Daring Bakers: Amber adventures

November 29, 2008


The Daring Bakers’ challenge for November was technique driven. We caramelized sugar in two different ways to make a yummy cake and luscious caramel candies and we made a brown butter-based frosting that required caramelizing the natural sugars in butter.

Although the challenge encompassed two recipes and sounds daunting, I was able to make both in the time it took the rest of the family to see Quantum of Solace (sorry Bond lovers, it’s just not my thing).

It was a fun and delicious challenge; in fact, the Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting was eaten long before it had a chance to become stale. All the recipes worked well but if I were to make this dessert again, I’d bake the cake in a smaller pan so that I could cut the cake into two layers since there was more than ample frosting to cloak a layer cake.


For the caramels, I made the recipe using ground vanilla beans (as directed) and garnished my finished candies with Cyprus flake salt and Salish smoked salt. The flake salt was a universal hit, while the smoked salt appealed to the adults exclusively. Truthfully, this Alice Medrich recipe is almost too good, making far more candy than my will power could endure. So, if I make these caramels again, it will be only just before a huge crowd comes over — I just couldn’t leave them alone!

Not to candy coat it, but this was a great challenge! Thanks to the following folks for making it all happen:

Challenge Hosts:
• Delores of Culinary Curiosity
• Alex, the Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo
• Jenny of Foray into Food
• And Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go

Recipe credit goes to:
• Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting by Shuna Fish Lydon
• Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels by Alice Medrich, from Pure Dessert

Hungry for more? View more caramel capers by visiting the blogs published by other members of the Daring Bakers.