Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How Sweet It Is

This month's challenge was a return to sweet. And when I say sweet, I mean really sweet! Thanks to Dolores (, Alex (, Jenny ( Natalie (, this month the Daring Bakers tackled Shuna Fish Lydon's signature Caramel Cake.

While I have developed a sweet tooth in recent years, I still find caramel can be, on the whole, a little too sweet when eaten in large amounts. So I decided to stick to cupcake size portions this month. I also tried to tone down the sweetness of the icing by adding some salt and cutting out some of the sugar. I was happy with the results and with the decision to keep things simple in terms of the quantity (6 small cupcakes), icing and decoration. The photos are another story! I was unable to get to my neighbourhood photographer in time (everyone was clambering for a cupcake) so I had to tackle the pictures myself. Let's just say they don't do justice to the results.

I also decided to try the caramels this month. I've not had good luck with candy making in the past so I looked forward to the challenge. Unfortunately, even with the advice of other DBers, and not letting the caramel get above 240 on the candy thermometer, my caramel came out as hard as a rock. More the consistency 9f a (stale) McIntosh caramel bar than a Kraft caramel!! So working on the philosophy of "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade", I put the tooth breaking caramel into the food processor, ground it up and used it to make Toffee Shortbreads. A much better result! I got the recipe from the Robin Hood flour website and they will be a yummy addition to my Christmas cookie tins and trays.

December marks my 1 year anniversary with the Daring Bakers and I haven't missed a challenge yet!! I've had so much baking with this group, trying new recipes and making friends along the way. Can't wait to see what December brings!

RECIPE SOURCE: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (, as published on Bay Area Bites (…%20he-recipe/)

Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111.