CARAMEL OR BURNT SUGAR CAKE by Sarah Phillips © 2012 Sarah Phillips baking911.com
Makes two 9 x 2-inch layers or one 13- x 9- x 2-inch cake
I'll never forget this recipe my mom made from her Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook from 1950, that I now have. Caramelized sugar, also known as burnt sugar, flavors this delicious cake that I
still make for my own family which is always a big
hit. It reminds me of fall, even though I make it all year round. I
think I have frosted it with just about every type, such as my Seven Minute Vanilla Bean Icing. But the Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream Tutorial is incredible or Cyndi's Caramel Icing works well. But, my favorite is the Caramel Icing Recipe posted below.
CAKE RECIPE HELP
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
additional cold water, to make 1 cup caramel liquid*
2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; spoon into dry measuring cup and level to rim
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup caramel syrup*; from above
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Remaining Caramel Syrup*
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Make the Caramel Liquid:
1. Caramelize the sugar: Melt sugar in a heavy pan over low heat, stirring constantly. SARAH SAYS: This takes about 8 to 10 minutes until the sugar is melted to a golden brown syrup.
2. Remove from the heat. Add slowly the boiling water while stirring constantly. Be careful steam from pan does not burn hand.
3. Stir over low heat until sugar lumps are dissolved to make Caramel Syrup.
4. Carefully pour 1/4 cup Caramel Syrup into Pyrex heatproof measuring cup. Add enough cold water to make 1 cup caramel liquid. Stir and set aside to cool before using in the recipe. Reserve remaining Caramel Syrup for Caramel Icing.
Make the Cake:
1. Position oven shelf to the middle of the oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. (If using dark, nonstick baking pans or ovenproof, Pyrex glass pans, be sure to reduce the oven heat by 25 degrees F).
2. In a medium bowl, after measuring, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on low until softened. (If the butter is cold, it will warm quickly from the beaters - taking about 60 seconds).
4. Add the sugar in a steady stream at the side of the bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 minute until the butter is lighter in color and aerated.
5. Stop the mixer and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.
6. With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time and beat for 20 seconds after each addition.
7. After the eggs have been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the mixture for 2 minutes. (If the eggs are cold, the batter will curdle slightly. It's ok. It will come together as the batter warms from the beaters. ) Set the kitchen timer to help you keep track of the time. The mixture will become fluffy and aerated.
8. With the mixer on LOW speed, add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions, alternating with the Caramel Liquid in 2 equal portions, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the flour and liquid ingredients in increments quickly; do NOT wait in between additions too long as you don't want to overmix the batter.
9. After completing the last addition of flour, stop the mixer, and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula.
10. Then, let the mixer run for 30 seconds on LOW. STOP the mixer. Do NOT overmix.
11. Remove the mixing bowl from the mixer. With a large rubber spatula, give the batter ONE or TWO quick folds to incorporate any stray flour or milk left at the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, STOP!
Divide the batter in the prepared baking pans (should fill 1/2 full) and lightly smooth the tops.
12. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top feels firm and gives slightly when touched and will shrink slightly from the side of the pan. The cake will be slightly browned. If you insert a toothpick in the middle and remove, there should be a few moist crumbs attached, but not batter.
NOTE: The cake takes 35 to 45 minutes to bake in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch cake pan
13. Remove cakes to cool on wire racks for 10 to 15 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula or sharp knife, taking care not to scratch the cake pan. Invert onto cake rack and place upright to cool completely. Be careful, the cakes are delicate when warm.
Make the Caramel Icing and Assemble Cake:
1. Add enough cream to the remaining Caramel Syrup to equal 1/2 cup. Reserve 1/4 cup cream to be able to adjust consistency.
2. Heat the cream / caramel syrup mixture together with the butter in a saucepan under low heat.
3. Transfer the mixture it into the mixer bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium until cooled. Add in salt and vanilla.
4. Slowly add in powdered sugar at the side of the bowl while beating on low. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low until a fluffy icing is achieved.
5. Fill and frost cake.
The cake layers store nicely. They can be stored at room temperature for about 3 or more days. The cake layers freeze well for about a month or more. Keep well wrapped.
The cake frosted with the included Caramel Icing Recipe does not need refrigeration. It can be stored at the cool side of room temperature for a few days or frozen for a month or more. Thaw in its wrappers at room temperature.