DB#25 or a Caramel Dream!

Caramel Cake

When I was a kid my drawings were always full of colour but I've never managed to keep them clean and tidy. It could be a stain, a colorful fingerprint or just everything a bit uneven on the page. Every time I'd complain, my mum would say my drawings were beautiful and perfect the way they were. I would roll my eyes, and start over (stubborn, me?). One day, after she gave me the same answer, I've explained her that I wanted my drawings to be "perfect BUT perfect in a perfect way". I was 4 years old. The "perfect in a perfect way" became a family mockery that has survived all these years. Even today, when I say something is perfect, there will certainly be a member of my lovely family to quickly ask "but is it perfect in a perfect way or just perfect?". And we all laugh.

As much as I wanted my cakes to be "perfect in a perfect way", I've learned to like their rustic appearance. They have a thing of their own, some sort of perfect imperfection... and I like that! Of course, I still dream of caramel buttercream spread across without a single flaw, and luscious decorations running the sides and top of a tall, even cake. A girl can dream, right? ;-)

Let me welcome you to a Caramel Dream, pardon, to a caramel cake with Shuna Fish Lydon mark. I came across Shuna's blog, and work, through my friend Fer a while ago. It made me really happy to know an enormous bunch of talented people would bake her signature caramel cake... So let me welcome you to the Daring Bakers November challenge! This month we have a lovely hostess: Dolores of Chronicles of Culinary Curiosity, co-hosted by Alex of Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo, Jenny of Foray into Food, and Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go. Check all the other Daring Bakers Caramel dreams!

Caramel Cake & Mulled Pears

Shuna Fish Lydon caramel cake's recipe can be found here, and some tips from Shuna over at Eggbeater.

My thoughts on the challenge:

- The cake is moist, and has a great texture.
- My idea for the cake was to keep it caramel only. My only concession was a handful of tiny little bits of dulce de leche on top of the cakes.
- As many people said it was extra sweet, I've reduced the sugar in the cake to a little less than 1 cup.
- I thought it was very important to cream the butter for the cake for a long 7-8 minutes. The 'dry, wet, dry, wet, dry' method was also very simple but important for the outcome. My batter was soft and light, with a beautiful golden colour.
- Instead of a large cake, I've made a medium one, and 6 individual cakes.
- I've halved the buttercream recipe, and again cut dramatically the amount of sugar (1/2 cup) but used the higher amount of syrup stated (plus a little more!). It worked fine, despite of all.
- The medium cake was a major success with my dad-in-law, covered with the buttercream on top, and some caramel syrup running.
- The day after, I served the individual cakes halved, with buttercream between the layers, dulce de leche crumbled on top, and paired with mulled pears. It was surprisingly good!
- Unfortunately, I didn't find the time to make Alice Medrich's Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels.

Mulled Pears

Mulled Pears

4 large, ripe pears (I used the portuguese variety Rocha), whole, peeled
4 Tbsp light muscovado sugar
400 ml red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 star aniseed

Put the sugar, wine, cinnamon, and star aniseed in a large saucepan. Heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the pears to the simmering syrup. Poach for 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Set aside to cool completely. Keep the pears in the syrup overnight. Serve with the cake.


Marija said...

I love that caramel crumble on top! :)

Aparna said...

You've got to be joking. I think your cakes are look lovely. And this way of frosting would have prevented a sugar overdose.

Btw, my daughter had the "perfectly perfect" problem too.:)

Dolores said...

I think your cakes *are* perfect in a perfect way.

I'm glad you enjoy Shuna as much as I do. If you're ever in the same geography, you should try baking with her. It's a fantastic experience.

Thanks for baking with us this month.

Dhanggit said...

Oh my..your cake Suzana is sinfully irresistable! Im a big fan!! love it!!

im glad to be back, i missed all your sweet goodies!! kisses

zorra said...

I have the same dream about the perfect cake. ;-)

giz said...

What a gorgeous presentation - now that's talent.

gato azul said...

I first tasted mulled pears at Palmela Pousada, and I was totally smitten. If I remember well, they had put some whole cloves along with the cinnamon. The star anise must give them a delicate taste. I'll have to try. I'm more of a fruit dessert kind of person... :-O Your pictures are beautiful, as always

Aran said...

great cake suzana and i like that you cut the sugar down to half. it was too sweet for me too.

vibi said...

Thank you Suzana, for sharing that wonderful memory with your readers... it was very touching, especiallly that I too, recognize myself so much in what you've said. And have learned that... included in the word imperfection, is the hidden... perfection. May I had, the rusticity of your cake is, perfect!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Adorei a tua perfeição imperfeita! Eu também jogo nessa equipa de querer tudo perfeito, mas percebi cedo que com as minhas trapalhices ia ser dificil... Portanto contento-me com as minhas perfeições imperfeitas e com as tuas! ;)

Honey Pickles said...

I think you cake looks perfect and delicious!

Jude said...

Your cake looks awesome to me :) Can't go wrong with the rustic approach, right?

Tartelette said...

They look "perfect" in every sweet way! You did a wonderful job Suzana!

ChichaJo said...

Well I think this definitely looks perfect in a perfect way :) I have got to make this cake, even if I didn't make the challenge!

Andrea said...

Well I think your blog is perfect and that cake is definitely perfect! It's lovely!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Whether it's perfect perfect or imperfect perfect (did I get that right?) I think this cake is a slice of perfection. :)

syrie said...

I hope I dream of this tonight. Simply gorgeous.