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Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting from www.tasteandtellblog.com

I can’t believe how time flies and that it’s already time to post another Daring Baker’s Challenge! And once again, I didn’t think I’d get this one done, but I did it in the nick of time – making it on Wednesday, with Thanksgiving on Thursday and my husband and I going out of town for the weekend on Friday. At least I got to it, even if I did procrastinate again!!

Luckily, this one went together without a hitch for me. Otherwise, I don’t know how I could have started over. I’ll just talk briefly about the 3 components:

1 – the Caramel Syrup – this seems to give most people a hard time, and I’m usually one of those that have a hard time with caramel. But luckily – it worked the first time for me! One of my tips, which I think I learned from Peabody, is to use the extra fine baker’s sugar when doing caramel. I’ve had much better luck doing that!

2 – the Caramel Cake – since we had limited time to eat this, I made a mini cake, using 2 4 1/2 inch cake pans. I divided the batter evenly, and it cooked up wonderfully. It only took about 17 minutes for both cakes to bake.

3 – the Caramelized Butter Frosting – Yum! Although very sweet, this is delicious. I’ve made a browned butter frosting before, so this wasn’t too unfamiliar, but it was delicious and I’m sure I’ll be making it again! I did add a healthy dose of salt to cut back on the sweetness.

All in all, it was very good. It was very sweet – a very small slice of the mini cake was plenty for me. I’m starting to get very comfortable with making cakes, since I’ve been making so many lately – so maybe that’s why it all went together so easily for me!!

I skipped out on the caramels that were optional this month, but I will be making them at some point, since I love making caramels, and I especially love eating them!

And here are the details…

Helping Dolores (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.

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).

And the recipes…


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

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

– makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels –

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

A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer


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.


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)

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41 Responses to Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting {The Daring Bakers}

  1. Jo says:

    Lovely cake and you even managed to do both challenges.

  2. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Very well done! That cake looks gorgeous!



  3. Chocolate Shavings says:

    That cake looks great Deborah!

  4. HoneyB says:

    A beautiful cake!

  5. Mary says:

    Your cake looks great! I think I will be askign for 4 1/2 inch pans for Christmas!

  6. Bellini Valli says:

    I like the idea of adding salt to the icing to cut back on the swetness. When you say a healthy dose…how much is that…in grams…wink

  7. RecipeGirl says:

    Well done! This was a delicious challenge 🙂

  8. kat says:

    I did the same size cake as you, wasn’t it just yummy! Good work getting this one done last minute

  9. Gretchen Noelle says:

    DEborah, wonderful job on this challenge! SO glad you had great luck with your caramel this time!

  10. culinography says:

    Cake on Wednesday, Thanksgiving on Thursday, and on the road Friday? You go, Girl! Beautifully done!

  11. Megan says:

    your cake looks beautiful. I toyed with the idea of cutting the recipe in half and making a small cake but in the end, went full size. but I gave away the rest of the cake the next day cause i know I would sliver it to death. Enjoy the weekend!
    BTW- Great tip on the fine sugar!

  12. Mary says:

    Your cake is gorgeous! Thanks for the tip about using superfine sugar to make caramel.

  13. glamah16 says:

    We were on the same wave length. Min cakes and wedges.. Looks wonderful. Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

  14. ashley says:

    this cake sounds so delicious!

  15. Renee says:

    Beautiful cake! It looks so airy and moist.

  16. kimberleyblue says:

    Happy you liked it! I agree – a few bites is all you need of this cake.

    Yours looks great!

  17. Maria says:

    Gorgeous cake!!

  18. Katerina says:

    Great pictures, I think we may have the same plates, hehe!

    It was very sweet, but amazing, it was the first brown butter frosting for me and I will definitely make one again.

  19. PheMom says:

    I love, love, love your mini cake! I made mine Wednesday too and didn’t have any trouble. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have a great weekend!

  20. katskitchen says:

    Your cake turned out very nice! Nice job!

  21. Andrea says:

    I agree, mini cakes are the way to go with this one. Your cake looks lovely, congrats!

  22. Ingrid says:

    Your cake looks so tender. Great job squeezing in the cake and getting it all right on the first try!

  23. Mandy says:

    YUMMY!! You did great, the presentation is especially beautiful. Good job!

  24. Erin says:

    Your cake looks so pretty! You should definitely try the caramels. I liked them better than the cake!

  25. Elle says:

    Beautiful cake Deborah! I agree that the small piece is enough with the sweetness. Happy holiday!

  26. chamachama says:

    Various dieting、beauty, healthy is written in this blog.

    Japanese langueage バックシャン backshan

    It sees instinctively turning around when it dresses, it behaves, and the woman with beautiful appearance to walk is seen.
    After there is a word beautiful backing in Japan, the woman with beautiful appearance is said.
    Will you think it is too good somehow though it is not used now?

  27. Sara says:

    looks great! i think i’ll be looking for some small pans like that too.

  28. Dawn says:

    I need to get a candy thermometer.
    This cake looks really good Deb.

  29. MeetaK says:

    lovely mini cakes. well done. i really liked this challenge!

  30. Claire says:

    Glad you got the cake done…it looks wonderfuL!

  31. Peabody says:

    I do say to use the superfine sugar, it really does help.
    Your cake turned out great.

  32. eatme_delicious says:

    Yumm that cake looks delicious. And such a cute little cake!

  33. Half Baked says:

    Well done! your cake is so pretty! This was a really tasty challenge

  34. Elle says:

    Your mini cake looks fabulous! Great tip about the superfine sugar–I never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense. Hope you had a lovely holiday!

  35. Rosie says:

    Well done! This was a great challnge and your cake looks gorgeous!

    Rosie x

  36. creampuff says:


    Your cake looks so elegant! Nicely done!

  37. Ruth E says:

    Great work on this month’s challenge. Love how you decorated!

  38. Tartelette says:

    Wow! That cake looks fantastic Deborah! Love how moist it turned out!

  39. Jenny says:

    I love the mini look, it is so cute.

  40. Dolores says:

    A mini caramel cake! It’s beautiful, especially in the last minute. Thanks for baking with us.

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