If you’re out there somewhere, please forgive me, but I just couldn’t do it. You might not understand, but I just couldn’t. Let me explain.
Okay, here goes – you see, I have a blog called The Café Sucré Farine (that’s French and you can read all about the name here). I do this “blog thing” together with my best friend, Scott, who’s also my husband, photographer, chief taste-tester and cohort in crime. We have lots of wonderful, faithful Café follower/friends who count on us for; Casually Elegant …………. Deliciousness! What’s that? Well, that’s actually the blog’s byline (in other words, a description of The Café in a nutshell) and I really have to stick with it.
It’s not that I don’t think your famous cake is just fabulous and totally out of this world. Oh no, in fact, I’ve been staring at the picture for quite some time now, wiping the drool off my chin each time I saw the image in my “must make” file.
When my sweet daughter-in-law, Lindsay, and I spent the afternoon together earlier this week and Lindsay suggested we do some baking, I could hardly wait to pull out your recipe. “Look at this! What do you think?” Lindsay agreed your cake looked quite spectacular, so we got busy.
The cake was simple and, between the two of us, we had it in the oven lickety-split. The kitchen quickly filled with the most heavenly aroma and when I peeked in, after 20 minutes, and saw three pans of golden deliciousness staring back at me. Let’s just say I was close to squealing and was quite certain we were in for an amazing treat.
The first two cakes flipped out their pans pretty-as-a picture. The third, not so much. I’m not sure why, but half fell onto the cooling rack and the rest stuck in the pan. Maybe my pan greasing was not so even but you know that old saying: “Don’t cry over spilt milk”? I applied that bit of wisdom to my crumbled cake dilemma and officially declared the mess to be “up for sampling”.
“Oh my goodness!” Lindsay and I looked at each other, not even believing how tender, light and melt-in-your-mouth delicious your cake was! Scott was working outside in the yard and we broke off another piece and delivered it to him. “WOW!” was all we heard from him, with his head in the bushes. Our son Nick, came by after work and, spotting the leftover, broken cake on the counter, quickly snitched a taste; Nick’s response, “I had to push it away or I would have eaten the entire thing!”
Yes Rose, your cake is that good! So what’s the problem then? No problem with the cake, that’s for sure! It was when I looked at your recipe for the icing that I realized this was going to have to be an Almost Rose’s Famous Caramel Cake. It wasn’t the decadent ingredients or even the thought of trying to make my icing look as pretty as yours (I’m not much of a cake decorator). It was the TIME! There was no way in the world that my readers (or I) could spend all that time making frosting! This is what the directions say:
- Cook remaining sugar and salted butter in a pot over high heat, stirring constantly, until light brown, 7–8 minutes. Carefully stir in evaporated milk; reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring constantly, until smooth, 8–10 minutes.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until icing registers 240° F. on a candy thermometer, about 1½ hours.
- Remove from heat; beat with a wooden spoon until thick, glossy, and spreadable, 20–25 minutes. (A dollop dropped on a plate should ooze only slightly.) Ice bottom layer of cake; top with second layer and ice the outside. Chill cake until set. ~ from Saveur Magazine
Holy Schmoly Rose!! That’s a total of over two hours!! Just to make the icing! I would love to have that kind of time to make icing ………… maybe in another life, but honestly, it just won’t cut it right now. I still work a few days a month outside the home, love to spend time with family and friends and the blog, well, it’s pretty much a full time job. And you know all those Café friends/followers? They’re in the same boat as me. Honestly Rose, I just can’t call an icing that takes more than two hours very “casually elegant”; it sounds a bit more like “Iron Chef” to me.
Are you thinking that, perhaps, I decided to serve the cake sans icing? Nope, a goody-two-shoes, no-icing girl I am not! And it had to be caramel icing, for sure, to do your wonderful cake justice ………….. so I’ve been doing a bit of tinkering and testing and have come up with a simple, but quite delicious caramel icing. Might not be quite as wonderful as yours, but my taste-testers (co-workers) loved it and it can be whipped up and adorning the cake in less than thirty minutes.
Can we be friends, Rose? I hope so because your cake (with my icing) is transferring from my “must-make” file to my “best-ever” file and I have a feeling that my readers are going to love it as well.
Thanks Rose, you’re a winner in my book!
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- 8 ounces butter softened
- 3¼ cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1¼ cups milk
Have eggs and butter at room temperature. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spray four 8-inch or three 9-inch pans generously with baking spray.* Cut circles of parchment paper to fit pans and place one in the bottom of each pan. Spray again, lightly.
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside. (You don't need a sifter. I use a fine strainer for sifting, just hold strainer above a clean bowl, add flour mixture and tap gently on one side to sift.)
Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and then eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add flour mixture and milk alternately in 3 batches, beating until smooth after each addition.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until golden, 25-30 minutes for 8-inch pans, 30–35 minutes for 9-inch pans. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes; invert cakes onto a cooling rack; let cool completely. Slice domed tops off cakes to level them, if needed.
Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Add ½ cup icing and spread to cover. Add another layer and spread with another ½ cup icing. Add third layer and repeat with ½ cup icing. Top with final cake layer. Frost entire cake with a very thin layer of icing. This is the crumb coat. The crumbs will be trapped and will keep your final icing layer crumb free. Let cake sit until crumb coat is dry.
Place a generous amount of icing on top of cake. Spread icing over top and down sides to cover completely, adding more icing as needed. Decorate icing with a swirly pattern as you proceed. Allow icing to set. Serve and enjoy the rave reviews.
* Do not use cooking spray. Baking spray has flour and shortening which will prevent sticking. If you don't have baking spray, grease pans thoroughly with butter or shortening, then add a teaspoon of flour to each pan. Tilt pan to coat with the flour, then dump out any excess.
- 4 ounces butter melted
- 4 ounces butter softened
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- ½-¾ cups evaporated milk
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine 4 ounces of butter, brown sugar and ½ cup evaporated milk in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir to combine. Return to microwave and cook on high for another 2-3 minutes or until mixture is no longer gritty (take a taste!).
Allow mixture to cool for 15 minutes, then transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 5 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and mix for 1 more minute.
Add the 4 ounces of softened butter and vanilla. Mix on medium-high for 3-4 minutes or until light and very fluffy. Icing should be a nice, soft, spreadable consistency. If it's too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar, if too thick, add more evaporated milk - just a little at a time to thin. Frost cake as directed above.