Friday, November 28, 2008

DB: Bacon Caramel Cake

This months Daring Baker challenge was Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting. The initial reviews came back OMG sweet but very good, and not being one to shy away from sugar I was looking forward to it. I will admit the Caramel portion of the recipe had me a bit worried me and candy just don't have a good history (I fail at no-fail fudge).

To put a spin on things work had a 'Bacon Off' where we were challenged to make a bacon flavored dessert. With a bit of help from Heather I tracked down Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Frosting and wouldn't you know it the recipe looked awfully familiar. SO for this challenge I made Bacon Caramel Cake. (my changes are in green)

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (8 Tblsp Butter and 2 Tblsp Bacon drippings)
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup of minced bacon, cooked and drained

Preheat oven to 350F, Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 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.

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds mixing in bacon bits at this time, 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.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

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. {Obviously 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.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (8 Tblsp Butter and 2 Tblsp Bacon drippings)
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons 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

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon Also big thanks to the host this month; Dolores of Culinary Curiosity, Jenny of Foray into Food, Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go, Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo)

Temper's Take:
It may just be the sugar high talking but the bacon was pretty decent in this cake. The guys at work ate it all so they seem to have agreed (Indra didn't but I think she was still mad that I didn't let her eat more bacon before adding it to the cake). People were right this is a very sweet very rich cake. But it was surprisingly easy, despite the caramel aspect. And let me say I never knew I would find so many uses for a jar of caramel syrup, definitely good stuff! will I make this again? You know I think I might. :)


Gretchen Noelle said...

What a fun variation! Great job!

Dolores said...

I was wondering if anyone was going to put a savory spin on this one. Bacon is a GREAT idea. Thanks for baking with us this month.

Anne said...

What a clever idea! This looks fabulous.

Lori said...

You are living up to your High on the 'hog' name with bacon on this cake. I bet it was pretty good!

hanne said...

Bacon is a brilliant idea! I love the concept of sweet/salty.

Regina said...

Ooh - the thought of incorporating bacon into this recipe crossed my mind, but I didn't have the guts to do it. Major props to you - it sounds delicious!

maybelle's mom said...

oh, i did bacon too. yours looks great.

Temperance said...

The bacon was fun and unexpectedly good. not sure I will do it again though

Y said...

Bacon AND bacon dripping! Wow :)