Preparing for the Sugar Rush…Caramel Cake


I’ve been planning to cut back on the sweet stuff, so when I found out about this months challenge I started to panic a little…

Hosted by Dolores of Culinary Curiosity and co-hosted by Alex of Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo, Jenny of Foray into Food and helping out the Celiacs, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go. Together they brought us Shuna Fish Lydon of Egg Beater signature caramel cake recipe.

As I was just about to start a whole month of SUGAR ABSTINENCE I thought I’d go out in style. Incidentally I’ve survived 2 weeks of this diet and am dying to bake something normal…

I felt a little bit like a chemist discovering about the mystifying molecular behaviors of sugar under the effect of heat.

For the first part of this challenge I attempted to make the Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels. I went for Chai flavored caramels with crystallized ginger pieces. I added a teaspoon of Chai syrup, ½ tsp ground cardamom & ½ tsp ground cinnamon to the syrup. Since I had decided to quarter the recipe, there wasn’t enough liquid to make my temperature measurements accurate. The caramel didn’t even reach 200F before I smelt burning. When I added the cream, I brought the heat up to 250F aiming for some soft caramel, but it ended up being very brittle & firming up within minutes rather than hours. These were delicious nonetheless and I’m glad that I’ve got strong teeth!


Chai Ginger Golden Caramels

My attempts at making the caramel syrup didn’t go according to plan either. I made the mistake of using a dark colored pan, so was unable to see if the syrup had turned to dark amber. Once off the heat, it re-formed into earwax from hell…I heated it up again but managed to overcook. Damn, this was tricky! I ended up making spun sugar blobs that I used to decorate the cake.

The cake making was the easy part of this recipe and I decided to make a mini-bundt & some cupcakes. The sponge came out really light & moist, and the butter frosting was absolutely delicious! I halved the cake recipe & quartered the butter frosting and savored every morsel.




Recipe by Shuna Fish Lydon of Egg Beater

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour ( I used 2/3 cup rice flour, 2/3 cup cornmeal, 2/3 cup tapioca flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup soy milk, at room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
  4. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform. Sift flour and baking powder.
  5. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}
  6. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
  7. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)

  1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
  2. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
  3. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}
    Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

  1. Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
  2. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.
    Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

– makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels –
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

  1. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil.
  2. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges.
  3. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water.
  4. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more.
  5. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.
  7. When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks.
  8. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently.
  9. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.
  11. Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife.  Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.

13 responses to “Preparing for the Sugar Rush…Caramel Cake

  1. We’ll definitely need to swap recipes – your gluten-free treats look lovely! I’m very inspired looking at everything you’ve done. And yum, the caramel cake looks scrumptious!

    I purposely avoid corn meal in my baked goods because I react a bit to it, but I see we are not too different in our gluten-free substitutes!

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