Saturday, November 29, 2008
Daring Bakers: Caramel, again
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can find the recipe here, the blogroll here, and the discussion forums - open to everyone! - here.