I went into this month's DB challenge a little nervous (suprising?). We were basically making a white cake (with caramel).. something that has never turned out right for me! Either I'm looking for all the wrong things, I can't bake vanilla cakes or something is seriously wrong with every recipe I've tried. It annoys me insanely everytime I waste a perfectly gorgeous butter/sugar/egg emulsion. Luckily, this recipe was a little more forgiving and I was able to get away with even a not so pretty batter. That was such a relief considering the streak of caramel I had on the top of some cupcakes. Actually, it was more like a streak of caramel sugar crystals. Since I made the caramel sauce in advance, I had to microwave it to get it flowing again. The only problem is when the ever so slightly warm caramel hits the cool butter, you get melting butter and sugar crystals! Luckily, it all came together after the eggs were added, even though there were streaks of crystalized caramel.
Now for the tricky part, alternating dry and wet. If there's anything that's emphasized in virtually all recipes it is 'don't overmix'. To me, that translates into don't mix at all, or something close to that. To give you an idea of what I do, I add the flour at stir and stop the machine immediately so I can start pouring the milk, then I start the machine to add the next batch of flour and stop the machine to dump the rest of the milk followed by the rest of the flour. As I'm typing this out, I'm starting to realize how silly it sounds.. between the 10 seconds the machine is actually stiring, no wonder why I have patches of flour in some areas and puddles of liquid in others. Yet, I still get the feeling that if I let the machine run, I'm overmixing!
As for the frosting, as soon as I saw powdered sugar, it was already a warning for me. It's hard enough for me to eat frosting, but when there's powdered sugar involved, that's a signal for pasty, grainy or it may be a stretch to say this, but uncooked flour. How can I explain this better.. you know the taste and feel of a sauce or pie with added flour that isn't cooked through, well the raw flour taste is what I'm talking about. I wish there was a way to cook the cornstarch in powdered sugar, maybe then it will be less pasty.. but who knows I could be totally wrong with that theory I have! I started off slowly and gradually added the sugar starting with 1 cup and stopping when I got to 1.5 cups (how could this possibly take 4 cups of sugar!). There was no way I could handle any more sweetness, but the frosting was so liquidy, I was left with an icing. I decided to make a half batch of SMBC to frost the cupcakes I was serving to people and use this icing for the challenge. I ended up combining the two frostings and made a powdered-SMBC frosting duo. It was nowhere near as melt in your mouth as SMBC, but it covered up the pastiness of the icing. Everyone seemed to love the frosting, but I was really happy about the cake. It was really moist even the next day and suprisingly soft considering that all purpose flour was used. I can't wait for next month's challege.. I hope it's something sweet!
Thanks to Dolores of Chronicals in Culinary Curosity and her co hosts Alex of Blondie and Brownie and Jenny of Foray into Food for this month's SWEET DB challenge!
Here's a link to the original recipe Caramel Cake by Shuna Fish Lydon