Apr 3, 2011

Karmel Cake

If you've checked Rose's blog recently, you know that she had a birthday, so when the Minnesota Three (Hanaâ, Woody, and me) got together for our recent Bake-a-Thon, we knew we had to turn the Karmel Cake into a birthday cake. Fortunately, Hanaa is an ace cake decorator; otherwise, the cake might have looked a little sad.

Were it not for the first step of making the caramel, this would be just about the Quickest and Easiest of the Quick and Easy cakes. I didn't have the preferred Muscovado sugar; when I got my bag of light brown sugar out of the cabinet, however, Hanaâ said, "I like dark brown better, so I brought that along." Woody gave her the evil eye: "The recipe says LIGHT brown," he announced. When I told Hanaâ that dark brown sounded good to me, Woody realized he was stuck with a couple of lawless woman, and gave us permission to use one-third dark brown.

I stirred, and Hanaâ took the caramel's temperature. She wouldn't let me stop stirring until it reached 238.

The caramel had to cool for an hour. Fortunately, both Hanaâ and Woody brought treats, so the hour passed quickly.

Hanaâ provided a piece of her version of the Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache, which she made with a whipped cream filling and homemade triple berry jam. Delicious! I noticed that it looked like a Hostess Ho-Ho and told Woody that he and Rose should work on making a version of the Ho-Ho for the new cookbook. Woody seemed less pleased with this idea than I was.

He's experimenting with making gluten-free ganache, so he brought a White Velvet cake with a coconut cream ganache. Good--but not as good as the original.

Hanaâ also brought some baghrir, or yeasted Moroccan pancakes, that she's written about on her blog. They look like big crumpets, but they taste more like pancakes than crumpets. She topped them with melted butter and honey with orange water. Not your ordinary breakfast pancakes, but they could easily become your recipe of choice--they're pretty addictive.

After downing several thousand carb calories, we waddled back to the kitchen, and whipped up the Karmel cake batter: so easy!

And it comes out of the oven so beautifully brown, smelling sweet and delicious. After the cake cooled, I made whipped cream. Instead of flavoring it with coffee (Hanna doesn't like coffee), I added some caramel left over from the Sticky Toffee cake, and, for those of us who do like coffee, sprinkled some espresso powder on top of the caramel cream. Hanaâ said, "Oh, we should decorate the cake--but I didn't bring my toolbox." "I have a pastry bag and decorating tips," I said. "You can use them," I added craftily. Hanaa looked doubtful:  "You? You have decorating things?" Hmmpf. I'm always being misunderestimated, as a certain ex-president used to say.

Look at that girl go! Not only did she pipe "Happy Birthday, Rose," but she also did a border, adding a few little leaves. She knows what she's doing in the kitchen.

We decided that we'd put three candles on the cake--one for each of us to blow out. And we each made a wish on Rose's behalf, which we can't tell, of course, because it's a well-known fact that if you disclose a wish that you make on a birthday candle, it can't come true. If my wish is any example, however, Rose is going to have a very good year.

Woody had been talking about his tai chi sword, which he happened to have in his car. He had never tried it for this function before, but it turns out it's quite good for cutting cakes.

Even though it was cake #3 for the day (#4 if you count the pancakes), I still loved it. I thought it was just about perfect, although Woody pointed out that it had some tunnels in it. This occurred because I overmixed the batter, according to Woody and Hanaâ, who both have more information floating around in their heads than is good for them. (Certainly more than is good for me).

It's basically a very good butter cake, but with the added pizzazz of caramel flavor. The slight crispiness of the crust adds to the uniqueness of this cake. (Eat the cake soon after it's done in order to experience this crispy extra, though--it doesn't last to the second day). 

And happy birthday, Rose!  I hope your birthday cake in Hope was as good as your birthday cake in Minneapolis.


Woody: "It tastes better than the cake I brought. Definitely a good caramel flavor. But Rose wouldn't like the tunnels."

Jim: "It'a really good cake. I especially like the flavor. The crunchiness gives it a special effect, unlike any of the other cakes."

Hanaâ: "I'm surprised at how much caramel flavor is in the cake--more than in the cream."


Monica said...

My post is written and will go up tonight.. but we love this cake.. it lasted a day in a half in the kitchen, ate the last piece while writing my post...hehehe.

Oh, how I wish I lived close to you guys..since you seem to be a barrel of fun!

and tunnels or no tunnels the cake was awesome!

Love the sword!


Vicki said...


faithy said...

Happy Be-Birthday Rose! I didn't do any baking..it's terrible..i am suppose to start baking but all i want to do is to just laze around..LOL! I need to get myself back on the baking momentum. That sword Woody is holding scares me..LOL!

doughadear said...
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Marie said...

Oh, we're fun all right. Maybe even worth making a special trip to Minnesota.


If you don't bake something soon, Woody will track you down with hisi tai chi sword.

doughadear said...

Sampling differents cakes, making a new one and decorating it for a birthday sounds like a pretty nice way to spend a day and in lovely company as well.

All the cake look incredible!

Marie said...

You are right on all counts.

Lois B said...

What a fun day! Don't tell Woody, but I used all dark brown muscovado. I must admit, Marie, I was a bit startled to find you had a decorating kit.

faithy said...

LOL! It's ok, i will counter Woody's Tai-chi swordplay with Er-mei swordplay.. Let's see if i can bake tonight! Hopefully! :D

Katya said...

I was so into this cake. Plain cake, unadorned. Makes me think back to two years ago when i couldn't really get a decent plain white cake. This one is going to work so it doesn't become the week's breakfast. unfortunately i only have about three co-workers. I do have a sword or two lying around though, so we'll see what we can do.

faithy said...

Marie..i made the cake and posted...:D No need to trouble Woody..lol!

Marie said...

You would never have gotten away with all dark brown muscovado if Woody had been in your kitchen. I think the dark brown sugar strengthened the caramel flavor.

Surprisingly good, isn't it?

So glad I'm not going to have to send Woody after you.

Jenn said...

Marie, it's so fun to see the MN fearless threesome baking together again (and it's fearless indeed seeing that Woody actually have a scary sword!).

Hanaa definitely have a superb decorating skills, the cake looks so pretty.

And Happy Birthday to Rose!

Hanaâ said...

It was a lot of fun to bake with Marie and Woody again. And Marie was not exaggerating; Woody is indeed the LIGHT Muscavado-police :o) I’m glad he compromised and let us use some dark brown sugar. The tai chi sword is real (and heavy too). It worked great on cutting the cake as well as serving it. I’ll post some more pictures of that later today (I hope). My advice: don’t show people how to use the sword in the middle of the street; especially when other people are walking their little dog and you make a “hot dog” joke :o)

Btw, Woody’s experimental ganache is meant for those that are lactose intolerant so it’s dairy-free (it also happens to be gluten-free) :o)

evil cake lady said...

I'm very curious about the dairy-free ganache, but it would be hard to top heavy cream. That said, I really do love Coconut Bliss, which is a coconut milk "ice cream"--no dairy. So...nevermind.

I think the MN Three could go on the road with their baking schtick. You guys are hilarious! A beautiful cake (despite the tunneling...I had that too btw), lovely decorations, and crazy sword action all add up to a perfect blog post.

faithy said...

Now that i read everyone's post saying not enough caramel flavor..but i thought mine was very distinct..had a strong caramel flavor..perhaps it's because i burnt my caramel..lol!

Now that Hanaa said the sword is real and heavy, sounds even scarier...lol!

Sarah the Bear said...

I wasn't very excited about this plain looking cake, but your post definitely piqued my interest. I think I'll make it tomorrow night. I mean, really, how was I going to resist baking a cake with caramel in the batter? Rose's ingenuity knows no end!

hector said...

how fun and wonderful team. my birthday is may 16th :=)

hector said...

hint, to pipe smooth whipped cream like a dream. make super stabilized whipped cream (with gelatin). refrigerate well overnight; it will be spongy like set bavarian cream.

now, at room temperature, with a spatula (not a whisk), stir it. it will deflate and become smooth like buttercream. keep stirring till it warms up just to the desired consistency.

Marie said...

We always have fun when we get together--but it always makes me a little sad that more of us can't bake together in person.

Thank you for pointing out that I wasn't exaggerating.

You had tunneling too? Now I'm thinking maybe I didn't overmix it after all.

Ha! Yes, burning does seem to up the flavor--not necessarily in a good way.

I think it might win a contest for the plainest looking cake in the book, but probably not the plainest tasting.

jini said...

i am so jealous that woody has a tai chi sword.
the cake looks delicious and you are right, hanaa is very good at decorating cakes! another great post!

Woody said...
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Woody said...

The Gelatin Whipped Cream on page 447 is a good piping whipped cream.
Marie and Hanaa were staying true to the recipe with making the Coffee Whipped Cream on page 271 (with a bit of caramel subbed in) to adorn our honoring Rose's birthday. Hanaa proposed piping at the last minute before we tried it and did it with flair!

Mr. Capoeira Sydney said...

What a neat post! Looking forward for more post from you. Thank you for sharing!