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A Humbled Daring Baker

Written By FewMinute Wonders on Sunday, November 30, 2008 | 5:39 PM

This month I had so much fun baking the caramel cake with my12 year old niece who wants to be a pastry chef. I love cooking and baking with her. With great excitement we set out to test our skills. I was so sure of making the perfect caramel sauce as I had made it a number of times but it thickened. When I added that to the sugar and butter mix it formed clusters of caramel that made the cake looked very yucky. But we continued to bake the cake as we could not do anything at that point. We were so glad to see the cake come out like a cake is expected to. Little did we know we were having one of those days where we were not having a flow and everything was a goof up. But we did not lose hope and continued.

My niece was so happy that we were going to be making the icing using our new mixer but guess what the icing was not smooth. The caramel separated from the butter and sugar mix. We were disappointed with it but we did finish the icing. In spite of this we were really looking forward to tasting the cake. When I took the first bite I thought it was very delicious but all that changed when my tongue got past the butter icing, the cake tasted of the stale old APF and I felt so sad that it was not perfect for the little girl who baked with me. In spite of that there were those who thought that the cake was good and ate half of it. This experience would stay with us forever and bring a smile or two to our lips in the future.

This month we are using Shuna Fish Lyndon of Eggbeater's signature recipe of Caramel Cake with Caramel Butter Frosting for the Daring Baker's challenge. Shuna along with Alex of Brownie and Blondie, Dolores of Culinary Curiosity and Jenny of Foray of Food co host the event. Here is the recipe for the cake and give it a try.

EQUIPMENT: For Cake/Icing: Stand mixer with paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer, or mix the old-fashioned way), 9-inch cake pan (or whatever size/shape you choose), cookie sheet or sheet pan, stainless steel saucepan, pastry brush, whisk, sieve.

For (Optional) Caramels: 9-inch square baking pan, aluminum foil, candy thermometer, pastry brush, 3 quart stainless steel saucepan, parchment paper, sharp knife


Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (
), as published on Bay Area Bites (

Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111

If you're looking for additional guidance on the cake, Shuna's got some great information posted here as well ( … ake-a.html) and here ( … he-recipe/). And metric conversions can be found here (

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

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)

I'll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.

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 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.

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


  1. lovely. It sure was nice cake we all loved it

  2. Its sad that things didn't turn out quite right, but one wouldn't know it looking at the cake.
    I'm sure your niece was happier that she baked with you.
    Better luck next time.

  3. oh!! so sorry that there were so many hurdles...i am a first time DB so i know the anxiety when it doesnt turn out sure it will be better next time around.... good luck!!


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