Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Icing - Daring Bakers November


No one likes sweets more than me, but even I have to draw the line somewhere. That line is firmly in place directly before powdered sugar-based frosting. To call it "buttercream" is nearly an insult to the real thing, a silken celebration of cooked sugar, eggs, and butter. Frosting stiffened with powdered sugar is always gritty and over-the-top sweet, so when this month's Daring Bakers challenge, Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting came down from host Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater, I expected disappointment.

The recipes were very easy to follow. I infused my caramel syrup with a tangerine, a flavor that was lost in the final product. The cake and frosting as a whole, which both incorporate the caramel syrup, were just too sweet to allow the subtle fruit flavor to come through. In an attempt to save it, I added less powdered sugar to my frosting than the recipe called for, leaving it looser but still spreadable.

Putting together a normal round cake didn't excite me, so to plate, I cut the cake into long rectangles and toasted them briefly in a dry skillet. This added a welcome texture that helped to break up all of the sugary softness. I smeared a thin coating of the icing on a couple pieces of cake, and reheated some caramel syrup to drizzle over. A dollop of whipped cream and a bit of tangerine zest finished the plate.

The fact that I dislike this cake is completely subjective and personal. Surely there are many people who would love to wrap their mouths around a piece, to feel a spike in their blood sugar akin to shooting cocaine through a needle. It's just not my thing, you know? But I'm not judging you if you did like it. I took a couple of bites before the rest of my caramel cake met the trash can.

Thanks to Shauna and her cohosts this month:
http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com
http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com
http://forayintofood.blogspot.com
http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com

Next month's challenge will be better. Here's to hoping that if confectioners sugar is present, it is for garnish only!

20 comments:

glamah16 said...

Great post. I love the last the few lines. But what I love more is how you cut it and toasted it. Brilliant. I hear you!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

I'm sorry you were disappointed in the cake but if you are not a sweet tooth then it would be way over the top in sugar content. The way you toasted it looks really good - pity I wasn't around at the time for a taste.

Cynthia's Blog said...

I appreciate your candor. Certainly no recipe will excite everyone. My favorite part, was the buttercream (done the easy way) My neighbors loved it. I took it to a lady who had just lost her husband to a heart attack. She was very thankful for the simplicity of the cake. I wish you a great Holiday Season!

k said...

This has to be the best looking blog in town.
Ken Stepp

hexe said...

I agree that the frosting was much too sweet. When I tasted it, I searched through the cupboard for a way to cut the sweet taste whcih is how I ended up with walnuts and bitter-sweet chocolate. I like your idea of toasting the cake and used a thinned down version of the the frosting. A nice presentation.

Aran said...

I have to agree with you on the icing part. Too sweet and not a very nice mouth feel... I liked the cake part though.

Tartelette said...

I liked the cake part allright but the frosting was too sweet for me. I could only manage a few bites here and there. I agree with the buttercream. It's good though that there are enough challenges to come to make ourselves happy!!

Lori said...

I liked the cake. Not my favorite because it is so sweet. I would much rather have a European style cake. But Daring bakers take me where I would not normally go.

Laurie said...

Very nice presentation! Love the idea of toasting it...never would have thought of that :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Too bad this cake just wasn't for you. Hope you enjoy other challenges more.

CookiePie said...

I love what you did with the cake -- toasting it was truly inspired! It was definitely crazy sweet -- but you made the best of it!

Elra said...

I feel exactly the same about this cake. It was not really my type of cake, and the frosting was way too sweet for me too.
Cheers,
Elra

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Passionate About Baking said...

Love the way you toasted & presented the cake...pity you didnt enjoy it much though. I found the frosting very different & definitely addictive!

maybelle's mom said...

Taste is subjective indeed. I can see that this was an acquired taste

Claire said...

So sad...though I'm sure the trash can enjoyed the sugar rush! I do love your set up...it almost looks like biscotti! Fun! I'm on the side that really liked the icing...and the side that doesn't like buttercream. :-) Like you said...sort of...different strokes for different folks! Can't wait to see what you do with the December challenge.

Vera said...

Lovely presentation, Beth! I'm sorry you didn't like it so much.

Jude said...

Like how you presented it... Almost like biscotti :)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love your plated dessert! Wow.

Dolores said...

I'm sorry our choice didn't work better for you, but I wanted to thank you for baking with us and for sharing your honest opinion. I love the idea of toasting the cake and the creative way you chose to plate it.