It’s Monday!! How was everyone’s weekend? I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing weekend and enjoyed the gorgeous temperatures.
I had a great weekend and definitely enjoyed lots of fallish things including: football, pumpkin beer, Crockpot Apple Butter Ribs (recipe coming soon!), apple cider, AND a homemade Pumpkin Caramel Cake …. which leads me to the story of my failed attempt of homemade caramel 🙁
Travis’s mom and dad’s birthdays were on Friday so everyone came over Saturday evening to celebrate. I decided to make a Pumpkin Caramel Cake I found on Pinterest. The actual recipe can be found here.
The first steps are to make the caramel cream cheese frosting.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pound cream cheese, cut into 2-inch cubes
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water, vanilla bean and seeds. Cook over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Cook over moderate heat without stirring until a medium-dark amber caramel forms, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the butter and heavy cream. (Don’t worry if the butter separates.) Discard the vanilla bean.
Seems pretty easy right? I started with combining the first three ingredients.
This was also my first time using a vanilla bean. Before this weekend I had always thought a vanilla bean looked like well … a bean? Nope, it was long and looked almost like a twig. You can see the two halves floating around in the pot.
After the sugar dissolved, I turned down the heat to medium and waited for it to turn a “medium-dark amber color”. The recipe stated it would be about 9 minutes, but it was much longer then that when I began to notice the change in color. I would say 15 minutes?
It’s hard to tell by this picture, but this was my final product. I took the pot off the stove and added the butter and cream and discarded the vanilla bean.
2. Transfer the caramel to the large bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk and beat at low speed until the caramel cools slightly and comes together, about 5 minutes. With the machine on, beat in the cream cheese, 1 cube at a time and beating well between additions, until silky. Transfer the frosting to a bowl and refrigerate until very firm, at least 6 hours.
The caramel looked great, but it definitely had a burnt after taste to it. I added the cream cheese hoping the taste would go away, but it didn’t. So I placed it in the fridge and continued onto baking the cake.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup whole milk
3.Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves.
4. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Beat in the oil, then beat in the pumpkin puree. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 batches, beating well between additions.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes, then invert them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Place one layer on a plate and spread with 1 cup of the caramel–cream cheese frosting. Top with the second layer and frost the top and side. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before serving.
The cake portion turned out great and I had no issues!
Saturday morning I ran out to the store and picked up another pound of cream cheese. I decided to just use a jar of caramel sauce I already had and mix in the cream cheese.
This frosting turned out a lot better and I felt more comfortable adding it to the cake!
I completely forgot to take a final picture of the cake 🙁 but it turned out great and everyone enjoyed it!
Check out the site where the original recipe was posted for an awesome picture of the finish product here!
Have you ever made homemade caramel before? What advice do you have for me so it doesn’t taste burnt?