Hope you will allow these thoughts.
It's supposed to be a time for peace, family, love and gratitude. But there is hate and violence instead. Bombay is my birth city and while I left a long time ago the bond between us is special. It's like that first love or that first kiss - you never forget it.
The Oberoi Hotel - it's in my veins. My dad was part of the team that built that hotel. A few days old, my mother brought me to my first "home" in a suite on the 20th floor. Pictures of my first birthday, celebrated at the Oberoi Bombay, adorn the walls in my parents home.
I remember the summer vacations in India. Now a teenage girl, I was a part of a chic Bombay crowd, who fondly teased me about my American accent when I spoke Hindi. For a few weeks in the summer I reveled in this boisterous city. I won't pretend that I know the city - I've been gone far too long - but my god! My heart bleeds as I see my first love being ripped apart like this.
I am not in Bombay but each gunshot, each blast I hear blasting from the speakers of our television makes me cringe. I feel anger at these evil people with no souls or remorse. And ask "Why?"
Thank you for allowing me to vent and share my thoughts.
I am glad I have this space, relieved that I can come here and take my mind off things or speak my mind if I choose to.
My distraction right now is this month's Daring Bakers challenge. Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity was our hostess this month with Alex and Jenny helping out. The recipe of choice was a signature cake by Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater. The caramel cake intrigued me as I have been on a caramel flavor high lately.
The rules were simple: make the cake and the caramel butter frosting. Well those who know me will quickly realize where my predicament in this lies - the butter frosting. I do not mind frosting but will avoid it where ever I can. I prefer enjoying cakes and co. in their rustic form without the frills of frosting.
I made the cake last weekend and having skimmed past a few issues over at the members area of the Daring Bakers Kitchen, I picked up that there were some issues with the cake and that especially the frosting was a bit on the sweet side.
Initially, I thought I would leave the frosting out - make an excuse of being abducted by aliens right in the middle of the cake! But hey c'mon it's not my style. ;-)
The entire challenge took me three days to make. I was a bit pressed for time this month and had to fit the elements of the cake as time was rationed out to me. So Friday evening found me making the caramel syrup. It had started snowing over the weekend and Soeren was anxious to go out. Snow ball fights and snowmen later I got back to the challenge on Sunday.
The cake itself was quite simple. I decided to keep the flavor of the cake hundred percent caramel. We had the choice of doing our flavor combinations, but I decided this was going to be all about caramel.
After reading Shuna's comment:
"But I will say this about flavours: you will hide and lose the subtlety of the caramel flavour in the cake and that's what this cake is about."
I knew I would be following the recipe to a T, without the addition of extra flavors.
After tasting the cake with a simple drizzling of the caramel syrup, I re-considered the alien abduction excuse. The cake was good - darned good, we all did not need the frosting.
Monday and curiosity got the better of me. I examined the frosting recipe and found the brown butter concept appealing. I still had my special jar cakes and half of the whole cake, so I reduced the frosting recipe in half and decided to satisfy my curiosity.
I was glad I did give the frosting a second chance because it was quite good, sweet but good. I used a limited amount of frosting so it was not overpowering, but a delicacy.
This month the team over at the Daily Tiffin are hosting the Monthly Mingle. We are all looking forward and eagerly awaiting your ideas and creations to this session's theme - Low-Sugar Treats. Come on over and share your healthy treats.
The deadline is December 8th, 2008. See you there.
Recipe: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting
(recipe courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon - Caramel Cake)
Printable version of recipe here.
142g unsalted butter at room temperature
280g granulated sugar
½ tsp/2.5 ml kosher salt
80ml Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
286g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon/2.5ml baking powder
240ml milk, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 350F/176c/gas mark 4.
Butter one tall (5-6/2 – 2.5 inch deep) 23cm/9-inch cake pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
Sift flour and baking powder.
Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
Note: This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.'
Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.
Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.
Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.
450g cups sugar
120ml cup water
240ml cup water (for "stopping")
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.
Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. Wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.
Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.
CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
454g confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar, sifted
60-90 ml heavy/double cream
10ml vanilla extract
30-60 ml caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste
Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.
Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light
I loved the nuances of gold and rust this cake took as it baked in the oven. Cutting it was pure pleasure. It was spongy and moist - just how a cake should be, I thought. Although, we liked the cake as it is, the caramelized butter frosting in moderation gave it a creamy complementing flavor. It was a very different cake flavor-wise. I browned my caramel quite deeply, which gave the entire cake an intense caramel taste. It was exquisite.
Would I make this again?
This was a different kind of cake as the ones we have been doing in the Daring Bakers group. In comparison the caramel cake looks rather plain - but a bite of this caramel delight was so incredibly good that no layer cake can stand up to it. It's versatile too - if one wants - it can be easily be transformed into a layer cake. The cake rises very well and when cut horizontally one could add a layer of the frosting in between the cake. However, I liked it in it's simplest and purest form and will be making this again.
What did I learn from this challenge?
I did not experience any issues with the cake, the syrup or the frosting. The recipe is easy to follow and very straightforward, giving great results. The browning of the butter for the frosting was something new to me and I think if I ever wanted frills on my cakes I will use this method again.
I thank all three hosts for this month's challenge. My Daring Bakers colleagues have made several variations of this cake so please do visit them for more ideas and inspiration.
You might like these past Daring Baker creations from WFLH:
|Yule Log - Bûche de Noël||Perfect Party Cake||Opera Cake|
The Daring Bakers celebrated their second anniversary this month and I for one am glad to be a part of this exceptional group of talented bakers. I've learned so much in the past year and a half. My biggest thanks goes to Ivonne for convincing me to join the group and to Lisa for creating the Daring Bakers legacy and for all their hard work.
All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First