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Darings Bakers Do Shuna Fish Lyndon's Signature Carmel Cake

Photos by Certain Someone
I was worried about getting this challenge done this month with a vacation and the holiday. But here I am on Black Friday ,waking early not to shop, but bake. This months hostess is the lovely Dolores ,and co hosts Alex, and Jenny. And let us not forget Natalie who always is a huge help in adapting these recipes to Gluten Free versions.This months challenge was by a renown pastry chef, I have to admit I had never heard of. But there is lot I haven't heard of.Shuna Fish Lyndon is pretty well known for this signature caramel cake in the San Francisco regions. When I saw the challenge I was like Meh?It looked good , but reminded me of cakes friends and family make all time.And there was a additional challenge of making Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, to accompany. Diabetes runs in my family and that was just a little to much much sugar going on for Glamah's house. But I need the practice and love Daring Bakers Challenges, so I went with it. I decided to halve the recipe and make a tiny 6 inch cake.Unfortunately I was out of vanilla but had vanilla bean. Reading Shuna's suggestions to us on the forum about flavorings, I decided to infuse my caramel syrup with a quarter of a pod of vanilla bean with beans scraped out. My caramel syrup kept crystallizing when it cooled down. I don't know if it was the addition of the vanilla bean( which Shuna warned that additions could alter) or my choice in sugar. I had been using this raw pure cane sugar from Mexico all year, but switched back to Domino ( which they say is cane?). Anyway the batter and frosting came together smoothly once I reheated the syrup. Since my pan was deeper, but smaller, it still used about the same baking time. I iced it and piped some. Dusted some gold lustre, and drizzled some syrup. I don't know if you can see the black pods from the vanilla in on the surface., but it made a nice speckle. I cut little wedges for Certain Someone and I . He's not a big dessert eater, but he said it was good. Washed down with an ice cold glass of milk. Judging by some forum talk I hear it gets better even the next day. I thought the same. Not the most exciting challenge, but wholesome and good. Kind of like the way Mommy used to make it.
Shuna Fish Lyndon's Caramel Cake With Caramelized Butter Frosting
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
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
Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free:
So the GF changes to the cake would be:
2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or
2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 - 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I'm going to check)I'll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out and if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.
Preheat oven to 350FButter 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. {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.CARAMEL SYRUP2 cups sugar1/2 cup water1 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
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)
Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels
Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111(Optional)
GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -
1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened
A 9-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer
Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot. When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm. Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane. VariationsFleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.
Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels:
Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.
Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.
Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer. (recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)

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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A very pretty cake! I love the dainty decorations! Well donne!



Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Looks wonderful Courtney! I loved the flavors in this challenge!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Courtney, your cake looks absolutely gorgeous. I'm just so impressed!

Mary said...

Very pretty cake indeed!

Shaheen @ Ambrosia said...

Your cake looks gorgeous.

Megan said...

Looks perfect! I didn't know it got better the next day. I made my hubby take it to work so I didn't sliver it to death and die in a sugar induced come! ;)

Beth said...

I also halved the recipe with great success. Nice piping!

giz said...

You sure put yourself out - did a terrific job. I doubt I would serve it to someone who is or has diabetes in the family but sure worth the effort to learn a new technique.

Renee said...

The vanilla bean specks add to the cake. It looks wonderful!

BC said...

You have dedication! The vanilla bean must have made the syrup amazing.

Aparna said...

One beautiful cake, Courtney.
And I just realised it was your birthday not too long agao, so belated but heartfelt b'day wishes.

zorra said...

Well done, I love the decoration.

Andrea said...

Your cake turned out very pretty. I plan to halve the recipe, too, so there is less temptation. Nicely done!

linda said...

Went for small too. And had the same problem with crystalizing as well.
You did a wonderful job!

CookiePie said...

What a pretty cake! I bet the vanilla bean was especially delicious.

kellypea said...

Your cake is so elegant looking! And you're right -- you and Judy had the same idea with piping. I almost make vanilla sugar with mine but decided to just keep it simple. An ice cold glass of milk is the perfect accompaniment to this cake -- so true!

Lynn said...

Well, for what it's worth, I think baking a cake is way better than going shopping on Black Friday. Having said that, your cake looks lovely. I think I am going to invest some time in learning how to decorate. Good job!!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely job with the cake and the decorations!! I had never heard of this cake before either.

Passionate About Baking said...

That certainly looks luscious & on a sugar high this morning! The caramels sound yummy too; I didnt get that far!

Heather said...

Man, this caramel cake looks so delicious! And pretty. You really have a knack for those cakes.

Nina Timm said...

I have such admiration for you Daring Bakers, I am put off by the longwinded recipes!!!!!! Your cake looks so pretty and I bet delicious!!!!

Audax said...

Love the cake and the gold lustre. the icing looks smashing. Happy holidays to you and your kin.

maybelle's mom said...

Thats to me the funny thing about caramel--one thing and every goes a little kooky. But glad it pulled through. Looks lovely.

marye said...

you did a great job...especially after coming off vacation and all...way to go!

white on rice couple said...

This is sooooo pretty! And I bet it's equally delicious! Great job, you made it look so easy!

Elra said...

What a beautiful cake you have there.
Those decoration look so lovely on the cake.

Proud Italian Cook said...

You're such a great little cake maker!!

Emily said...

Mmm, I know I would love this delicious, caramely-looking cake.

Núria said...

Certain Someone deserves the photographer job ;D... he does great photos, Courtney :D

That cake is asking for a direct bite ;D

Half Baked said...

Great looking cake! Nice job on this month's challenge!

Rosie said...

Stunning Coco!! I adore your piping around the cake - well done!

Rosie x

Jen said...

Great decorating--

Dolores said...

I'm glad you found some old fashioned comfort in the November challenge. Your cake is exquisitely decorated, and I love the addition of vanilla bean. Thanks for baking with us!

Deborah said...

I can see those black specks! It looks beautiful!

Anonymous said...

You did real good! Definitely worth baking on Black Friday. ;-)

BTW, I love how you improvised re: the sugar and when you ran out of vanilla.


Christina said...

Wow, Courtney, you did a great job! (And C.S. takes excellent pictures.) It looks sparkly and like a snowflake.

Claire said...

Great job! Glad you liked it.

Y said...

I like the idea of gold on the cake. I wanted to use gold leaf, but didn't end up having time to get any.

Dharm said...

Sorry it took me so long to get here! Great, great cake and I love the pics of your vacation too!!

Ivy said...

They look great!

Jeanne said...

Wow Courtney - this cake looks fantastic - love the flecks of vanilla seeds too :)