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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Caramel Birthday Cake

I make my own birthday cakes. That is my confession of the day. I suppose it sounds awful but I actually prefer it since I get an infallible excuse for making a cake just for myself. Since I didn't want the temptation of a whole chocolate cake in the house I decided to make a caramel birthday cake from a Southern cookbook which I could shared with The Husband, since he hates chocolate. Well, I can see why the South is the most overweight part of the the U.S. This recipe called for two pounds of butter; one in the frosting and one in the icing. Since I figured that anything with that much fat had to be good I wanted to try it.

This is my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer. I got it for 100 bucks when Sears was having a ridiculous sale because they were discontinuing the colour. It seriously is one of my most priced posession and if it ever broke down I might quite possibly start to cry.

This recipe called for putting the sugar and flour in the mixer and then blending in softened butter. I am not sure what this accomplishes since most recipes call for creaming butter and sugar together and then adding the flour but with cakes I generally follow directions.

After that was blended in I added milk and eggs in alternate batches. There were four eggs in this. Cholesterol friendly this recipe is not.

The cake was supposed to go into two cake pans. They were both overflowing before they even went in the oven.

A pox on all incompetent cookbook authors. The cake was supposed to bake in 25 minutes but it took 45 minutes. I double checked all the steps, the pan size and the temperature and I had done everything right. This was only the first problem with the instructions however. More on this later.


When the cakes were cooled down I cut both of them in half to make four layers. This is not my forte so my layers were not uniform in thickness.

Now for the icing. I grabbed one of my biggest pots and started. First step was to melt the butter over low heat.

Afterward I added white sugar and some corn syrup and stirred it until the butter was dissolved.

Next step was to 30 marshmallows and cook the mixture until it reached 262 degrees. I only had half a bag of miniature marshmallows so I added that instead. I tried to find out how many miniature marshmallows equals a large marshmallow but alas, Google let me down.
Here are the different stages in the process.


By the time it got to the last picture the stove was a mess. The cookbook didn't specify at what temperature it should be cooked so I left it at low. When that was taking way too long I raised it a bit but the mixture basically doubled in volume so I had to get another pot out and transfer half into that. When that overflowed and I didn't have another spare pot so I had to transfer part of the second pot into a bowl. Eventually the mixture reduced enough so that everything fit in the original pot but it was a huge mess to do all of this.

One it reached the right temperature I poured it into an aluminum bowl and beat it with a hand held mixture until it cooled down. Since the icing was starting to set I had to work quickly.

I iced every layer individually and then put them one on top of the others and iced the sides.

Not that prety looking at this stage but it tasted awesome. Here are some better pictures.



I was very cranky during the cake making process because of all of the problems but with one bite my bad mood disappeared like snow in the month of June. It was sweet and super caramelly. I love sugar and this really hit the spot; it is the perfect cake to eat with a glass of milk. The cake part is very soft and buttery and the icing is dense and rich. The Husband has already informed me that he wants me to make it for his birthday and we are negotiating to see who gets the leftovers. He suggested that he 'take on for the team' and finish it off so I won't gain any weight eating it. Yeah right, nice try.
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