Sunday, August 30, 2009

Brown-Sugar Caramel Cake

(recipe by Loren Wood in "Taste of the South" magazine)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. maple extract (or pure maple syrup)
1 recipe Linda's Cooked Caramel Icing (recipe to follow)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. Add oil and beat until combined. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, and extracts.
Add flour mixture alternating with buttermilk mixture to brown sugar blend. Beat well after each addition, should be 3 additions each. Pour into 3 cake pans and bake until a wooden toothpic inserted off-center comes out clean. The recipe in says 30 minutes. I would say closer to 20 minutes in a gas oven. Let cakes cool in pans 20 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Spread with icing (caramel icing or one of your choice) between layers, on top, and around sides of cake, working quickly. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Linda's Cooked Caramel Icing
4 1/2 cups sugar, divided
10-ounces evaporated milk
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
Before beginning to make this icing read the entire recipe, the two pans will be on the heat at the same time.
Place 1/2 cup sugar in small saucepan or skillet. Set on stove.
Place remaining 4 cups sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a large saucepan. Set on stove.
Cook sugar in small pan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until caramelized or amber colored, approximately 4 minutes. (The sugar melts, then changes color, so don't panic)
At the same time, if not slightly before, bring ingredients in large pan to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. The goal is that it comes to a boil, while the sugar in the saucepan changes to amber color.
When milk mixture begins to boil, carefully add caramelized sugar, stirring constantly.
Cook mixture 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, let cool for 1 minute. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Use immediately.

I spread the caramel on the layers and stacked it, but did the icing on the top, but the caramel just wouldn't thicken up, so I let it sit at room temperature for a while, until spreadable consistency.
Optional: before icing the cake, use a simple syrup, to moisten the layers. I cut off the uneven portions on top of the cakes first. Bring 1/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, (optional add 1-2 tbsp. rum), 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup just to a boil. Drizzle over cake layers, or brush on, then proceed with frosting the cakes.

If desired, garnish cake with chocolate shavings/curls.


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