Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Maya Angelou's Caramel Cake

I love the late Maya Angelou's poetry, her  rich inspirational real stories as well as the way she transformed her pain into purpose.  She was also a fantastic cook.  Here is a recipe for her Caramel Cake, a cake I can only describe as being a replica of my family's favourite from The (old) Sperling Bakery - a cake that we all loved until our neighborhood bakery closed down.  It was so exciting to find a recipe that tastes just like it!

Serves 8

8 tbs. (1 stick of butter), 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/4 cup Caramel Syrup (recipe follows), 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 cup milk, 2 large eggs, Caramel Frosting (recipe follows).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 2-8 inch layer cake pans with greased wax paper.  In large mixing bowl, beat butter, and add 1 cup sugar gradually until light and fluffy.  Beat in syrup.  In medium mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with milk.  In separate medium mixing bowl, beat eggs about 3 minutes, until foamy.  Add remaining sugar, and beat until there is a fine spongy foam.  Stir into cake batter until blended.  Divide batter between cake pans.  Bake for about 25 minutes.  Remove pans from oven.  Test to make sure cake is done with toothpick.  If not return to oven for 10 more minutes.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto rack, and remove wax paper.  Let cakes cool to room temp before frosting.  To assemble:  Centre one cooled cake layer on cake plate.  Cover top and sides with generous helping of frosting.  Place second layer evenly on frosted layer.  Repeat frosting procedure.  Cool in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Caramel Syrup:  Heat 1 cup white sugar in heavy skillet over low heat and stir constantly until melted to a brown liquid.  When it bubbles, remove from heat and slowly add boiling water, stirring constantly.  Pour into container and cool.
Caramel Frosting:  Brown 6 tbsp. butter in heavy pot over medium heat-be vigilant or it will burn.  Allow butter to cool.  In large mixing bowl, add 8 ounce pack confectioners' sugar, 4 tbsp. heavy cream, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and a pinch of salt and beat until smooth.  If frosting is too stiff, add tbsp. of half and half or full cream to thin.

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