We were invited to a friends place for dinner over the weekend and I wanted to take something sweet for the couple, who had just completed a month of wedded bliss (bliss now..lets see for how long that is eh?). So after contemplating on a lot of options, going over and over about it with Ro and finally being shooed away saying, 'make anything and it will be fine,' I finally decided to make a Caramel cake. Now that was a task, because i don't have any patience and so was a bit skeptical about making the caramel syrup which i have managed to screw up lots of other times. Saw a bottle in Waitrose, but decided against it. Over confident, yes my exact thoughts!
And of course i had to frost it, that too cream cheese and nothing less. The last time i tried a cream cheese icing recipe, it all went for a toss with the consistency wrong and the taste nothing close to what it was supposed to be like. This time however, i was adamant I wouldn't screw up and to my surprise I didn't :)
The cake was incredibly moist and I was completely floored by how awesome the frosting tasted.
For the Caramel syrup:
Granulated Sugar- 1/2 cup
Water- 1/2 cup (really hot water)
For the cakes:
Powdered sugar- 1/2 cup
Plain flour- 1 cup
Soda powder- 1 tsp
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Condensed milk- 1/4 cup
Butter - 100 gms (at room temperature)
Eggs- 5 medium
Making the syrup:
In a heavy bottomed pan, on medium heat, caramelize the sugar. Once the sugar starts melting, it will change to a golden brown colour. Keep it on further till you attain a dark brown colour and it begins to lightly boil. At this point, pour the boiling water and stir for a further 2 more minutes to make sure all the caramel is melted and you get a smooth syrup.
Take its off the flame and keep aside to cool. You would have about 3/4 cup of caramel syrup.
Sieve together the plain flour, soda powder and baking powder. Keep aside.
Cream together the butter and powdered sugar till light and fluffy. You can do this by hand or using a mixer. I managed to do a decent job using a wire whisk.
Add the condensed milk to this and mix well to get a slightly stiffer consistency.
In a freestanding mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs till thick and double in amount.
Add half of the beaten eggs to the butter- sugar- condensed milk mix and combine well.
In goes the flour mix. Combine till nice and smooth.
Add the rest of the egg mix and fold in, without deflating it too much.
Add the cooled caramel syrup bit by bit and mix till its combined evenly.
Pour the batter into two greased sandwich tins and bake in a preheated oven (175C) for 30 to 40 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
Cream cheese frosting:
Philadelphia cream cheese- 1 tub (200gms)
Butter- 100 gms (at room temperature)
Powdered sugar- 600gms
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
In a free standing mixer with a paddle attachment cream the cheese and butter till smooth. Add the powdered sugar bit by bit till they are all blended well.
Keep the mixer on medium high and blend for a further 5 more minutes till light and fluffy
Place one cake on a cake stand or plate and generously spread some frosting on top.
Place the second cake on top and do the same. Dab some on the sides too if you want, but the sandwich cake didn't require me to do so.
Add some sprinkles if you like and you are good to go.
Notes: You can bake the entire cake and then slice it in half and do the filling also, in which case it wont really be a sandwich cake.
The caramel stage is very crucial. Keep an eye on it and be careful not to burn it. Take it from someone who's made that mistake:)
You can add some caramel sauce to the frosting instead of vanilla for that extra zing.
I refrigerated the cake for a while so the frosting was in tact. I suggest you do this if its particularly hot weather.
Verdict: My friends called up the next day to say the cake tasted really yum. I'm just gonna ahve to take their word for it and consider it a keeper :)