Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

Print Friendly and PDF
Our Daring Baker challenge for November is a recipe for Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting from Shuna Fish Lydon, an exceptional chef who is oh so lucky to be in London, my favorite city. Samuel Johnson said, "when one is tired of London, one is tired of life". A quite easily applied to this luxurious caramel cake slathered with a buttery caramel frosting, perfect for any occasion and never a tiring dessert. You can find Shuna's recipe, originally by Flo Braker here and a tutorial here.

Delores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity along with co-hosts, Alex from Blondie and Brownie and Jenny over at Foray into Food chose a great cake to serve for the Holidays and one that can be easily made ahead and assembled the day you will serve the cake. For those who bake gluten-free, Natalie of Gluten-a Go-Go was consulted for alternative ingredients.

To get that mellow caramel flavor.. a syrup made from sugar and water was cooked in a pan until a lovely brown color was attained. After the caramel syrup cooled, it was added to the cake ingredients. The cake came together easily as did the frosting. The frosting also contained the caramel syrup which further enhanced the caramel flavor. Instead of making the optional vanilla bean caramels, I decorated the cake with candied pecans. A definite keeper, I will make this cake again and again.


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 of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, 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
1 pound 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)

Happy Baking to everyone!


Isabelle said...

c'est superbe lynne :)

Shaheen @ Ambrosia said...

Hi Lynne. :)

I love how you've dressed up the cake with pecans. Delicious looking cake.

vibi said...

Beautifully accomplished challenge Lynne!
Your pictures are as always, soooooo amazing! Their details and clearness as well as your choice of accessories, kill me! BRAVISSIMO!

Engineer Baker said...

Candied pecans are wonderful on anything, but they definitely fancied this cake up. Very nice.

jillian said...

Just beautiful! I really like the addition of pecans, and I love your cakestand!!

Lorraine E said...

Mmmm I love the idea of decorating with candied pecans and that photo of them spilling out of the jar is perfect. The cake looks delicious!

Jude said...

Mm.. More sugar in the candied pecans. I'll be sure to have a slice to keep me moving through the busy holidays.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Adorable cake! Candied pecans sound lovely on this!

Anonymous said...

I love the addition of pecans. Your cake looks delicious. YUM!

Lynn said...

You know, I really like the idea of using candied pecans. I wasn't pleased with the cake at all, but, perhaps if I had put more effort into it, I could have liked it. Your cake is lovely. Great job!

Jessica said...

I also really like your cake stand! The pecans are a nice touch too, I used them also, but mine weren't candied. Yours look yummy!

TeaLady said...

Cute cake. Love the pecans. Yummy!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

A beautiful cake! I love that you used candied pecans to decorate.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Your cake looks so regal in its cake stand! Lovely.

MeetaK said...

divine lynne. looks great! i love the pecans!

Tammy said...

yum, those pecans look like a great addition!

Regina said...

The candied pecans are a great touch!

Dolores said...

I love the candied pecan accents. Thanks for baking with us this month.

Nina Timm said...

I do not know what to comment on first...the cake or the cake stand???I love them both!!!!

Claire said...

I think that your addition of the candied pecans is brilliant! SO GOOD! This looks wonderful.

Joie de vivre said...

What a nice presentation with the candied pecans. Looks great.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

This cake is simply sublime.

Gadget by The Blog Doctor.