Weekday Vegetarian: Caramel Cake

Kelly Rossiter/CC BY 2.0

I don't usually write about dessert for the simple reason that I almost never eat it. However, I offered to make a birthday cake for a friend who particularly likes caramel, rather than the common chocolate cake so I thought I would try this cake out. I had company for lunch this week and used them as guinea pigs to see if we liked the recipe. I was going to take a photo of the cake once it was cut, but it was gone so quickly that I missed my opportunity.

This cake is simple enough to make that you would make it for a family dinner, but delicious enough that you could serve it to some very happy guests. If you want the caramel to penetrate the cake, take a skewer and poke some holes into the cake before you pour the glaze over top.

This recipe is from Gourmet, January 2008.

Caramel Cake

For cake

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For caramel glaze

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and line with a square of parchment paper, then butter parchment.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture may look curdled). Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.

4. Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Make glaze:
1. Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Boil until glaze registers 210 to 212°F on thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes, then stir in vanilla.

2. Put rack with cake in a shallow baking pan and pour hot glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down sides. Cool until glaze is set, about 30 minutes.

Tags: Weekday Vegetarian

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