Pour yourself a beverage because this is going to be a lengthy post. I have to tell you how this Caramel Cake came about, so please indulge me. If ever there was a cake recipe that should have failed it was this one. Luckily, it did not. This was dessert for our Soul Food Sunday dinner along with homemade vanilla bean ice-cream. Common sense should have dictated that given the enormous amount of savory food we were consuming one dessert should have been enough. This isn’t the first time common sense and I have gone our separate ways.
A couple years back I found the perfect Classic Yellow Cake recipe by Sylvia Weinstock. With all the planning I had done for this dinner you’d think I would have checked all the recipes to make sure I had all the ingredients. Right before I got busy in the kitchen I had to run to the store to get corn syrup for the caramel, I checked the recipe. However, I didn’t check the cake recipe; I just figured I had everything. Remember what I said about that common sense thing?
As I’m reading the recipe (finally) I realize that I only have 4 ounces of sour cream and I need eight. Another trip to the store wasn’t happening at this point so I start searching for sour cream substitutes. Yogurt seems to be the numerous undo substitution, and I didn’t have that either. Expletive, expletive, expletive!! So now I start searching for another yellow cake recipe that is close to Sylvia’s. The biggest difference in her recipe is that she beats the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then folds them in after all the other ingredients have been added. And there was still that sour cream thing.
At this point I’m getting cranky and frustrated and just want to bake already. I land on a Martha recipe for yellow cake and decide that I’m going to do a Martha/Sylvia mash-up.
The recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart and I used the 4 oz of sour cream I had on hand and added to it 6 oz of sour milk. With fingers crossed I should add. I used Sylvia’s method of adding the beaten egg whites at the end. The cake came out amazing and I was ready to declare it Happy Dance Day for everyone. That was until I made the caramel frosting.
Once again, I used the Martha Stewart recipe for caramel. I’ve made it several times and with great success. I even had all the ingredients. It is a long drawn out process but worth it. After the caramel has reached the perfect temperature you set it aside for 15 minutes and then add the butter and beat it until the desired consistency. Guess who decided to go upstairs and get caught up in a Julia Robert’s movie marathon and forget about the recipe. Oh don’t get me wrong, I went downstairs before I went to bed to turn out the lights in the kitchen and take a peak at the caramel. That 15 minute rest period was the furthest thing from my mind, obviously.
The next morning I went down to start the ice-cream and frost the cake and was met with a bowl of crystallized caramel. Expletive, expletive, expletive! I tried warming it in the microwave, it didn’t work. I tried adding butter and warming it some more, it didn’t work. I had half melted crystallized caramel. The last thing I wanted to do was start all over again. Back to the internet I went. I found a forum for people who like me hadn’t paid attention to what they were doing when making caramel, and I found the solution.
I scraped the caramel back into the pot and added a ¼ cup of water. Put the lid on the pot and turned the heat to medium. 20 minutes later I had silky smooth caramel. THIS, time I stayed put and waited out the 15 minutes. Then I added the butter and whipped the caramel into something so luscious I think Martha would have been jealous. I ate the first and the last piece of cake and it was good to the last drop.
Thankfully the ice-cream went off without a hitch. The other cool thing about the ice cream (no pun intended) was that Gabbi loved it. There’s a tiny bit left and I’m sure she’ll polish it off when she comes home from school today. Thanks for hanging in here with me the links for the original yellow cake, caramel frosting and ice cream are at the end of the post.