It is a dangerous thing when my sweet tooth is acting up at the same time I am watching America's Test Kitchen, and they are making something as beautiful and tasty as Easy Caramel Cake. I had not planned to bake. But before I knew it, I was pulling out ingredients and measuring! Yes, that is exactly how it happened~ spontaneous and completely unplanned! I knew it was time to bring out my mixer, Millicent, to have some fun!
America's Test Kitchen modified the traditional Southern Caramel Cake recipe so it is easier to ice the cake before the frosting becomes too hard to spread on two layers. This recipe uses a reverse creaming method~ the butter is beat into the dry ingredients. This helps make for a sturdier cake (to support the thick caramel frosting).
The recipe is below. I made one substitution. Instead of using buttermilk, I tried using the same amount of Greek yogurt. I found this to be a satisfactory option if you do not have buttermilk on-hand and prefer not to mix up your own with traditional lemon juice or vinegar methods.
Here is a pictorial summary of the process.
|Whisking eggs, Greek yogurt, and vanilla flavoring|
|Millicent mixing dry ingredients|
|After butter is slowly added; then first half of egg/yogurt mixture|
|All ingredients added and beat; batter is ready to go into baking pans|
|Thick batter spooned into pans for baking|
|Baked layers cooling on racks|
Because of the need to work quickly, I did not get photos of preparing the icing, but I did get a shot while I was in the process of icing the layers. Beating a little softened butter into the finished frosting did make the icing more forgiving.
Okay, I couldn't resist taking several photos of the finished dessert. This is just a beautiful cake!
EASY CARAMEL CAKE
(America's Test Kitchen)
Ingredients for CAKE:
1/2 cup buttermilk , room temperature
4 large eggs , room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into 16 pieces and softened
Ingredients for FROSTING:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups Confectioners' sugar, sifted
1. For the cake layers: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in large measuring cup. With electric mixer on low speed, mix flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, until only pea-sized pieces remain. Pour in half of buttermilk mixture and beat over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Slowly add remaining buttermilk mixture to bowl and beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
2. Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks. Cool completely, at least 1 hour.
3. For the frosting: Heat 8 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and salt in large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan (see photo at left), 4 to 8 minutes. Whisk in cream and cook until ring of bubbles reappears, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in vanilla.
4. Transfer hot frosting mixture to bowl and, with electric mixer on low speed, gradually mix in confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until frosting is pale brown and just warm, about 5 minutes. Add remaining butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
5. To assemble: Place 1 cake round on serving platter. Spread ¾ cup frosting over cake, then top with second cake round. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Serve.
And now, a taste for you!