117: Caramel Cake
When I was browsing cake recipes a few weeks back, I came across a recipe for Caramel Cake that sounded both fantastic and simple. It was an 8×8 inch yellow cake made with buttermilk, topped with a simple homemade caramel sauce. I was going to make it about a week before I did, but I had to wait until I got a new candy thermometer since I discovered that mine was broken.
The cake was incredibly simple to make. It called for buttermilk, but I substituted sour milk using vinegar and milk. Unfortunately, my glass 8×8 inch cake pan made the cake take longer to bake than it should have.
After the cake cooled, I made the caramel to go on top. This caramel was easy to make. You heat a cup of cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar, a tablespoon corn syrup, and a dash of salt over medium heat until everything dissolves. You boil it until it reaches 212F on the candy thermometer, and then you add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. The recipe says that this should take 12-14 minutes, but this only took about half as long (at most) on my stove. I wonder if this is because I have a gas range (more direct heat); if my candy thermometer was off (I didn’t test it prior to using it); or if my slightly-larger pan made it cook that much faster (my pan was probably 2 quarts vs. 1.5).
In any case, I don’t think the shorter cooking time hurt it. You spoon the caramel sauce over the cake, and I asked my friend Karen (who was going to taste-test it with me) to keep spooning the runny sauce back over the cake so the cake didn’t just sit in a caramel moat. (Thank you Karen!!!)
This picture doesn’t do the cake justice – it was AMAZING. The cake was moist and tender, and the caramel was delicate and delicious. This was very sweet – after all, it is caramel on top – but I found that a few bites was exactly what I needed.
Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s the perfect amount for two people to get through in a few days, unlike larger cakes that make more servings. This was also incredibly easy to make, even the caramel. My caramel may have been underdone, but that didn’t hurt the cake at all. You could probably make this without a candy thermometer as well, since the caramel is just a topping (and doesn’t need to be firm like caramel candies).
I loved this cake, and will definitely make it again.