Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers November Challenge: Caramel Cake

Grr I set this post to show up yesterday because I was out of town and it didn't work. I hate blogger sometimes!!!!!!!!!!!

Whoa! Another Daring Baker's challenge has arrived yet again. I was really happy this month to find a new SWEET challenge. I must admit I am a sweet tooth at heart.
This month's challenge was brought to us by Dolores:, Alex:, Jenny: for our vegan/veggie buddies, Natalie:
The recipe is originally from Shuna Fish Lydon

I found this recipe really well informed and straight forward. Which is always great when making something for the 1st time. The only thing was that it was incredibly sweet! even for the likes of me and my family. I reduced the sugar in the cake to about 1/2c. BOY! was that a mistake. Instead of a cake i was left more with a dense sponge look a like. I somehow just couldn't imagine though so much sugar in a cake with such sweet icing.
The components on their own are delicious. Together were just a bit to much for me. However, this was a great challenge and I enjoyed every step of it.
In my final product I ended up making a bittersweet chocolate icing to go with the caramel icing to counter the super sweetness. This really helped I think.

Thanks again to all our wonderful hosts this month!!
Also, a HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all our US blogging friends out there.


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

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl, 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
2 -3 c. 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)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fudge Crackle Cookies: This one is for you Cathy!

So as I was doing my daily browsing of Blogs last week, I came across a most peculiar recurrence on many of my daily readings. Cookies! Cookies absolutely everywhere.

What was all this buzz all of a sudden...a new cookie book perhaps??

Turns out I was right. A new cookie book, not just any book but a fellow blogger's cookie book.

Anita Chu, of Dessert First has written the quintessential guide to all things cookie. This book entails all of the most 100 popular and bake-able recipes for cookies you can find.
I first saw her appearance for her Blog book tour at Helen's Tartelette, then it was Aran's Cannelle et Vanille, where I stumbled across these tiny little tasty morsels.

These cookies hot out of the oven taste like rich flourless chocolate cake, even though they do have flour.
I made a full batch and froze half, the other half I baked up and got 2 dozen cookies out of. These were all promptly eaten in the span of 24 hours....

I used Anita and Aran's recipe but interchanged the 72% chocolate, for bittersweet chocolate chips, since that's what I had.

Make these and they will disappear instantly. (I will not be held responsible for expanding waistlines).

Adapted from "Field Guide to Cookies", by Anita Chu
and Aran, of Cannelle et Vanille

6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners sugar for rolling

Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Remove from heat and cool.

In the meantime, whip the eggs with the sugar until thick. Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate and mix.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add this to the chocolate mixture. Mix until combined.

Place this bowl in the refrigerator for about 2 hours until the dough hardens enough to scoop out.

Preheat oven to 325F. Scoop one inch balls or teaspoon size. Roll these in powdered sugar and place them on cookie sheets lined with parchment or a Silpat. Flatten the cookies with your fingers, so they look like fat little discs and bake until set for about 12 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mint Chip Fro Yo and Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches

I recently celebrated my birthday a couple of weeks ago and the number 1 thing on my list was, Dorie Greenspan's, "Baking from my home to yours".
It came by mail. So when I came home one day it was sitting there just like Christmas!...or my birthday.
I diligently read it from cover to cover. I read a few blogs that participate in "Tuesday's with Dorie" and I am always jealous when everyone refers to it as the "Bible" of home baking.

FINALLY it's mine...all mine!!!!!

So my first recipe were these amazing malted cookies, which are bascially Whoppers or Maltesers in cookie form.


1 3/4 c. of Ap flour
1 c. of Malted milk powder, I used Ovaltine
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick US butter, room temp.
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 whole milk, I just used 1 %
2 c. malted milk balls, Whoppers or Maltesers coarsley chopped
1 c. chocolate chips or chunks

So the funny thing was that there was no direction of how hot the oven was supposed to be. I did the 350 rule just to be on the safe side.

Position racks so you can fit 2 sheets one on top of the other. Line with Silpat or parchment.

Sift together, Flour, milk powder, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
Cream sugar and butter together until pale about 3 minutes. Add 1 egg at a time and incorporate after each addition. Add vanilla.
Add half the flour mixture and then the milk, mix until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix just until incorporated.
Add malt balls and chocolate chunks, fold in by hand.
Drop tablespoons onto baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart.
Bake 11-13 minutes.
Cool for 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.
Makes about 30 cookies.
Pictured above, I just but some mint chocolate chip frozen yogurt inbetween to make sammies.