Sunday, March 6, 2011

Old-Fashioned Dessert

After last week's dessert disaster I was left with a jar of salted caramel sauce meant for the ill-fated tart. I drizzled a little on ice cream but that hardly made a dent. At the same time I needed a make-ahead dessert and was picturing something simple and plain -- a county fair kind of cake. I landed on the idea of a caramel cake -- one dessert that really is better the day after it's made (a perfect dinner party cake). Following an unusual Food and Wine Magazine recipe I sifted cake flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Then I mixed in softened butter and milk and beat until smooth. Next came a mixture of egg whites and milk in three additions and soon I had a smooth, but somewhat heavy batter. The next step was a new one to me. I beat heavy cream to soft peaks, lightened the batter with 1/3 of the cream and then folded in the rest to finish. In just 25 minutes the cake baked up soft and light with a faint caramel aroma.
The recipe has a nice caramel frosting but I just couldn't make a new caramel when I had a perfectly good sauce in the fridge (even though I've been eyeing this cake recipe since before the tart incident) -- so I punted. I creamed butter and powdered sugar in the mixer and added in caramel sauce and a bit of cream until I had a smooth -- nearly spreadable (I knew it would harden up when it was cold) consistency -- a little more pale than normal but pretty delicious. Like most Southern cakes this one is sweet (too sweet for some) so I tempered the sugary frosting with a dash of strong Kentucky bourbon.
Unassuming and sweet with a little hidden mischief. I wouldn't mind being described that way

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