Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Caramel Cake

Ok, I know I have been an absolutely shit blogger this week month year. And I really promised myself that I would really really try to be better, cook/bake more, post frequently, stick to new year resolutions (although you could just take a look at my gym membership activity and know that I've already failed that one). But life just doesn't let me. To be honest, I'm not even sure anyone's out there reading anymore.. Hello? Hellllooooooooooooooo...?

I hope this makes up for my absence and brings everyone back. It's caramel cake! As in, caramel with cake! A moist and fluffy sponge cake, which will make your kitchen smell amazing by the way, covered in delicious caramel that you will keep digging your spoon into to 'taste' even after the third spoonful when your brain is telling you to stop because it's quite sweet on its own and don't you remember what the ingredients were? Just because you've neglected the gym doesn't mean you should eat caramel by the spoonful!

The cake is quick and easy to make, which is always a bonus. The only kind of problems I had with the cake were:

1. My cake sunk in the middle and that was probably my fault because I was taking it with me as part of a house warming gift to friends and I was running late (as usual) and probably didn't let the cake cook through all the way to the middle. But the rest of the cake was cooked perfectly and hadn't sunk, so I cut the cake up in squares rather than taking a whole cake because who likes an ugly cake?!

2. Now this isn't the cakes fault, nor is it mine, but to make the caramel glaze you need a thermometer to get the caramel at the right consistency (not too thick, not too thin) and for some reason when it came to making the caramel (after the caramel was already starting to boil) I realised that my thermometer wasn't working - so I had to play it by ear and use my instincts. The glaze might have been a bit thin - but there were no complaints and it coated the cake nicely and after tasting it many times I concluded it was delicious, so at the end of the day that's all that matters, right?

Your nose and your taste buds will thank me for this.. your thighs might not, but new years resolutions were made two weeks ago, surely noone's still sticking to them?!

Caramel Cake

Adapted from Gourmet via Epicurious

The Cake
35 grams cornflour
270 grams plain flour (I used a mixture of cornflour and plain flour to try and make cake flour - which is sold in America and not here in the UK, but I think using plain flour will probably be fine)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
115 grams unsalted butter, softened
225 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2  eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
250 ml well-shaken buttermilk

The Caramel Glaze
250 ml double cream
90 grams light brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract

Equipment: a candy thermometer

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line with a square of baking pa per, then butter the baking paper (I just greased the pan without adding the baking paper and my cake was fine!). 

In a medium sized bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar 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, avoid over mixing.

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

To make the glaze, bring cream, brown sugar, syrup, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 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.

You can make the cake up to 1 day ahead (before glazing) and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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