Tuesday, October 7, 2008

DORIE EXPLAINS HOW-TO-MAKE CARAMEL

It is pretty clear from advance posts that making caramel is risky business. Your sugar mixture cooks longer than the suggested time, fails to turn deep amber, and so you give it a quick stir. Instantly, you turn to stone. But didn't Dorie warn against stirring in her recipe for Caramel-Peanut Topped Brownie Cake?

Sure she did, but part of the fun of baking with Dorie is experimenting with her recipes. Like the blogger who made a white chocolate brownie cake or the baker who topped her cake with pecans.

My cake, baked in an 8" square pan (Dorie suggests 8" springform), came out dry, especially around the edges. It caved in the middle, but Dorie warned about that. I baked it for 40 min (Dorie suggests 40-45). I cut all the edges off & decided to make 4 individual cakes. That left lots of trim for tasting - not that I wanted more after the first few bites. The cake is only mildly chocolately. There are much better cakes out there and I decide not to bother with the caramel topping given the mixed reviews on this cake from other bakers. (For a good chocolate cake see my post from September 19, 2008: "Talk Like a Pirate Day.")

What could I do with my mini cakes? I checked Dorie's book for inspiration - no help there. But I recently bought a book for $9.99: "The Essential Dessert Cookbook" from Murdoch Books (no author credited). Great recipes, gorgeous pics, and chapters on pies & tarts, ice cream, fruit & baked desserts like creme brulee. The instructions, tips & photos make this book a real steal, particularly because there are 4 pages devoted to caramel including decorations like spun toffee. I could tackle caramel with this book as a guide and so can you. But what about the organic raspberries I just bought at Whole Foods for $3.00? Do they really go with caramel?

Wouldn't it be better to fill my little cakes with raspberries and frost them with chocolate mousse? Like so:

My dessert cookbook has a beautiful picture of Hazelnut Roll with Rasberry Cream. The filling is simple to make:

Whip 1 cup of whipping cream until stiff (it helps if your bowl and beaters are cold)
Set aside half of the whipped cream.
Fold the following into one half of the whipped cream:
8 mashed fresh berries, 1 T of sugar & 1/2 tsp vanilla

Make chocolate mousse using the remaining whipped cream:
Melt together: 2/3 C of semi-sweet chocolate and 1 T of unsalted butter
Stir 2 heaping T of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it up
Let it cool for about 10 min, then fold in the remaining whipped cream

FILL THE CAKES WITH RASPBERRY CREAM & A FEW WHOLE BERRIES. FROST THE FILLED MINI CAKES WITH THE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE. SPRINKLE ALL OVER WITH CHOCOLATE CRUMBS & TOP WITH A SUGARED RASPBERRY. (I made crumbs from the cake left over when I cut out four mini cakes with a donut cutter.)




Tip: keep the filled cakes and the whipped cream in the frig as you make this recipe, so they hold their shape.

AN INCREDIBLY GOOD DESSERT AND LOOKS FABULOUS.


6 comments:

Barbara said...

Oh, too bad! I didn't care for the cake that much myself. Seems like it was really easy to overbake it. I'll have to take a look at your cake recipe, because I really want to try the topping on a different cake.

I do recommend trying the caramel, though, if you have the time. It needs your complete attention but the result is luscious! And think of all the other things you can do with it!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I'm so glad after all of your hard work that your cakes turned out beautiful and delicious. I can't wait to see the pictures.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Great save! Sounds delicious.

Prudy said...

I love the twist you made. You pulled it off. Kudos to you! Sometimes the revamp is better than the original, don't you think?

n.o.e said...

Very creative transformation of the cake. I actually liked the cake + caramel, but yours does look divine!
Nancy

27Susans said...

Thanks !

Would any of you bake the cake again?