Time flies especially when you're blogging. I've said that before and will say it again.
Adora's Box is two years old today! I wish to thank all of you readers who regularly visit here. You have contributed to keeping this blog alive. I hope you'll keep on doing so, and as long as you do, I will be here to welcome you with the only way I know how...with food!
Reaching this milestone deserves a toast but I don't drink. Cook and bake is what I do and that makes people happy, even on ordinary days. To celebrate the blog's second year, I say cheers with something sweet: a caramel cake with caramel buttercream and sugared pecans for decoration. It is simple enough to make and tastes simply divine.
I am not an expert baker but I do enjoy making cakes. I think the key is to relax and enjoy the process. Searching for caramel cake recipes, I found that they were all different from each other and most cakes were just plain vanilla cakes. Although cakes are supposed to be sweet, I don't like cakes that are super sweet. I find that a lot of frostings have to have too much sugar to reach the desired consistency. I had an idea of the taste I wanted and the only solution was to experiment. The cakes I used here are just simple chiffon cakes with brown sugar and butter. The frosting is caramel custard whipped with butter and cream. All that sugar gave us all a buzz, just the perfect thing to cap a celebration...and a wonderful way to start a new blogging year. Cheers to all and I do look forward to creating more treats for you. Do stick around.
Ingredients for the cake:
1 c. + 2 tbsps. plain flour
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine salt
6 tbsps. brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
4 egg yolks
1/2 c. milk
4 egg whites
6 tbsps. sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F/180° C.
Grease and line three 9" cake tins.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix the butter and brown sugar together and stir until the sugar melts. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter and sugar mixture, the milk and the egg yolks. Blend until smooth.
In a clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and whisk until stiff but not dry.
Add a dollop of the whipped egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and mix to slacken the mixture. Add this to the whisked egg whites and fold gently until blended.
Divide equally between the prepared pans.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Ingredients for the caramel buttercream:
1 (397 gm.) tin of sweetened condensed milk
1 whole egg + 3 egg yolks
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. milk
200 gms. butter
1/2 c. cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Put the condensed milk, eggs and sugar in a pan. Mix the flour and milk together in a bowl and strain into the condensed milk mixture. Whisk together to blend.
On low heat, bring the mixture to a gentle boil while constantly stirring. Simmer until thick, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and put a disc of baking paper on the surface to prevent skin from forming. Leave to cool completely.
Whisk the butter until light and fluffy. Whisk in the cream until combined. Add the cooled caramel custard and whisk again.
Ingredients for the sugared pecans:
1 egg white
pinch of salt
1/2 c. of whole pecans
1/4 c. sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 250° F/ 130° C.
Lightly whisk the egg white with the salt until frothy. Add in the pecans and stir to coat. Strain off the egg whites. Dredge in the sugar and shake off the excess.
Arrange the coated pecans in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Leave to cool and use as decoration for the cake.
If you want extra pecans for snacking, you can add more nuts to the leftover egg white and dredge in extra sugar.
To assemble the cake:
To keep your serving plate clean, use four strips of baking paper to line the edges.
Set one cake layer in the middle of the paper lined plate. Put a heaping 1/2 c. measure of buttercream in the middle and spread evenly with a metal spatula. Top with another cake layer and repeat the process.
Finally cover the cake top and sides with a thin layer of buttercream (crumb coat) before using up all of the buttercream. I frosted the cake with simple sweeps of an inset spatula but you can decorate it as you want to.
Top with the sugared pecans. Carefully pull the paper strips off.
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