Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: Caramel, again

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This month, you'll encounter caramel cakes all over the blogosphere. All the daring bakers are taking on a recipe from Shuna Fish Lydon, for her signature caramel cake. Hosts this month is Dolores from Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, Alex from Blondie and Brownie, and Jenny from Foray into Food.

I opted for cupcakes, and baked half a batch since I realized a full batch would mean 24 cupcakes and what on earth would I do with those? I live with a caramel-hater, and Swedes in general are wary of overly sweet baked goods so I knew I'd have a pretty hard time getting someone to eat these. That's why I also made a tiny amount of frosting, which was still hysterically sweet and everyone but me scraped it right off.

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Baking was straightforward. I did follow the instructions for mixing etc, but really didn't find that the dry-wet-dry method improved anything - I had to fold quite a bit at the end to get a uniform batter. The cupcakes rose nicely and turned out quite nice - but I really don't think they tasted like much. Just regular basic cupcakes, I suppose - on the dense side. I baked them for about 18-20 minutes in total.

caramelmuffins-3

What I *did* like about this was the caramel syrup. I cooked it a day ahead and let it sit in the fridge to firm up to golden, thick deliciousness. It was really, really good and I look forward to making another batch of that to drizzle onto desserts, stirring into coffee, and probably many other things. That was truly lovely, and really easy to make - it took me about fifteen minutes in total. And I never, ever do the "brush with wet pastry brush to get rid of sugar crustals" - I just push the sugar crystals down toward the end, and they melt perfectly well. Daring, that's me!

So, the caramel syrup recipe, I'll re-post that right here, with metric measurements. I did half a batch, but will probably make the full batch next time.

caramelmuffins-2

Caramel syrup
500 ml sugar
125 ml water
250 ml water for stopping the syrup

Mix sugar and water in a small but heavy saucepan with fairly high sides - I used my beloved Demeyere Sauteuse. Turn the heat up to high, and cook until this bubbles into a nice, dark, caramel color. Now, stand back as well as you can and pour the 250 ml of water into the pan to stop the caramelization. This WILL sputter, and be careful not to get hit with the very, very, very hot caramel.

After it calms down, cook for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring all the time, to reduce it slightly. It should feel sticky when you touch it between two fingers - try touching the back of the spoon, carefully.

pink_db

You can find the recipe here, the blogroll here, and the discussion forums - open to everyone! - here.

29 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Such pretty cupcakes! Very well done, again!

Cheers,

Rosa

Dolores said...

Beautiful cupcakes Anne. Thanks for baking with us. I'm glad you've found alternate uses for the caramel sauce.

Marjoke said...

The cupcakes look delicious and I'll surely make the caramel sauce this weekend. It must be nice on baked apples or icecream.

Marija said...

Wonderfully colored frosting! Mine was too pale.

david santos said...

I love your creations!!!
Good food! Have a nice weekend!

BC said...

You're right, the caramel syrup was one of the best parts of this recipe.

I made a whole batch but ended up with only 18 cupcakes. Methinks I overfilled the cups.

Pam said...

Cupcakes...great idea!! I think I would have been better off making cupcakes instead of a layered cake. Your frosting looks lovely; mine was tasty but rather pale.

Tartelette said...

Love the little cupcakes..so easy to eat!!
Lil' secret: I never brush down the sides with a brush either :)

Valeria said...

Isn't there another way to stop caramelization? Can't you just, like... take it out and stir? T_T I'm always terrified of pouring water into hot saucepans...(I always let them cool after I've cooked and then I have to scrub like mad XD)

Anne said...

Valeria, it would probably keep on cooking for quite a while.. and the extra water is needed for the right texture, too. It's not *that* dangerous though, wear long sleeves and oven mitts and you'll be very safe :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Wonderful looking cupcakes. TOo funny how other cultures do not prefer their sweets too sweet. Great job!

Christy said...

Those look absolutely mouth watering! Love the colour.

Bumblebutton said...

Loved the caramel syrup in my coffee! Sorry you didn't love the cake--very pretty, anyway!

Jude said...

Sign of perfectly made cupcakes right there... It's all about the nice little mounds after baking :)

dolcigine said...

Yummy ... your these are really cute cupcakes :-)!!!

Astrid said...

Might it be okay to make a request for miss Anne and her marvelous cooking? :) There are some things that I find myself always on the look-out for;

- The best frosting E.V.E.R (not to sweet, but tasty, and looking excellent - with the frosting 'crunching'/breaking when you eat it)

- The best chocolate cake ever, and by that meaning an 'ordinary' chocolate cake, not those chocolate fudge, brownie or such. A cake for the childrens birthday-party type.

- And at last; A really good cupcake reciept (looking much as on your pictures in this post, but maybe not that sweet as you said these were).

----

To much, you say? :) Just had to ask... You are my cooking orakle, and I love your blog, so then.

I might be reached at astridvalen @ mail2her . com if you prefer that.

Thanx for your time and have a great weekend!!! :)

Klem

Diana said...

You cupcakes look lovely. I too love the syrup and have been using it for different warm drinks, it's amazing.

Angela said...

I'm really sorry that you weren't impressed with the taste of the cupcakes. Such a shame to bake and then be disappointed. But yay for liking the caramel syrup!

(I didn't even think about using it in other things. I just washed away the remains of mine. I won't win any prizes for frugality, I'm afraid!)

Amy said...

Very nice cupcakes - they look scrumptious!

TeaLady said...

Pretty cupcakes. Yes, it was 'hysterically' sweet. And an ordinary cake, but together, not bad. Great job on the cuppies.

Leslie said...

Beautiful cupcakes with the perfect amount of frosting!!!

Lauren said...

Ooo, your cupcakes look amazing, and the frosting looks to die for!

Katie said...

Cupcakes were a great idea. I didn't get round to baking this time but I have heard others say they were very sweet. Glad the syrup turned out well though.

Dagmar - A Cat in the Kitchen said...

Lovely photos!!!

glamah16 said...

Glad you liked the carame l sauce. This one was little on the sweet side. Great idea to make cupcakes.

MeetaK said...

i loved the syrup too - i had plenty left over and made caramel ice cream

Megan said...

I agree, the caramel sauce was the best!

Claire said...

HA! I find it hilarious that people scraped off the icing...that's what I found MISSING on my cake by the end of the day! Great job on your cupcakes.

Jeanne said...

Those look great - clever idea to make a batch uf cupcakes instead of a cake!