DB#25 or a Caramel Dream!
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!
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.
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.