This month's Daring Bakers' Challenge is a caramel cake from Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater ( http://eggbeater.typepad.com ). You can find the recipe here http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006/12/24/caramel-cake-the-recipe/ . Hosting this month are Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity (http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com/) Alex (Brownie of Blondie and Brownie) (http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/, and Jenny of Foray into Food (http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/).
As you can see from the recipe, before you can begin to make the cake or the frosting, you need to make the caramel syrup. Making caramel syrup is so simple (though a little nerve-wracking with a lot of splattering going on) that I wonder that I've never tried it before. I will definitely make that part of the recipe again.
I made the caramel syrup and let it cool. Then I used a little bit of the caramel syrup (1/3 cup) to make the cake. If you check out the accompanying picture from Shuna's recipe you'll see that she used the cake as one layer and the frosting just on the top. I sliced the cake in half and used the frosting in the middle and all around-- I had just enough to finish it.
The cake was a little dry at first and stuck a little to the baking pan, but once it was frosted and sat overnight covered, it absorbed a little moisture from the frosting and was great!
The frosting was tasty, very sweet but not really smooth-- a little sugary for me. But definitely delicious.
The remaining caramel syrup (1/3 cup was used for the cake and 4 Tbsp for the frosting, leaving 1 cup of syrup for another use) could be used if we wanted to make caramels or caramel topping. Instead, I used it to flavor a batch of homemade caramel pecan ice cream.
Caramel Pecan Ice Cream
2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup caramel syrup
a pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans
Combine the half and half, cream, sugar, caramel syrup and salt. Add the vanilla extract. Chill the mixture 3 hours or overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream freezer directions, adding the toasted pecans about 2 minutes before the machine is done. Makes about 5 cups.