She who dares bakes...Caramel Cake

This month's challenge is caramel cake with caramel icing and, uh, caramel toffees to boot. Yes, after two savoury challenges, this month the daring bakers have decided to go big on the sugar. Hello Diabetes, welcome to my world.

The tip of the sugar mountain:

I decided to make cupcakes rather than one large cake, not just because they look cuter, but because I was going to serve the cake for Mr AB's birthday and I wanted to be able to eat some of it before I did. Unfortunately, no amount of candles will cover up a big chunk of missing cake. Believe me, I'm talking from experience.

The caramel flavour in the cake comes from the sticky syrup which is incorporated into the batter before baking. Unfortunately I don't think I allowed the syrup to develop sufficient depth before removing it from the heat. I blame this on the fact that I am fundamentally risk-adverse so when the liquid started to approach the edge of the saucepan I chose to turn off the heat rather than risk a caramel-encrusted cooker top and third degree burns. As it was, the sponge had a delicate toffee hint rather than the full-on caramel hit I was looking for.

The icing, however, was delicious. Making up for my nerves with the syrup, I took more of a chance with the butter and I was rewarded with a beautiful smoky flavour. Unfortunately my sieve wasn't equally rewarded:

I find some American frosting recipes to be a little too sweet and cloying but this one proved to be the exception. The burnt edge of the butter, together with the hint of the caramel made it very moreish.
And now the caramels. These really are an optional extra as the cake and icing are perfect on their own but if you fancy a bit of fun with a sugar thermometer then give them a go.

I pummelled mine with a rolling pin and added the toffee chunks to the the batter where they melted into little pockets of toffee goodness. Delicious. I also added then for a little crunch on top of the icing: My favourite toffee-tastic use was to pour the caramel over slices of apples. The toffee doesn't set as well but the soft caramel with the crunch of the apple is perfect. Yum.

Very Autumnal. I was a little wary of letting the cakes touch the leaves (there are a lot of dogs in the park) but I like the cake in the leafy jungle look.

The recipe is courtesy of Shauna Fish Lydon’s blog and this month's challenge is hosted by Dolores, Alex and Jenny. Thanks guys - delicious!


Sara said...

Is that a hole in your strainer?? Whoops. Your pictures are gorgeous and you had some really creative ideas! I love the last picture with the caramel apple.

Dolores said...

I hope your husband enjoyed his birthday celebration. Your cupcakes turned out beautifully, though I'm sorry for the kitchen casualty. Thanks for baking with us!

Antonia said...

Just beautiful! I love your cupcakes and adore anything with a caramel flavour. Yum.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

Doh, sorry about the strainer--makes a great photo though, lol! Those cupcakes sound spectacular and I love the toffee bits (and apple!) as garnish. It sounds really tasty

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely cupcakes. You are not the only one to sacrifice your strainer, I have seen a few of those on these posts!

Claire said...

Oooo...yum! That cupcake looks SOOOO good! I was worried about straining the butter because of that very problem but all turned out fine for me! What a great job you did.

glamah16 said...

You know you are the second person I know that happened to with the sieve!Very nice use of the caramels. I see you are getting great use of the KA.

Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

Wow :-D these photos are amazing ..I 'd really love to have one of those delicious cupcakes! great
a kiss