A few weeks ago I posted another caramel cake recipe. I think I might like that cake recipe better, but this frosting is one of my new favorites.
Caramel Syrup (from Peabody)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
Melt the sugar in a heavy skillet, stirring constantly until deep-brown syrup is formed. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the boiling water, slowly, being careful that steam does not burn your hand. Set syrup aside to cool.
Notes: The first time I made this cake, I had to make the syrup 3 times. One time, I didn't stir constantly, and the sugar formed one giant clump. Another time I added the water too quickly, and it formed a giant clump. Ugh!
Also, whenever making caramel, it's a good idea to wear long sleeves, and have a bowl of ice water ready to plunge your hands into if you burn yourself. Not a bad idea to wear glasses as well.
Caramel Cake (adapted from Peabody): Makes 2 6" layers or 1 9" layer
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 6-inch cake pans with baking spray, line with parchment paper, then spray again.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cream butter in bowl of electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated (but no longer). Stir in 1/4 cup of the cooled caramel syrup (be sure that it is completely cool). Stir in the vanilla.
Add flour mixture to the batter, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth. Divide batter evenly among the two prepared pans and bake 20-25 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove pans from oven and let stand about 10 minutes, then turn out cakes onto wire rack, peel off paper and cool completely.
Notes: This cake dries out more quickly than some; it also doesn't seem to freeze as well as many cakes.
Double recipe to make 2 9" layers, but only increase eggs to 3.
Brown Butter Frosting (enough to fill and frost 1 6" 2-layer cake)
2 sticks butter, browned
1 pound powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup caramel syrup
Pinch of Kosher salt (optional)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Brown the butter, pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, and set aside to cool. Wait for it to cool completely.
Pour the cooled brown butter into mixer bowl (paddle attachment). Add about 1/3 of the powdered sugar, and beat. Add the caramel syrup, and continue beating. Add half the remaining powdered sugar, and beat. Add the 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of heavy cream, and beat until smooth. Add more cream if you'd like the frosting to be softer, and more powdered sugar if you'd like it to be stiffer. Add salt if desired.
Refrigerate until ready to use. Re-whip the frosting right before use.
Thick Chocolate Glaze
8 ounces good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons corn syrup (for shine)
3/8 cup heavy cream
Melt together the chocolate and corn syrup, and set aside. Bring the cream to a boil, and stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Use immediately.