Caramel Cake
Cake

Caramel Cake

I use the word “favorite” too often. But this time I think I mean it. This cake is the cake I make for myself. I don’t share it. I don’t bring it to work. I don’t even let Bryan have a slice unless he begs or I am feeling particularly enamored with him. It is everything I could want in a sweet. A moist buttermilk cake with a healthy crumb topped with a creamy caramel glaze. The cake is just the right amount of sweet. I’ve made this so many times and each time I fall in love with it all over again.

Of course even as I type this I am thinking of other favorite cakes, which I will eventually get around to sharing— but this is the most important. Make it for yourself and don’t share it with anyone.

GREEN CITY MARKET REMINDER: If you’re in Chicago, don’t forget that the Green City Market is still up and running all winter long! Every other Saturday indoors at the Nature Museum. Lots of great vendors and plenty of chef demonstrations. Recent purchases include: yukon gold potatoes, pecans!, corn meal, goat cheese that looks like a rock!, honey infused with chili, and eggs, eggs, eggs! Get out there and support your farmers and food makers and make a political statement: we want organic local food all year! We care where our food comes from!

Caramel Cake (Gourmet, January 2008)

Cake:

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

Caramel Glaze:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line bottom with a square of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, flip cake so it is right-side up and then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make glaze:

Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until glaze registers 210 to 212°F on thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes, then stir in vanilla.

Put rack with cake in a shallow baking pan and pour hot glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down sides. Cool until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

*** Confession time: I don’t sift the flour first. Instead, I just sift 2 cups of cake flour and call it a day. Bad, I know. But I feel like the lack of sifting is made up for by the 2 tablespoons of flour I am omitting, right?

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