I’ve been baking (and now posting!) again. It’s glorious! Between a new baby and a major house remodel this year, my kitchen (and energy levels) were a bit out of sorts. I’m happy to say that my new kitchen is gorgeous and 90% finished. I am busy at work breaking it in!
For some reason last year when my daughter (still sounds strange) was born, it didn’t hit me that her and my hubby’s birthdays are 9 days apart…. This year I fit in a decadent cake for Jason while planning baby A’s big first birthday bash. I have all the juicy details of her party to share, but first the caramel-soaked cake that my not-a-day-over-21 (ha!) cutie requested.
Bam! I sat over a hot flame on my new gas oven preparing not one, but 3 batches of caramel for this bad boy. It was my first time making a french buttercream and it was the highlight of the cake for me. Especially the subtle dark caramel notes and the creamy texture. The cake held up in the fridge for the better part of a week, but the caramel sauce began to crystallize a bit after that. The white cake recipe was pretty good, but I expected it to be more moist with the caramel soaked in. You could easily substitute your favorite white or yellow cake recipe. (while you are at it… share the link in the comments!)
We may have eaten a few slices for breakfast with coffee and then had it for dessert that night too… It was seriously a treat and when I make it again, I’ll share with friends – maybe. Keep in mind that this recipe has a good number of steps and you might use all of your saucepans a few times. You can prepare the cake layers one day and then frost/drizzle on the second day if you are short on time.
Here is the full recipe and instructions if you want to reproduce this tasty treat in your own kitchen. (Trust me you do).
Basic Vanilla Cake
- 1 c. granulated sugar
- 1/2 c. butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 c. milk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans or line with parchment paper. In a stand mixer, cream together sugar and room temperature butter. Slowly beat in the eggs, one at time and then stir in the vanilla. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the flour to the butter mixture and then the milk until everything is incorporated. Distribute half the batter into each cake pan and bake for 35 minutes or until your house just starts to smell like cake. Cool.
- 1½ cups white sugar
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
While your cakes are baking, combine the first 5 ingredients into a large heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook the sugar mixture over medium heat stirring frequently. The mixture will begin to simmer and foam. Continue to stir and cook until a light caramel color is achieved, approximately 7 minutes. Mix together the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, baking soda and salt in a medium to large saucepan (a larger saucepan is important, as the mixture will foam up).Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to simmer.As soon as the mixture starts simmering, set the timer for 7 minutes.Continue cooking (it’ll start boiling soon), stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over warm cake layers still in their pans and allow to cool completely.
Burnt Caramel French Buttercream
- 8 egg yolks
- 5.25 oz sugar
- 1/4 c. water
- 5.75 oz corn syrup
- 1 lb butter, softened
- ¾ tsp. smoked sea salt
Allow your ingredients to come to room temperature. Prepare an ice bath large enough for a small sauce pan. Whip egg yolks and salt on medium speed in a stand mixer.While those are whipping, bring corn syrup to a rolling boil in a small sauce pan over medium to medium high heat. Slowly stream the corn syrup into the whipping egg yolks. Increase the mixer speed to high and whip until the syrup egg mixture is light and airy. Heat sugar and 1/4 c. of water in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat until boiling. Cover the pan with a lid. Check on it frequently and when your sugar begins to turn from clear to golden, swirl the pan to encourage it to caramelize evenly. Turn the heat down to medium and allow the sugar to slowly caramelize to a very dark amber. When it begins to slightly smoke, remove the pan from heat and dunk into your ice bath for 10 seconds. (Do that step carefully). Before the caramel hardens too much, stream it into your egg yolk/corn syrup mixture at high speed. Whip until the mixture has completely cooled. Then slowly add in the cubed butter. Mix in salt and beat until uniform and fluffy!
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. water
- 3/4 c. heavy cream
- 3 1/2 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 tsp. smoked salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Ramp up the temperature and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, or wipe sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush if crystals begin to form. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Boil for approximately 5 minutes until a deep amber color is achieved. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream. (Mixture will bubble and hiss – be careful). Then stir in the butter, vanilla and salt. Allow caramel to cool.
To put all the components together, remove your first cake layer from the cake pan (you may need to loosen the edges with a butter knife). Place on a serving dish or cake round. Cover with caramel buttercream on all sides. Place second layer on top and again cover all sides with an even layer of buttercream using a frosting spatula. Use any excess buttercream to pipe decorations or edges onto your frosted cake. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.