Daring Bakers Challenge #25

It’s time for the November 2008 Daring Bakers challenge! This month we are doing


– Cookbook: Shuna Fish Lyndon’s recipe – (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/)
– Author – Shuna Fish Lyndon
– Hosts for the month – Dolores the host (http://culinarycuriosity.blogspot.com/) with Co-hosts Alex (Brownie of the Blondie & Brownie duo: http://blondieandbrownie.blogspot.com/), Jenny of Foray into Food (http://forayintofood.blogspot.com/). And since none of us know jack about alternative baking, we’ve once again turned to Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go (http://glutenagogo.blogspot.com/) to assist us.


We had to make both components to the cake, the cake, the caramelized butter frosting. We also had the option to make some caramels, which sound delicious. I will post that recipe when I make them. I can’t wait to make the caramels, but I ran out of time this month.

I did need to make a couple of substitutions for this recipe, but it wasn’t too bad. I have included my changes to the recipe in green. This is a great cake, everyone who tried it really liked it. My hubby’s comment was “weird, but good!” He actually ate a couple of pieces, which is really good for him.


Here is the recipe:

EQUIPMENT: For Cake/Icing: Stand mixer with paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer, or mix the old-fashioned way), 9” cake pan (or whatever size/shape you choose), cookie sheet or sheet pan, stainless steel saucepan, pastry brush, whisk, sieve.

For (Optional) Caramels: 9” square baking pan, aluminum foil, candy thermometer, pastry brush, 3 quart stainless steel saucepan, parchment paper, sharp knife

RECIPE SOURCE: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/), as published on Bay Area Bites (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/). Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111

If you’re looking for additional guidance on the cake, Shuna’s got some great information posted here as well (http://eggbeater.typepad.com/shuna/2007 … ake-a.html) & here (http://blogs.kqed.org/bayareabites/2006 … he-recipe/). And metric conversions can be found here (http://www.worldwidemetric.com/metcal.htm).

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature Earth Balance
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar 1 cup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature 1 TBSP Ener-g Egg Replacer mixed with 2 TBSP water
splash vanilla extract 1 TBSP vinegar
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 tsp
1 cup milk, at room temperature Almond Milk

Notes from Natalie for those of you baking gluten-free: So the GF changes to the cake would be:
2 cups of gluten free flour blend (w/xanthan gum) or 2 cups of gf flour blend + 1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 – 1 tsp baking powder (this would be the recipe amount to the amount it might need to be raised to & I’m going to check)

I’ll let you when I get the cake finished, how it turns out & if the baking powder amount needs to be raised.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar & salt & cream until light & fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl & increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light & uniform.

Sift flour & baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, & add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk & finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer & by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan & set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan & skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for 3 days outside of the refrigerator.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water & sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump & sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on & be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly & feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

12 tablespoons unsalted butter Earth Balance
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted ¾ lb
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream Soy Creamer
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream & or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth & all confectioner’s sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth & light
(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)


Recipes To Rival #5

img_2902.jpg It’s time for our 5th challenge with Recipes to Rival. This is a dish that I have never had, or heard of for that matter, & that is really what these challenges are all about. This months challenge is an Indonesian dish called Beef Rendang! As our host puts it: “This extravagantly rich, dry-braised beef curry is a signature dish of the Minangkabau highlands of West Sumatra, Indonesia. It’s a triumph of flavor, with lime leaves, nutmeg, & cloves. The dish is cooked by a process that inverts normal braising. The beef is slowly simmered in a spiced coconut-milk broth until the broth evaporates & the meat is left to sauté in the intensely flavored rendered coconut & beef oils left in the pot.”

I was planning on substituting some tempeh for the beef, but Rayrena (our wonderful host) also provided a vegan version made from potatoes, so that is the way I went. I had to make a couple of substitutions because I couldn’t find ingredients, but she has those stated in the recipe as well. I had seen lemon grass, which is in the recipe, in the stores all summer, but it is now gone. Well, I decided to look at World Market to see if they had some of the other spices & I found ground lemon grass in the spice section, yeah! One down, 3 more to go. Well, I never did find whole turmeric, but I did have ground turmeric, so I used that, 2 more to go. The next one was duan salam but was able to sub in bay leaves and the last one was galangal which is a Siamese ginger which was optional. Now, in the beef dish, it also calls for kaffir lime leaves as well as some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Well, they weren’t in the potato dish, so I didn’t have to try to find the kaffir lime (which was also in my grocery store for about 2 weeks back in June).

This dish is mainly a hands off dish. There is about 20-30 minutes of prep work, then the rest is the occasional stirring while painfully having to wait through a couple hours of amazing smelling cooking! The first whiff of the dish gets your tastebuds going, hardly able to contain themselves to take a bite. The hardest time to wait is once it has finished cooking & you have to wait for 30 minutes as it cools a bit and the flavors deepen even more.

The verdict: This dish was really good! I would definitely make this again. I served this over some brown rice with a salad on the side. Adding the smell of cooking brown rice just added to the agony of waiting (okay, so it wasn’t that bad, luckily I started making this right after we had lunch). You really do need 4 to 5 hours of cooking time, so make sure you have the time to give this dish to cooking.  One more thing.  Be careful which peppers you use & how many you use.  I used only 5 peppers that were labeled hot peppers (from Costco) & oh my goodness!!!  I had to add some soy sour cream to mine because it was so spicy.  Hubby loved the flavor, but could only eat about half before he decided to eat the leftover pizza.  I think if I had only added 3 of the peppers, it would’ve been perfect!

Much thanks to our hosts this month for such a great dish: Rayrena & Belita
img_2894.jpg  cooking down more after adding potatoes

img_2896.jpg  halfway through cooking

img_2895.jpg  ready to eat

Here is where you can get the recipe: http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/2008/10/beef-rendang.html

Check out everyone’s efforts here: http://recipestorival.blogspot.com/

Even if you are nervous about the amount of coconut flavor, don’t worry, its not near as strong as you think it will be. This is a tasty dish.

img_2903.jpg  served with brown rice and a side salad

img_2904.jpg  Yummy dinner (although a little spicy)