Friday, November 20, 2009

Burnt Sugar Cake

Based on popular voting, the November cake for Cake Slice Bakers is a Burnt Sugar Cake. When the recipe was posted up in the forum, I shuddered to think of the amount of sugar I would be consuming in each slice. I even delayed baking this cake until the very last weekend before actual post date. Then when I read some of the comments posted by my fellow Cake Slice bakers, I quickly decided that I would cut back on the amount of sugar used in the original recipe. In addition I also made some minor alternations. Well, firstly I reduced the recipe by half. Secondly I decided that it would be kinda cute to turn these into cupcakes instead. The halfed reciped resulted in a dozen cupcakes for me. I used the burnt sugar frosting for only half of the cupcakes and for the rest, I decorated them with fondant. In fact it is homemade marshmallow fondant that I had used. It's been a while since I dabbled in using fondant, so it's high time I dusted the cobwebs off my fondant tools and took them out from storage.

The cupcakes came out extremely moist (a little denser than a vanilla cupcake) but it kept extremely well even after 3 days in the fridge. I think it was due to the sugar content that kept the crumbs from drying out. The reduced sugar amount that I had used seem about right. However the frosting was way, way too sweet for my taste! And this is even after I had reduced the amount of burnt sugar syrup that was added to the frosting. The burnt sugar gave the frosting a slight distinct maple syrup taste. So if you are not a sweet-tooth I would strongly encourage that you find an alternative frosting for this cake.

By the way, would you believe I had my first rejection to my cakes! However it was not because they taste horrible or anything like that. The recipient said that she had been putting on so much weight since I started bringing baked goodies to the office that she'll have to change her entire wardrobe soon.

Lastly don't forget to check out my fellow bakers at Cake Slice Bakers for more beautiful creations.

Burnt Sugar Cake
Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott
Makes One 9" cake

For the Cake:

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1¾ cups sugar (I reduced this to 1 1/4 cups of sugar and still found the cake to be a little bit sweet)
4 eggs
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (recipe below) (I used only 1/3 cup of burnt sugar)

For the Burnt Sugar Syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

For the Burnt Sugar Frosting:

3¾ cups confectioners sugar
½ cup Burnt Sugar Syrup (above)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 – 3 tbsp evaporated milk or normal milk

Method – Burnt Sugar Syrup:

1) Heat the sugar in a cast iron skillet or another heavy bottomed pan with high sides. Heat over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts into a clear brown caramel syrup. It should be the colour of tea.

2) Gradually add the boiling water, pouring it down the sides of the pan so that if the syrup foams and bubbles up, you should be protected.

3) Continue cooking, stirring often, until the water combines with the syrup and turns a handsome brown syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Store the cooled syrup in a sealed jar if not using straight away.

Method - Cake:

1) Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork to mix well. Stir the vanilla into the milk.

3) In a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer at high speed for 2 – 3 minutes, until they are well combined. Stop now and then to scrape the bowl down. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well each time. Pour in half a cup of the burnt sugar syrup and beat well. Add a third of the flour mixture and about half of the milk, beating at a low speed, until just incorporated. Mix in another third of the flour and the rest of the milk. Finally, add the remaining flour.

4) Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched gently in the centre and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. (For cupcakes, fill the cup liners to 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes.) Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out the cakes into the wire rack to cool completely.

Method – Burnt Sugar Frosting:

1) In a large bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, the burnt sugar syrup, butter and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl now and then to bring the ingredients together. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk and continue beating until the frosting is thick, soft, smooth and easy to spread. Add a little more sugar if it is thin, and a little more milk if it is too thick.

To Assemble:

Place one layer, top side down, on a cake stand or serving plate. Scoop about ¾ cup of the frosting onto the cake. Spread to the edges and place the second cake layer over it, top side down. Frost the sides of the cake, and then the top until it is evenly covered.


Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

My gosh, Jo. How do you do it? Your bakes are always so enchanting pretty!

rachel said...

very very pretty..the cake, the decorations and all!

Kim said...

Those little cupcakes are adorable - great idea!! I had thought of making cupcakes too, but didn't know if we were "allowed". Yours are just precious!

Sandi Oh said...

love the decorations on your cupcakes. I thought about making cupcakes out of the recipe also, but ended up with just the cake. looking forward to next month's cake.

Anonymous said...

Love the fondant cupcakes - makes me want to start using some fondant again - it is a lot of fun isn't it?

El said...

Such incredibly gorgeous cupcakes. Amazing!

Katie said...

Wow they make such cute cupcakes! I think you were wise to cut down on the amount of sugar used - it was very sweet!

Unknown said...

I just love those cupcakes of yours! So cute and tempting!

oneordinaryday said...

Love the idea of making cupcakes instead. they look great. I esp. love those cups!

Sophie Sportende Foodie said...

Waw!! Your cupcakes at the end allways look so adorable & oh so classy!


Allison said...

What a cute idea! I love your cupcakes. I agree, that probably helped cut down on the sweetness of this cake.

Anonymous said...

You cakes are always so pretty!! Absolutely adorable ))

Future Grown-Up said...

Smart moving planning ahead with reducing the sugar. I and my love of sugar got ambushed by figuring there was no such thing as too much sugar :)

I love what you did with the cupcakes. Absolutely gorgeous.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Your fondant topped cupcakes look stellar! I love the little ladtbug and the ruffled flowers. So pretty!

Btw, I've gained a ton of weight and need to stop baking 'cause I can't seem to stop eating!

pigpigscorner said...

awww they are so pretty!

Monica H said...

Your cupcakes are so beautiful. I don't know if I like the decorations or the polka dot cups more- fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow - did you make those flowers out of your fondant?? Sheesh, they look stunning! The cupcakes are soo cute and I love the liners! =)

Jo said...

Hi all,

Thanks so much for visiting and leaving your kind comments.

Hi Ingrid, "gain a ton", haha I think I've signed up as a new member already!

Hi lasinthekitchen, yup I made the flowers out of home-made MMF. Had a ball of a time doing it as well.

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