Sunday, January 05, 2014

Caramel Cake

What is it about the Christmas season that is so busy?!  I love it but it also just gets tiring.  The week after we got back from Thanksgiving vacation (a week away from work with a 4 year old isn't much vacation, though!) our church had its Christmas music.  I was in the praise team and had several practices.  That took up the entire week.  Somehow the next week was busy as well - I think David and I were both on call. We sang at a local event called Christmas on Ice. 
I think David worked in the ER that Saturday.  Then Sunday night, we had our first party of the month.  It was our Sunday School party.  The theme was "Team Spirit" and we were supposed to dress in our best team gear.  I don't really have any team I stole David's and K's.  Check this out: 
How awesome is my outfit...complete with hairbow and pager?! 
:-)  It was worth it...I won!  YES!  This was a pot-luck event.  I took green bean bundles, spinach salad, and white velvet caramel cake.  When I saw this cake, I KNEW that I had to make it.  OH MY!  It was SOOOO good!  The icing was wonderful, though I can't see how in the world you could ever use two batches on a single cake. 
The layers between the cake layers were somewhat thin but I don't know that a larger batch of icing could fix that.  Regardless, this was fantastic!  If you like caramel cakes you really must try this. 

The party was fun.  LOTS of food and fellowship. 
We had a dirty Santa in which we won some crawfish pies (YUM!) and a camouflage stainless steel flask (which is now no longer in our possession). Probably the best gift was the bag of two goldfish.  YES!
 We then played Pictionary and the girls totally rocked!  Can't wait for next year.

White Velvet Caramel Cake 
4 oz egg whites–room temperature
1 cup milk–divided–room temperature (I used almond milk)
2¼ tsp vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour
1½ cup sugar
1 Tbs + 1 tsp baking powder
12 Tbs unsalted butter-room temperature
¼ tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350.  In a mixer combine all the dry ingredients, and mix for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and mix until the flour gets crumbly. Stir in 1/4 cup of the milk and bring the speed to medium high and beat for about 30 seconds.  In a bowl, stir together the egg whites, remaining 3/4 cup milk and vanilla.  Add to the dry ingredients in 3 additions, scraping down the sides and beating for about 5-10 seconds after each addition. Do not over mix, but make sure it is all incorporated.  Pour into 2- round cake pans.  Smooth the batter.  
Place pans into the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn over onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely.  Slice each round into two horizontally to make 4 layers total.

Caramel Icing
2 cups light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
2 Tbs real maple syrup
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups confectioner's sugar
Bring brown sugar, butter, milk, maple syrup and salt to a simmer.  Simmer just until the sugar is no longer grainy, don't let it boil - this takes several minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla, stirring constantly.  Allow to cool just that it isn't scorching hot, but nicely warm.  Whisk in powdered sugar.  Whisk well - mind still had lumps in it. Alas!  Cool some but it should still be pourable.  Pour icing on each layer as you stack it. Once all the layers are set, pour the remaining icing over the top.  ENJOY!

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