UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Click here to see the winner.
Lots of exciting things are happening here at MMF2. First and foremost, I have my oven back and the 12 cakes in 2012 challenge is back in full swing. You may have noticed that I missed out on June due to the aforementioned oven problems. I know my work friends did. They have kindly suggested that I make up for lost time by creating two cakes in July. I have politely declined this request. But I am here with July’s (singular) cake!
It’s pretty clear that chocolate and salted caramel are popular flavors in my book, what with my birthday cake and probably the best dessert to ever come from my kitchen: salted caramel brownies! Unlike the birthday attempt, I opted for fatty goodness for this baby. Butter, sour cream, whipping cream, more butter – done and done. In the end it’s the perfect balance of moist cake, sweet icing and a kick of salt that reminds you that this isn’t any ordinary dessert.
The biggest hiccup was the icing. At one point I told Hubster, “There’s no way this doesn’t end with me covered in frosting.” I managed to stay clean but the kitchen counter definitely had a sheen of buttercream when it was all said and done. Here’s why – I’m not patient. If I have driven you somewhere you already know this. It’s one of those virtues that is a constant struggle for me. So instead of waiting for the icing to firm up, I saw the finish line and piped until the icing was… well a little runny. The cake definitely has a good side… and a side that looks a little wrinkly. No worries. Who needs to view a cake in the round? Not me.
Also in the “happy dance” category: Modern Meals for Two is now on Facebook! I actually made it a few weeks ago and let it sit. I didn’t even tell Hubster. I just couldn’t decide if you all would care about seeing this blog and some extra behind-the-scenes action on your FB feed. When I finally posted it, I told Hubster I’d take it down if I didn’t get at least 10 people to like it. Well, that happened pretty quickly so I guess it’s here to stay. Thanks Mandy and Hubster for the encouragement. Now you can get even more MMF2 action in your life. Just “like” the page and make sure to subscribe so it pops in your feed. Then you’ll know all the hyper-interesting things I’m doing in the kitchen and shoving in my face. This is real bonding, people.
Lastly, because good things should come like bad things (in threes), I’m doing my first giveaway! On our last trip to a local antique mall, I stumbled on a cake stand that exactly matches the one Hubster gifted me for our anniversary last year. This hobnail beauty had to come home with me, because who doesn’t need TWO cake stands?
Then we visited Grandma E and she gifted me with one of her own milk glass cake stands… and I’m starting to feel a little ridiculous about owning 3 of these things.
So I’m offering up the twin to my original (seen in all of my 12 cakes in 2012 posts to date) to one lucky winner. It may be the impetus for your own year of layer cakes… or just serve as something pretty for your table. Either way, I figure it needs a good home.
Plus you have two chances to win! Leave a comment on this blog post for your first entry, then head over to Facebook, like Modern Meals for Two, come back and write a new comment telling me you did so. Bam! Two entries. (If you already like MMF2 on Facebook you totally rock and can also have two entries, just make sure you post two comments.) Official fine print and details below.
Prize: A vintage hobnail cake plate (13″ round by 5″ tall, valued around $100).
Enter by: Leaving a comment on this post and (optional) answer the bonus question
Bonus question: What’s your favorite kind of cake or what kind of layer cake do you think I should tackle next?
Extra entry: “Like” Modern Meals for Two on Facebook then come back here and tell me you did in a separate comment.
Giveaway closes: Friday, July 27th at 5pm CST
Number of winners: One
Prize ships: The United States
More stuff: The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Friday evening in a separate post. Please include a valid email address with your blog comment so I can contact you if you win. Immediate family members are ineligible. (Sorry Hubster, mom, dad, Ben and Mojo… although if Mojo figured out how to leave a comment here she’d probably score a treat for being the smartest dog ever. I’m not holding my breath on that one. She’s cute, but not smart.)
Chocolate cake with salted caramel icing
From Kimberly Taylor Images
12 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 extra-large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
½ cup sour cream
Butter for greasing the cake pans
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp brewed coffee
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
½ tsp lemon juice
½ tsp kosher or sea salt
16 Tbsp butter
8 oz. of cream cheese
3-4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 cup salted caramel
Set butter, eggs, buttermilk and sour cream on the counter and allow them to come to room temperature.
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter two 8” cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with wax paper and coat the paper in butter. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended. Divide batter between cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pans and finish cooling on the rack.
For the caramel
Set the butter for the icing on the counter to soften.
Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a large saucepan and stir with a wooden spoon over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Cover the saucepan and let it cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove the lid, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
Constantly swirl the liquid around the pan so that the caramel doesn’t burn. Do not stir. Cook until the caramel turns an even amber color then remove from the heat and let stand for about 30 seconds.
Carefully pour the heavy cream into the mixture. The mixture will bubble, so don’t be scared. Stir the mixture and then add the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until combined.
Reserve 1 cup. Stir occasionally and cool the caramel until it is thick like molasses and warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
For the frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar into the mixer and beat to combine. Add 1 cup of the salted caramel and beat to combine. Add additional powdered sugar until the frosting is the sweetness and consistency you desire.
Once the cakes have cooled, level each with a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake stand and spread with 1 cup of icing. Top with second layer and cover with a thin layer of frosting. Refrigerate cake and frosting until frosting is stiff enough to pipe, around 1 hour. Assemble a piping bag with a round tip and fill with icing. Pipe a large dot in the center of the cake. Pipe dots around the center and spread each with the back of a spoon. Continue piping and spreading the dots on the top and side of the cake, finishing with a row on the edge. Chill for 1 hour before serving.
Notes: Making the caramel is the most nerve wracking part of the recipe, but I promise you can do it. Just keep a close eye on it and be ready for the hot bubbles from adding the cream. If you know it’s coming and handle the mixture carefully you’ll be fine.