Ooey gooey cake is perfect antidote for rainy day – and next week’s Easter brunch

by Rachel Candelaria on March 31, 2012

Caramel cake photographed by Rachel Candeleria

Editor’s note: After a spring Friday that personified “shirtsleeve weather”, today’s forecast is for a significant drop in temperature and unfolded umbrellas — just perfect for staying home and baking a luscious cake perfected by Rachel Candeleria. Who knows, it may be just what you need for Easter brunch next week.

I’ve been working on whittling down my collection of cake recipes. Feeling uninspired, I was just about to throw in my oven mitts when a friend and co-worker lent me the latest issues of Saveur magazine, the cover of which was adorned by a picture of a beautiful cake and several cake recipes inside that I could not wait to try.

I started off with the recipe for a caramel cake and fell in love. The caramel frosting does take about 45 minutes to prepare but it is ooey, gooey  and delicious. The cake itself is a little more coarse than other white cake recipes I’ve tried, but it is a perfect pairing with the frosting.

I adapted the recipe slightly, but I would highly recommend picking up a copy of the magazine so you may try the other cake recipes also featured. The magazine says the cake serves 10-12 but two friends and I managed to eat half the cake in one sitting.

Caramel Cake
Adapted from Saveur Magazine, Issue #145
For the Cake
– 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
– 3 cups cake flour, sifted
– 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon fine salt
– 1 cup whole milk
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
– 4 large eggs, room temperature
For the Frosting
– 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
– 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
– 30 oz. (2 1/2 cans) evaporated milk
– 1 large egg, room temperature
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
Make the Cake
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 8” cake pans; set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix the milk and vanilla extract and set aside.
4. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
 5. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and alternatively add dry ingredients in 3 batches and wet ingredients in 2 batches. Increase speed to high and beat until batter is smooth, about 10 seconds.
 6. Divide the batter among prepared pans, smooth top with offset spatula, and drop the pan onto your counter top to burst any large air bubbles.
 7. Bake cakes about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. I recommend rotating the pans halfway through.
 8. Let cakes cool for about 15 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting
1.  Whisk together 3 cups sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and egg in 6-quart saucepan or Dutch oven; set aside.
2. Heat remaining sugar in a small skillet over high heat, swirling often, until sugar melts and turns an amber color. Immediately pour caramel into milk mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan and cook, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, until thermometer reached 232 degrees, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and baking soda; let sit 1 minute.
3. Using a handheld mixer, beat caramel mixture on medium-low speed until the consistency of loose pudding, about 1 minute. Immediately place one cake on a cake stand and pour over 1/2 cup caramel icing; top with second layer and pour over 1/2 cup icing. Top with third cake layer and pour remaining icing around the top edge of cake and then over the center. Quickly spread icing over sides of cake; let icing cool completely before serving. Store at room temperature for up to three days.

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