Here's something I wouldn't have conceived of trying: caramel cake. Though I love classic English sticky toffee pudding and anything of that genre: toffee, caramel, butterscotch - all yummy (if teeth-defying) and totally addictive things, I've been rather reluctant to play around with hot sugar because of it's volcanic nature when it caramelizes. There are two scars on my right arm: one from when I made caramel at Leiths and burnt myself, and the other from leaning against a 400 degree oven. Yes, I'm a klutz.
So when this month's Daring Bakers' challenge saw caramel cake on the menu, I winced. Partly out of fear I'd be burning myself again, and partly for fear of how yummy it was going to be, thereby destroying my carefully calibrated pre-Christmas eating plan. Which was never much of a plan or particularly calibrated if I'm honest, but one has ideas of being "good" before Christmas. And I must confess that this cake was made with a few 'cheat' ingredients too (!) which I'm not thrilled about but in the absence of time, a flatmate's birthday on the horizon, and a very early start this weekend on a road-trip to France, I had to resort to some store-bought trickery, otherwise, as the Germans say, "Alles geht durcheinander" or everything collapses....
The full recipe, replete with gorgeous photos is, however, to to be found here:
It's a recipe by Shuna Fish Lydon, a genius baker of http://eggbeater.typepad.com/ who was assisted in this month's challenge by:
Alex of Blondie & Brownie http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com
Jenny of Foray into Food http://forayintofood.blogspot.com
Natalie (a gluten-free expert) of Gluten-a-go-g
Thus, what you see is an oozing caramel cake that has been dusted with cocoa and decorated with raspberries for my flatmate's big day. An "assisted" caramel cake if you will, but as Christmas approaches - and hopefully the weeks become less frenetic - I've decreed to make more caramel-inspired desserts and cakes and show no fear in doing so. Provided I can find a heatproof spacesuit that protects me from spluttering hot sugar ;-)
In that sense, the Daring Bakers' Challenge this month has proved inspiring, even if I've been a reprobate about following the recipe to a 'T'...Happy Baking everyone!