonderful time. How was Thanksgiving?

Melissa Miller said...


Willow said...

Wow! That is an amazing cake!

Mama said...

Pat your Caramel Cake is stunning, is there a prize for 'Cake of the Month'?, because I am drooling over it right now!.

Love your new header Pat, have a lovely weekend, hugs, Kathy.

Tartelette said...

Wow! Fabulous job on the challenge!
Makes me wish I still had some around!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Outstanding!

Nola @ the Alamo said...

That looks like it's absolutely decandent! I gained 5 lbs just reading the recipe.

Catherine said...

You have the best recipes! You new header is gorgeous. So fitting.
Have a great weekend Pat.


Proud Italian Cook said...

How perfect for your sweet daughter who loves caramel! Perfect timing, and perfect cake!
Terrific job Pat!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said... a little problemo with the caramel. You'll have to pop by my blog to see for yourself (I was going to make my headline, "Burning Down the House," but I didn't want to scare anyone. :-)

I rebounded and made mine into Magnolia-type cupcakes. Yours looks beautiful!

Alex said...

Oh my goodness...the caramel cakes looks scrumptious!!! Yummy! Save a slice for me, please! I also like your new holiday picture on your blog...lots! **hugs**

PS I introduced a new Wendy Love today!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful cake! Very well done!



Gretchen Noelle said...

Great job with this cake - wonderful decorations!!

Camille said...

Your cake looks marvelous! I made it for my son's birthday. My son likes caramel, too! I like your new photo in your banner.

CookiePie said...

Your cake looks delicious, and I love the kisses on top!

jeanne said...

Pat, your cake looks delicious. I am so impressed with your Bakers challenge Pat. I'm afraid it is way beyond my abilities for baking. I do wish I could taste some of your wonderful baked goods and food.

Thank you for your sweet comment on the dishes. Those are not mine but I did find some on E-bay and bought four dinner plates. That's a start. Now I need to ask my children to find some more for Christmas. I do love them.


Melissa Miller said...

Hi Pat, Thanks for visiting. You're right the pumpkin made them so moist. Nothing short of delicious. I think we may actually be able to handle making this Caramel cake as well. We're both getting better at cooking lately. My husband did so well on Thanksgiving helping me out in the kitchen. I'll show him this recipe and see if he wants to try it together. We are heading closer your way around May time frame. We'll be stationed in Maryland. I'll finally get to see DC and NYC for the first time. The most exotic place I ever lived growing up was Japan. Just don't remember too much since we left when I was 3 1/2. My fav would have to be Florida since my parents are still there.
Have a relaxing Sunday. ~Melissa :)

Melissa Miller said...

Wait, after reading more details I think this one is way out of our league. LOL! Looks sooo good though.

Judy said...

Now that looks most delicious! And I'll pick caramel over chocolate anytime. I see you are up to most any baking challenge...I'm still seeing your homemade pizza!

Gina said...

Looks sooo decadent Pat..I could down a slice right now! :D

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

This looks so delicious! Yummy, as a matter of fact.

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

That cake looks great...and hard to make! I usually order a caramel cake for Christmas dinner!

Love your new header seasonal! LOl


Tracy said...

Oh my, Pat...I think I have gone to heaven just looking at this cake of yours! I've just damaged the computer screen trying to dig into the slice there with a fork...LOL! Thank you for sharing this amazing cake with us. Is there any left? ;o) Hope you've been having a great holiday weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

Alex said...

Hi Pat..hope you're having a good Sunday!! It's snowing here...whoopie! =) opened her Etsy shop today...if you get time, would you stop by and let me know what you think? I'm sure she would love the feedback.


Ruth said...

Wow your cake looks fantastic. Its great that your daughter and her friends loved the cake.

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

A beautiful cake! - it is so well shaped and decorated. Just a perfect cake for a birthday celebration.

Lisa B. said...

I can feel my behind expanding just reading your foodie posts! lol. Yum Yum!!

dana said...

Oh, Pat, my mouth is watering like crazy at the sight of that amazing cake! I think you could just put me over in a corner with a bowl of that frosting and I would be an extremely happy woman!
Thanks for that delicious share and for the recipe as well! Dana

Vera said...

The cake looks wonderful, Pat!

Jessica said...

Hi Pat,
My name is Jessica and I work with your husband. My husband is also from Italy - I'm the one who goes often and takes lots of pictures. I think Vinnie has shared some pics with you! Anyway - I'm sooo excited to make your osso buco recipe with the butternut squash risotto for Christmas! Thanks for sharing! I'm new to this blog thing - my blog isn't quite as good.