Sunday, September 12, 2010

White Cake with Caramel Icing (Blue Ribbon-Winning)

White cake with caramel icing is my mom's favorite cake. This cake recipe is from King Arthur, but I'm too cheap to use their wonderful cake flour, so I just use White Lily all-purpose flour. (You can substitute this for cake flour in any recipe, btw.) This cake is rather dense and not exceedingly moist, so I use a butterscotch schnapps simple syrup on the layers. I use the quick caramel icing recipe from the Cake Doctor cookbook, below. (As a word of warning, sometimes is doesn't want to stick to the cake. I have no idea why. If you do, then let me know! I've grown to view making this cake as simply an exercise in practicing patience.)

White Cake
2 3/4 cup White Lily All-Purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 3/4 cup superfine sugar (granulated can be ground fine in food processor)
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
4 large egg whites
1 large whole egg
1 cup Stonyfield organic full-fat plain yogurt

1.      Preheat oven to 350F.
2.      Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
3.      Combine the dry ingredients, add the softened butter and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
4.      Meanwhile, combine the wet ingredients.
5.      Add the liquid ingredients one-third at a time, beating on medium speed for 2 minutes after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl in-between each addition and at the end.
6.      Divide batter between pans, tap each pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, till a cake tester comes out clean. If the cakes are pulling away from the edges, they’re already over-baked!
7.      Let sit on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto a rack and then place another rack on top and flip them over. Let cool at least 1 hour before frosting.

Simple Syrup
Heat and stir till sugar is dissolved:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Set aside to cool. When cooled add:
1/2 cup butterscotch schnapps

When the cakes are cool, level them and brush the tops with simple syrup.

Quick Caramel Frosting
12 T butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/8 cup whole milk
3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Put butter and brown sugars in a medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, stir, and bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove from the heat. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon till smooth, returning to a low heat if necessary.

Use immediately to frost cake. If frosting hardens while you’re still frosting the cake, place the pan back over low heat and stir till frosting softens up.

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