Bake Along #74 – Best Caramel Cake Ever

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Caramel is the first best flavour of my choice. Not even chocolate. It is so divine that it is very very difficult to let go of it. And I presume it is the same with so many of you out there. When I decided to make caramel cake, and I started doing research on the best caramel cake ever. All I happen to stumble upon is a rich vanilla cake base that is adorned with quite a few different sorts of caramel versions. The vision what I had in my mind was to give everything in caramel, the cake, filling and frosting but in different forms of caramel flavour and so the whole thing when it comes together it will be super awesome.

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But at the end of my research I had to change my mind. If at all, the caramel flavour has to pop out, it should go on a vanilla cake base. I gave it a thought before letting go of my presumptions. It took a while for me to understand the fact. Why not all the three caramel. How can it be not a caramel cake when you call it a caramel cake. Is it fair to make a vanilla cake and dress it up with caramel and call it caramel cake. And finally I decided to go ahead with my instincts. And they have never let me down. And there is another proof of it.

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That delicious, sinful and finger licking caramel sauce when it combines with the neutral vanilla sponge, it soaks up to half the layer of the sponge and blends into the vanilla bringing out the extremely decadent caramel flavour. And how would it be, if the whole thing is going to be covered with caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream. There would not be words to describe. People going to eat it, will take a two way trip to heaven but the return trip is going to be delayed. I bet!!

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The vanilla cake is a rich butter cake, but the moistness is increased by the addition of oil. Extra yolks makes it richer. It is very sturdy enough to torte it comfortably yet it is rich and moist to soak up the sauce. I decided to match it up with a meringue buttercream. Here IMBC is one of my to go buttercreams, so there is no choice here. I chose to use the same caramel sauce to make the caramel IMBC and that proved to be one of the deadliest combinations I have made in the recent past.

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Undoubtedly the best cake I have made till date and that will sweep clean your plates. I have a disclaimer here, but want to add it upfront, to save you from lot of hazzles. Do not attempt to lick the caramel sauce you make, during the process of setting up the cake. Warning that you will not have enough left to finish up with your cake 😀 😀 . Jokes apart. This is on such a serious note !!

Ingredients:

Vanilla Cake –

Recipe inspired from – grandbaby-cakes

  • Unsalted butter – 250 gms
  • Cooking oil – 1/3 cups
  • Granulated white sugar – 2 1/2 cups
  • Eggs – 6
  • Egg yolks – 2
  • Pure vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • Cake flour – 3 cups
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sour cream – 1 cup

Caramel sauce –

Recipe inspired from  – Americanheritagecooking

  • Granulated white sugar – 2 cups
  • Unsalted butter – 200 gms
  • Fresh cream – 1 cup
  • Salt – 1 tablespoon

Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream –

  • Granulated white sugar – 1 3/4 cups
  • Water  – 2/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons
  • Egg whites – 5 Large
  • Cream of tartar – a pinch
  • Butter – 2 cups
  • Caramel sauce – 1 cup

Method:

Cake –

1. Pre-heat oven to 160 degree C. Grease two 8 inch round cake pans with butter, and flour the same. Tap out excess flour. Sift together, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside

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2. Add the butter into the bowl of your electric beater. Beat until the butter has softened up. Takes about a minute on medium speed.

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3. Add oil and sugar into the butter. Start beating on medium speed.

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4. Beat butter, sugar and oil on medium high speed for about 5 to 7 minutes until the mixture becomes creamy, fluffy and pale.

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5. Add the eggs and yolks one by one, beating well on medium speed for about a minute, after the addition of each egg. Scrap down the sides of the bowl.

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6. Add vanilla extract and beat again on medium speed until vanilla is fully combined.

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That’s vanilla obsession. Go close and look at the vanilla seeds.. :)

7. Add 1/3rd of the flour mixture and beat on slow speed just until the flour is combined. Do not over mix.

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8. Add half of the sour cream and beat on slow speed just until the liquid is combined. Do not over beat. Now add the second part of the flour mixture and beat just until combined, continuing with the remaining sour cream and then with the final portion of the flour, beating after each addition, just until combined. Do not over mix.

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9. Divide the batter between the 2 pans. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the cake turns golden brown on top, a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

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10. Let cool on wire rack until it gets to room temperature. Cling wrap it twice and freeze the cakes.

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Caramel Sauce –

1. In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, add the sugar. Bring it on fire on medium flame. Keep swirling up the pan until the sugar starts melting. Do not use a laddle or spatula to keep mixing. Just use swirling up motion on the pan. If the base caramelizes quickly, remove the pan from fire, use a wooden spatula to mix up and scrape the bottom of the pan and put it back on fire. Do not be tempted to keep stirring this step all the time. It will crystallize the sugar.

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2. Keep the flame in medium and wait until the sugar dissolves completely, while caramelization also happens simultaneously .

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3. Once the sugar has melted, you could wait for few seconds until the colour changes to amber. Here you can choose to stop at a lighter shade of caramel or until it goes up to 2 shades darker. The darker the caramel, the better the flavour. But you should also be careful that you do not smoke it up. So at this stage you have to carefully watch and decide when to stop the caramelization process by adding the butter as in the next step.

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4. Remove the pan from the stove and add the butter. Keep stirring with a wooden spatula until the butter completely blends with the sauce. It will whiz up, so you keep yourself a little far away from the pan.

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5. It might seem impossible for the butter to get combined with the caramel, but keep stirring and the both will come together.

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6. Add the salt and cream and mix well again.

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7. Bring back the sauce on fire on medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce boils and thickens up a bit. Switch off flame. Cool sauce in room temperature and transfer to an airtight container and you can store it in refrigerator for about couple of weeks. Before using on your cake, you need to thaw the sauce or microwave it in 5 seconds interval.

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Caramel Italian Meringue Buttercream –

1. Add sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and put it in fire. Let the sugar completely melt in the water.

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2. While the sugar syrup is about to boil, add the egg whites into the bowl of your electric beater. Make sure the bowl is clean and dry without any grease.

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3. Let the sugar syrup come to a rolling boil.

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4. Start whipping the egg whites when the sugar syrup starts boiling. Beat on medium high speed to break up the egg whites and let it froth up. Bring back speed to medium and keep beating to stiff peaks, while the sugar syrup gets ready.

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5. Sugar syrup should be checked with candy thermometer until it reaches 248 degree F to 250 degree F. You can do this without the thermometer also, but a thermometer saves a lot of anxiety. To test without a thermometer, once sugar syrup starts boiling, check for the bubbles to become bigger. Now keep adding drops of the syrup into another bowl of cold water. If the sugar syrup dissolves in the cold water you should continue to boil the syrup. If you are able to pick up the dropped sugar syrup from the cold water and roll it between your fingers to form a ball, then your consistency is achieved. Switch off the stove.

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6. That is how stiff your egg whites will be at the end of beating till the sugar syrup reaches soft ball stage.

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7. Continue whipping the egg whites while you simultaneously pour the very hot sugar syrup into the bowl. Finish adding the sugar syrup completely while you still keep beating.

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8. Continue to beat on high speed, until the meringue comes down to room temperature completely. It might take about 5 to 10 minutes .

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9. Now add the butter, little by little while you keep beating. Finish adding all the butter and beat for about couple of minutes until the buttercream is fluffy and stiff.

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10. Add the caramel sauce and beat on medium speed until everything combines together. I am die hard fan of caramel so 1 cup of sauce was just right enough for me. You can adjust the amount of the caramel sauce depending on your taste.

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11. There it is… Oh so heavenly!! 🙂

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Assembly –

1. Remove the cakes from the freezer. Torte each layer into 2.

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2. Add about 1/4 cup of caramel sauce onto the first layer of the cake.

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3. Smooth it out using an offset spatula to cover up the entire surface of the cake layer.

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4. Place the next layer on top and add about 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce. You can add more depending on your taste requirements.

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5. Keep adding the layers filling them with the caramel sauce. Deadly!! Isn’t it ?

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6. Start covering up the sides of the cake with the caramel IMBC. Try to smooth out or lets just indulge. We call it rustic.

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7. And I got so obsessed and added another layer of sauce over the top layer as well. And then few dollops of IMBC on top and smooth out.

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Obsession continued. Couldn’t let go of the caramel sauce. Used up some more on the outer sides of the IMBC, just trying to give more rustic finish while also adding up to the caramel flavour. More caramel I say, some more caramel 🙂 😛

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You have no idea what you will be when you really finish making this heavenly treat. Brilliant stuff that you can never let go off. It is just so finger licking good !!

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2 thoughts on “Bake Along #74 – Best Caramel Cake Ever

  1. Pallavi

    Firstly, that’s a gorgeous looking cake. I’m a die hard fan of Caramel..its heaven in a cup..seriously addicted to Caramel.

    I hv a few queries before I try out this cake as I’m a new member here.
    1. Which oil do u use when u say cooking oil?
    2. How do we make cake flour at home?
    3. What can we use if we don’t have cream of tartar?

    Reply

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