September 30, 2012

Brown Sugar Cake with Caramel Frosting



I wanted to make a nice dessert that was different than my usual last minute dessert fare of hot fudge sundaes with summer stawberry sauce or brownies and vanilla ice cream that I make when company comes for dinner.  Of course, I was pressed for time and making the dessert the day of the dinner, along with the dinner.  Cake and ice cream are favorites but I wanted to dress it up beyond the normal birthday dessert.  Salted caramel is very popular, although it is not one of my most favorite combinations and I can only take it in the salt in small doses (nevermind that I love chocolate dipped pretzels). My tried and true yellow cake recipe was at hand when I came a across a caramel buttercream frosting recipe.  Light yellow cake and caramel buttercream did not seem too compatible so I found a brown sugar cake that matched the frosting perfectly.  I served the cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and chocolate candy buttons filled with caramel and sprinkled with a touch of fleur de sel. It was a lovely sweet and rich dessert.  Add more salt along the way if that suits your taste.

Brown Sugar Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 °F.
Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until no egg remains.
Mix in vanilla extract.
Add flour mixture (starting and ending with the flour) to the butter and eggs in 3 batches alternating with the buttermilk (in two additions). Stir until combined.
Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
Bake for around 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Caramel Buttercream Frosting
Frosts one 9 inch round
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sticks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In a medium saucepan, with tall sides combine sugar and water and cook over medium-high heat.
Using a heat proof pastry brush and warm water "paint" the warm water onto any sugar that is stuck to the pan edges.  Liquifying this sugar prevents recrystallization in your finished product.
Boil without stirring until it turns a deep amber color.
Watch carefully as the sugar will continue to brown after removed from the heat.
Remove from heat and slowly pour in cream (watch for sputtering) and vanilla,  whisking until it is very smooth.
Let cool for around 20 minutes, until it’s just barely warm and still pourable.
Meanwhile, beat butter and salt together until light and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
Pour in the cooled caramel and beat on medium-high speed until light (around 2 minutes).
Spread onto cake (if frosting is too runny, the caramel was too warm when added – refrigerate for around 15-20 minutes until frosting is stiffer).




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