Saturday, November 29, 2008

November Challenge!!!


Ok this one will start off weird, and may take me a challenge or two to get used to tying this part into the post haha.. so I am doing it the quick way. We now need to make sure we give those that deserve it the Kudos for the posting and props for the recipe! I fully agree!! but there was soo much to include, and then someone ( I looked and looked for the original post, and heck if I could find it, listed what she thought was right) so I copied that and went to each link to link it right.. I hope LOL. We will see if I did it right. I want to link to her page because she did all the work,
Audax Artifex , so I thank you cause it helped me a ton!! So here are the links to the awesome people that chose the challenge, and created everything and did all the hard work!! as well as the Recipe source!!:
(http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com/) host this month are Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo: http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/), Jenny of Foray into Food (http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/). And since none of us know jack about alternative baking, we’ve once again turned to Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go (http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com/) to assist us.
Our leading lady this month is Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/) and her signature caramel cake.
RECIPE SOURCE
Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/), as published on Bay Area Bites (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/). Shuna Fish Lydon’s recipe (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/)

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 (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/) and here (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/shuna/2007 … ake-a.html).

So the Challenge!! lets see where to start. My favorite was.. The caramels!! OMg!! they were awesome, In all the postings it was suggested to only cook to about 248.. so I did just that, And holy smokes they were amazing!!! I made the Vanilla Bean Nutmeg version, and soft and chewy and just heaven sent. Absolutely Amazing!! By far my favorite part of the challenge!! The Cake, I liked it, nice mild, I had issues with the caramel syrup but it did not appear to affect the cake so much, so it turned out pretty good. To go with caution I did as suggested and left the syrup out of the icing, which was fine as I loved the browned butter flavor, IT was great. For the filling, well I had made some Vanilla Bourbon Peach Jam over the summer, my first attempt and it did not come out quite as set as I liked, so it was more a thick dessert sauce. I chose that as the filling, OMG!! what a combo.. the flavors of that with the caramel.. fantastic! I took it to work, and one comment was.. " I have died and gone to Heaven" so I think the cake was a huge hit!! Make it again, maybe, depends, I may find a different cake but the rest I enjoyed!!
So here is the recipe!! again the caramels..AWESOME!!!

CARAMEL CAKE WITH 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

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 t
he 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.

CARAMEL SYRUP

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the carmalization 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.

CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

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)

(Optional) GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS
- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -

Ingredients
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

Equipment
A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer

Procedure

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

Variations

Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.

Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.

Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.

Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer.
(recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)
I had to put the caramels on the cake some how.. so just made some weird design with them lol.Thanks for a fun challenge. My first time to make caramels and I Loved it!!!

8 comments:

Amy said...

I think we are all trying to get used tot he new posting procedures! Great job on your challenge - it all looks so good!

Renee said...

I haven't tried the caramels, yet! You've inspired me. I definitely will make them. Yours look awesome!

MoneyBonanza said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Megan said...

Your cake is beautiful. I made the caramels too but I wish I would ofquit cooking them at 248. I wanted them a tad bit softer. Great challenge! Great job! :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Sounds like the caramels were the star for you. I have yet to try the recipe, but you have encouraged me all the more. Great job!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

That's a lovely cake, and the caramel decorations look so good. Great job!

Dolores said...

Vanilla, bourbon and peach... what wonderful flavors to combine with the caramel cake. GREAT choice. Thanks for baking with us in November.

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