Friday, November 28, 2008

November's Daring Bakers Challenge: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting

This month caramel!!!!!!! Woo-woo! I'm a huge fan of caramel and I was pumped when we got this challenge. I have never used caramel in anything, except as a topping for ice cream (and I think that was imitation caramel.

So, our gracious hostesses chose a caramel cake with caramelized butter frosting. The recipe is from Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater.

This month's challenge is hosted by Delores at Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity, Alex at Blondie & Brownie, and Jenny at Foray into Food with some gluten-free help from our very own Sheltie Girl, Natalie, at Gluten A Go Go.

I opted to make cupcakes and had a blast making them. From making caramel sauce to browning butter, I had a lot of firsts. I brought them into work to have my co-workers taste test them. They not only loved the cupcakes - they were moist, fluffy, and tasty - they were on a sugar high for the rest of the day. They never guessed they were gluten-free! One of my co-workers just wanted the icing and the eat at home....with no cake.

Even though they took a lot of time, I recommend one and all to make them this holiday season! Also, I recommend having a husband who knows how to ice cakes. Before I met my husband, he took a lot of Wilton classes with an ex. She didn't learn anything, he learned everything, and I landed him. A win-win!

Caramel Cupcakes with Caramelized Butter Frosting


  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • splash vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups gluten-free flour (I used Jill's at Hey! That Tastes Good - since I was making her cake, too)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon of Guar Gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Place cupcake liners in your cupcake pan
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
  4. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.
  5. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl.
  6. Scrape down bowl and increase speed.
  7. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  8. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.
  9. Sift flour and baking powder.
  10. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients.
  11. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time.
  12. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
  13. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform.
  14. Turn batter into prepared cupcake pan.
  15. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.
  16. Cool cupcake completely before icing it. Cupcakes will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

  1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand.
  2. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush.
  3. Turn on heat to highest flame.
  4. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
  5. When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
  6. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers.


  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste

  1. Cook butter until brown.
  2. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
  3. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time.
  5. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup.
  6. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated.
  7. Add salt to taste.


Gretchen Noelle said...

Glad to hear that your co-workers loved the cupcakes!

Chef E said...

I prefer maple over carmel, but these do look tempting! I keep thinking about your gluten free eating...tonight I am making just for you Dosai; which is the Indian pancake made from fermented rice...have you had it before?

Cheryl Harris said...

gosh, what a beautiful photo

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a fabulous job on your cup cakes. I love all the different designs you made with the frosting.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

Parisa said...

i found that you can buy the orgnaic mample and caramel from:

nice blog, im going to make it now :)

Allergy Mom said...

What gorgeous frosting! They're lovely.

Maureen "Hold The Gluten" said...

Yum! These look awesome!! I haven't used guar gum yet -- I'll have to give it a try. I'm impressed -- you shared with your co-workers? I would have kept them all for myself - ha ha :)