Caramel Whisper

For John's birthday extravaganza, I decided to make his cake. I almost always plan on making everyone's cake and then there are kids everywhere and I get overwhelmed and then buy a cake.

But this year, I saw a chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting, and, well, it's over.

I had a list of everything I needed to make the Ina Garten style chocolate cake, but then decided to make a cake from a box.  I ended up with a fancy cake mix that came with a separate packet of ingredients to swirl into the batter. Whatever, cake mix.  I sort of adapted that cake mix into the Ina one by simply substituting brewed coffee for some of the water. I'm hoping it'll add a bit of depth to the chocolate flavor. We'll see. The cake is currently within my reach, but not within my mouth until John gets home.

Did I mention I made 3 eight inch cake layers? No? Well, so, I did. I just divided the batter into three bowls and then baked two, washed a pan, baked the third. I really wanted to use the 6" cake rounds, but I didn't want to have to buy the pans. I liked the way 3 thin layers worked better anyway. So there.

Then I started making the salted caramel. It was waaaaay easier than I thought it would be even if the recipe was written by someone who made it all the time. "Amber color" can mean many things. My first batch had a distinct burnt sugar flavor, which works, but it came from waiting until the sugar was amber. I would say wait until the sugar starts to color a little bit, a light amber, then take it off the heat. In my mind it needed to be as amber in color as that dude's walking stick in Jurassic Park.  And I remembered it being a rich, brownie-yellowish color. And then I remembered the door handle slowly moving up and down. Clever girl.
This is the light amber color:
It also told me to be careful when adding the cream to the hot sugar mixture because it will bubble up. Ah. I prepared for that with a terrific pot. But the steam that shot up as I tried to stir, I was not prepared for. So, yeah, hot, bubbling steam tries to attack you like that goo in Ghostbusters 2 as soon as you add the cream to the blazing hot sugar. And no amount of Jackie Wilson is gonna stop it.

After all that you kind of stir and stir until it cools. Then you put it in a jar and give some to Deborah.
The icing was kind of magic. It started like any other frosting and then WHAM! caramel. So delicious. I'm trying to think of something better than caramel and cream cheese together and I just can't.
Speaking of waking up before you go-go, the coffee really came through in the final cake.  Hartwell took a bite and exclaimed, "Coffee cake?!" I asked him how much coffee he's been drinking and he said, "Two. But on the weekend."

The cake was delicious and we still have a bit of the caramel left for ice cream next week. It worked out perfectly because John didn't get a cake at work today. So the cake overload will be tomorrow. Morning, probably.


Deborah Graff said...

I wish I could eat that entire cake.

The jar of caramel is magic. I have it hidden in the back of the fridge and I refuse to share.

So far I have dipped:

nilla wafers
spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream

I think I know what I want you to make everyone for Christmas...or just me.

Munkeymind said...

Clever Girl!!!